Roswell, ACLU settle freedom of speech lawsuit

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico city has agreed to settle a lawsuit with a pair of preachers who claim police violated their right to free speech.

The men say they were repeatedly arrested when they voiced their religious beliefs in public.

Brothers Joshua and Jeremy De Los Santos were both preachers in Roswell from 2010 to 2012.

Thursday, the City of Roswell agreed to pay nearly $100,000 in damages to the De Los Santos .

“Today, it’s proven that we were in the right,” said Jeremy De Los Santos.

Between 2010 and 2012, the De Los Santos brothers, members of the Old Paths Baptist Church in Roswell, were arrested a combined seven times for preaching in public.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico sued the Roswell Police Department in 2012 claiming the arrests violated their freedom of speech.

“It is an uncomfortable feeling knowing you’re being hauled off for something that is a first amendment right,” said Joshua De Los Santos.

The ACLU says at times, police used excessive force and in each case the charges were either dropped, dismissed or overturned because they were unconstitutional.

While the two men admit their style of preaching might be somewhat controversial, they say Roswell police had no right to arrest them time after time.

The City of Roswell and Roswell police did not want to comment for this story.

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