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Detroit drops ticket against abortion protester during virus

DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit has agreed to drop a misdemeanor ticket against a man who was accused of violating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order while protesting outside an abortion clinic.

Detroit and the governor agree that Andrew Belanger’s conduct was not illegal, according to a settlement approved Tuesday by a federal judge.

Belanger was ticketed on March 31 while protesting outside Scotsdale Women’s Center in Detroit. His lawsuit stated that eight police cars and 15 officers were at the scene.

Belanger and anti-abortion allies filed a lawsuit, saying their First Amendment rights were violated.

On April 7, Whitmer issued guidance about her stay-home rules during the coronavirus outbreak. She said “expressive activities protected by the First Amendment” are allowed, although people must stay at least 6 feet away from others.