Police arrested Gabriel Rench at an outside worship service in front of city hall in Moscow, Iowa. His crime? Singing psalms without a mask. He was one of 150 people attending the “psalm sing” event. Christ Church hosted the event outside Moscow City Hall.
Rench believes he was targeted for arrest, telling FOX’s Laura Ingraham: “It’s unbelievable, the juxtaposition of rioters being able to go out to the street. Maybe if I had a gun or a Molotov cocktail, I would’ve been fine,”
Rench is running for a seat on the Latah County Commission. He is a Republican running against incumbent Democrat Tom Lamar in the upcoming November election. Rench was one of only three people cited for violating the city’s COVID-19 mask/social distancing order.
The New York Post reported:
Rench called the crackdown a political move on the part of the city.
“I think [officials] wanted to make an issue out of it,” he told KBTV.
“They wanted to flex their muscles because we had already done psalm sings in the past and they wanted to make an example of us. We weren’t warned — no warnings, no nothing, and so we were just taking our constitutional liberties to do what we’re allowed to do under the Constitution — worship.”
Those defying the city’s mask mandate face a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. The Moscow City Council recently extended the city’s mask mandate through Jan. 5, 2021 in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Latah County has not had a single coronavirus death or hospitalization with 392 confirmed cases.