A child custody incident came to a climax during a church service at Allen Chapel AME church in Pensacola, Florida, on Sept. 6 (video below).
Officer Meghan Darling, among others, went to the church to enforce a court order pertaining to the 13-year-old granddaughter of the Rev. Freddie Tellis. The girl had been staying with him; however, earlier that day, the girl’s father went to the police station to show a court order, proving he had legal custody of her, WEAR-TV reported.
Rev. Tellis claimed Darling disrupted church services.
“I heard a commotion, the officer had walked in the middle of the church with her hand on her revolver,” he said. “I guess as an intimidation ploy, and was trying to force this 13-year-old young lady out of her seat."
The entire incident was caught on camera, but Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander offered a different version of events in a press release. “Officer Darling waited outside the sanctuary approximately 15 minutes before she entered and quietly tried to request the parties move out of the sanctuary to resolve the matter. Individuals seated with the child refused to comply with her request,” the statement read in part.
Alexander plans to release the body camera video soon and said the video that’s already been released doesn’t show the full story. "For anyone to take church, something that I hold very dear to my heart, and use that as a shield, to evade an order that was issued by a judge, I think that's a misrepresentation of what church is all about,” he said.