By Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer
One of North Carolina’s best known conservative activist Philp “Flip” Benham was arrested Saturday in Charlotte and charged with communicating threats. The arrest reportedly happened during an anti-abortion protest.
Mecklenburg County Jail records show he was arrested at 10:20 a.m. Saturday on a warrant and was given a $500 unsecured bond. There is no indication that the 69-year-old was jailed after the arrest. The charge is a misdemeanor.
Benham, who lives in Concord, told WSOC that the charge was “bogus” and he did not threaten anyone outside a women’s health center. However, he admitted to saying one of the clinic’s volunteers was “dead in her sins,” which referred to Christian principles that don’t align with abortion, WSOC reported.
He is well known in Charlotte for his activism on behalf of conservative causes, including a high profile role in opposing Charlotte’s ordinance to expand rights in the city for transgender people.
He was famously escorted from a Mecklenburg County School Board meeting in January, for charging at board members, shouting and pointing at them in a threatening manor.
The nonprofit group Progress NC sent out a statement Saturday reporting Benham was arrested outside A Preferred Women’s Health Center, “despite a protective order warning him to stay away from a clinic volunteer.”
“We have long warned the city that the tactics employed by Benham and his crew escalate,” said a statement from Calla Hales, clinic administrator. “We were relieved when police issued the protective order. I wish I could say I was surprised when he disregarded the order and came back to my clinic today. My volunteers and I are scared…I am imploring the city of Charlotte to do something about the violent behavior in front of my clinic.”
Last month, Benham was escorted by guards from a school board meeting, during a debate over whether the district should adopt a revised multicultural policy that would expand to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The school board voted 7-2 to support the policy change, outraging conservatives who insist the change is “social engineering” that usurps the role of parents in teaching religious and moral values.