22 Lawmakers Demand Merrick Garland Explain Alleged FBI SWAT Raid on Catholic Pro-Life Activist Mark Houck
As many as 22 lawmakers have called upon Attorney General Merrick Garland to provide an explanation as to why the FBI allegedly sent 25-30 fully-armed agents to arrest Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck as his “screaming” children watched in horror.
Released Tuesday, the open letter spearheaded by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said that the FBI should have an “extraordinary reason” for arresting Houck the way they allegedly did. The letter said:
There is much to learn about the extent of the FBI’s operations in this case, apparently since state-level charges were apparently dismissed by local authorities in Philadelphia. Surely, the FBI must have an extraordinary reason for showing up at the home of an American family, allegedly with roughly 25 heavily armed federal agents, and arresting a father in front of his seven children.
“At the moment, it appears to be an extraordinary overreach for political ends,” the letter added.
The letter demanded that Merrick Garland respond by September 30.
Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas told Fox News that the raid against Houck is further indicative of how politicized the FBI and the Department of Justice have become under President Joe Biden.
Mark Houck, the founder and president of The King’s Men — a group dedicated to helping men become better husbands, fathers, and leaders — was arrested at his rural Pennsylvania home last Friday for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act during his regular sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic in 2021. Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie, said that around 25 to 30 fully armored FBI agents stormed their property early Friday morning, aiming their rifles as the children screamed in horror.
The FBI denied sending a SWAT team to Houck’s residence while not denying that 25 to 30 fully-armed FBI agents were on site to apprehend Houck that morning. The FBI said:
There are inaccurate claims being made regarding the arrest of Mark Houck. No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved. FBI agents knocked on Mr. Houck’s front door, identified themselves as FBI agents and asked him to exit the residence. He did so and was taken into custody without incident pursuant to an indictment.
The FACE Act violation allegedly stems from an incident in which Houck shoved a 72-year-old abortion activist escorting women into a Planned Parenthood clinic. Houck’s family maintains that the man had been harassing his 12-year-old son.
Though media reports that the escort required “medical attention” after Houck shoved him, Brian Middleton, a spokesman for the Houck family, told Catholic News Agency (CNA) that the escort needed little more than a band-aid and sustained no serious injury. The spokesman also said that the Houck family is now seeking to obtain video evidence of the incident. Both Philadelphia police and the district attorney declined to file charges against Houck, and though the escort filed a private criminal complaint in Philadelphia municipal court, the case was allegedly dismissed in July.
According to attorney Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel, Houck agreed to turn himself over to authorities voluntarily three months ago.
“Rather than accepting Mark Houck’s offer to appear voluntarily, the Biden Department of Justice chose to make an unnecessary show of potentially deadly force, sending twenty heavily armed federal agents to the Houck residence at dawn this past Friday,” Breen told Breitbart News. “In threatening form, after nearly breaking down the family’s front door, at least five agents pointed guns at Mark’s head and arrested him in front of his wife and seven young children, who were terrified that their husband and father would be shot dead before their eyes.”
“This case is being brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans,” he added. “Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court.”
The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to intimidate, injure, or interfere with anyone attempting to provide abortion access. U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said:
Assault is always a serious offense, and under the FACE Act, if the victim is targeted because of their association with a reproductive healthcare clinic, it is a federal crime. Our Office and the Department of Justice are committed to prosecuting crimes which threaten the safety and rights of all individuals.
“Put simply, violence is never the answer,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Violating the FACE Act by committing a physical assault is a serious crime for which the FBI will work to hold offenders accountable.”
Houck’s attorney, Peter Breen, also told Breitbart News that the Thomas More Society notified the Biden DOJ that the “FACE Act does not cover one-on-one altercations.”
Houck could face up to 11 years in prison and fines up to $350,000 if found guilty.