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Minister sues Christian bookstore

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A Northwestern Indiana minister has filed a lawsuit against a Christian bookstore claiming racial discrimination when he was told to leave the store and that he would be arrested if he ever returned.

Minister Alvin Murphy, an African-American, and his godson, James Green, went to the Family Christian Stores in Merrillville with the intent to shop for books and a crucifix. This was the first time Green had visited the store, but Murphy was a regular and had shopped there for nearly 14 years. Murphy is also a member of the store's perks programs for pastors and families, according to the complaint.

Julie McNutt, an assistant manager at the store, had called the shopping plaza's security because she suspected another African-American in the store of stealing. Security called Hobart Police to respond to McNutt's call.

According to the complaint, McNutt assumed Murphy and Green were associated with the man suspected of stealing and had Hobart Police escort them out of the store. Murphy told police he intended to purchase the items he was carrying.

The Hobart police officer told Murphy that McNutt had called police and requested they issue a citation to Murphy and Green to never return to the store and that if they did, they would be arrested for trespassing.

In his suit filed May 22 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Alvin Murphy v. Family Christian Stores, Inc., et al., No. 2:09-CV-146, Murphy is suing for violations of 42 U.S.C. Sections 1981, 1982 and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. He believes he was the victim of racial profiling.

According to a press release issued by Murphy's attorney, Trent A. McCain, Murphy originally filed a charge against the bookstore with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, which found probable cause that Murphy and his godson's rights were violated by the store. The results of that finding led to the federal lawsuit.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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