Street preacher can’t preach in Davie?

(WSVN) - He believes in God and believes many people do not, and so, he wants to stand in the median preaching the word to save their souls, till the police said, “Move on,” which is why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Ryan Butler, street preacher, on median: “Only Jesus Christ can give you life!”

You probably don’t know Ryan Butler, but if you have driven through Davie you may have heard him.

Ryan Butler, on median: “I want to tell you right now, that we are living in the last days!”

Ryan Butler: “I mean, I’m living proof that God is real.”

Ryan is a street preacher, heading out twice a week, wearing his signs as he shouts his message about how he was saved.

Ryan Butler, on median: “I’ve been addicted to cocaine! I’ve been addicted to pain pills!”

Ryan Butler: “December 2016, was when some evangelists came and knocked on the door. I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart.”

As he stands on University Drive, he wants everyone to know the joy he says he received by accepting God.

Ryan Butler: “I just want to shout it out from the rooftops.”

But since only a neighbor or two would hear him from his rooftop, Ryan walks with his Bible in his hand at this intersection, where some people cheer.

Ryan Butler: “The people that support me, they honk, they give me thumbs up, and they say, ‘Amen, God bless you brother.'”

Then there are the drivers who want Ryan to shut up and go away.

Ryan Butler: “The people that don’t support me will say things like ‘F Jesus,’ middle finger, and I say, ‘God bless you.'”

Some pass on the blessing and instead pass on their complaint to Davie Police.

Ryan Butler: “‘We have a town ordinance that says there’s no soliciting. You know, they try and hand me this piece of paper.”

Ryan, of course, doesn’t see talking about God as soliciting.

After several complaints, the police have gotten tougher.

Ryan Butler: “Now I’ve been kicked out three times, and I’ve been threatened to be arrested now three times.”

To no one’s surprise, Ryan returns a day or two later.

Ryan Butler: “I said, ‘Look, you guys can arrest me, ’cause I’m still going to come back.'”

Come back to preach, to try to find a way to save souls like, he says, God saved him, and now also searching for something else: an answer.

Ryan Butler: “Can they arrest me for this and get away with it?”

Your turn, Howard.

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, they cannot arrest him for preaching from the median. If he steps into traffic and obstructs it, he can be arrested, but if he talks from the median, he is fine.”

Davie Police told us they only had one complaint regarding Ryan in their files. That occurred when a driver said Ryan knocked on his window and got aggressive with him.

Ryan said that is not true. Davie Police concluded he is allowed to stand on public property with his signs and preach.

Howard Finkelstein: “Many people think the First Amendment gives them the right to say whatever they want, wherever they want, but it does not. You cannot lie about someone. You cannot yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. In other words, your free speech cannot endanger another person.”

Ryan is happy the police now agree he can preach here, without worrying about getting run off or arrested.

Ryan Butler: “Definitely, I think God won. That’s all I wanted to do, was to stand up to them. I think you guys absolutely helped me do that.”

While the First Amendment gives you a lot of protections regarding free speech, it only pertains to the government, meaning Ryan cannot go on private property or inside a business and preach without their permission.

Don’t have a prayer of solving a problem? Need someone to guide you? Let us save you, ’cause we’re blessed to be able to help people out.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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