Rodney Howard-Browne, one of the very first pastors arrested and charged for violating stay-at-home orders for having in-person church services, has had all charges against him dropped, according to a Liberty Counsel statement.
The biblically illiterate and heretical pastor was taken into custody March 30 after the sheriff said the church violated a countywide “safer-at-home” order when a live stream from the church showed the building packed with worshippers.
Howard-Browne was charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules – both second-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500 – but was ultimately released on his own recognizance.
On Friday May 15, the criminal misdemeanor charges against Howard-Browne were dropped, with the notice of termination saying in part: “Having reviewed the charge(s) contained in the Criminal Report Affidavit and/or Notice to Appear, the State Attorney’s Office informs you that the charge(s) contained therein is/are dismissed and prosecution is terminated as of this date and that the defendant need not appear for any further proceedings in this matter.”
According to Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel who is representing Howard-Browne, he believes the arrest was politically motivated but believes it was used for good, writing “As a result of this arrest, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared attendance at churches, synagogues, and houses of worship to be an essential activity. This arrest freed up every church in Florida to meet. We are pleased that all the charges have been dropped. It is now time to move forward with healing and restoration.”