A Louisiana pastor who was ticketed for holding in-person church services in defiance of the state’s social distancing orders is reportedly in trouble with the law again.
The Rev. Tony Spell is wanted by police for allegedly assaulting a protester outside of his church on Sunday, according to news station WAFB-TV.
Police on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Spell, accusing him of backing a church bus in the direction of the man protesting, the report said.
Video footage obtained by the outlet shows the bus stop just short of the protester, identified as Trey Bennett.
Spell told the network that he simply wanted to tell Bennett to leave. The man has been demonstrating in front Life Tabernacle Church in Central, La. since Easter Sunday.
But thanks to his wife, Spell said, he never confronted Bennett.
“I was pulling in from my bus route, picking up black children who haven’t eaten because of this sinister policy that has closed schools,” the pastor told the outlet.
“I was going to approach this gentleman and ask him to leave.”
Bennett, according to Spell, “shoots people obscene finger gestures and shouts vulgarities.”
Bennett denied Spell’s allegations, telling WAFB-TV that all of his protesting has been peaceful in nature.
Spell was hit with a summons earlier this month for holding services in violation of the state’s order banning gatherings. His personal lawyer was later hospitalized with the coronavirus.