It may not be Holy Thursday, but Jesus got locked up today.
Michael Grant — aka Philly Jesus, the former heroin addict-turned-quasi-street preacher — frequently checks his email and Twitter at the Apple Store on Walnut Street.
Philly Jesus has been a constant presence in Center City for more than two years now. He shows up at city events, walks the streets during the workday — usually while carrying a cross. He brought that cross in with him at the Apple Store today, which may have been what caused all the trouble.
It’s not clear which Philly Judas set the cops on him. But according to a witness who was at the Apple Store this afternoon, Philly Jesus was asked to leave the store — possibly because of his cross. He reportedly refused to leave, which is when a plainclothes police officer handcuffed him.
“I know my rights!” Philly Jesus yelled, according to several bystanders. “Freedom of religion!”
Philly Jesus was taken away in a police van. When one witness left the scene, the police were trying to fit his cross into a cop car.
He was previously arrested in November of 2014 for disorderly conduct in LOVE Park. He said at the time cops threatened to “fuck him up” after his arrest. DA Seth Williams later decided to drop the charges the following month.
Since then, PJ has gotten much flak for his anti-homosexuality stance. Per his Twitter posts, he is also a 9/11 Truther.
The man legally known as Michael Grant was charged with defiant trespass and disorderly conduct — both third-degree misdemeanors. According to a source, the dispute was indeed over his cross. Employees asked him to remove it from the store, as it was blocking the aisle in the store. Jesus three times denied orders to leave the store from a police officer on duty. (Yes, this time it was Jesus who denied something three times.) When he refused that final order, he was arrested.
According to court records, Grant was released early Tuesday morning and has a status hearing scheduled for May 17th.
Upon his release, Grant as Philly Jesus tweeted:
i AM FREE! NOTHiN' CAN STOP ME!! HATERS GON HATE-JOHN 15:18–i know my rights..I was persecuted for my faith yesterday in the apple store
— PHiLLY JESUS™ ( PJ ) (@phillyjesus) May 3, 2016
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Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/05/02/philly-jesus-arrested-apple-store/
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