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Abortion protester climbs tree at inauguration, annoys revelers

Taylor Hill / Getty Images Contributor

An anti-abortion heckler during the inauguration festivities on Monday climbed a tree to avoid police.

A known anti-abortion heckler tried to avoid police at Monday’s inauguration festivities by climbing a tree.

Rives Grogan, a silver-haired man wearing a brown Carhartt-style jacket, had climbed up a tall, thin evergreen tree, protest sign in hand, near 1st and Maryland Avenue by the Capitol Building. The sign he held read, “Pray to end abortion.”

Grogan, who was not carrying identification, had a ticket and went through security screening, according to a police report. He has been a pastor at New Beginnings Christian Church in Los Angeles, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he has twice disrupted Supreme Court proceedings.

As U.S. Capitol Police roped off the tree and propped a ladder up against it, the man kept climbing, reaching nearly 40 feet as he shouted, “Democrats are baby killers!” (He took a break when Beyoncé sang the National Anthem, politicker.com reported.)

When he climbed down the tree some time later, police arrested the man - his identity unknown at the time -- and placed him in handcuffs. The crowd, frustrated by his disruptive shouts throughout the speeches, bid him adieu singing, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” 

Grogan faces three charges, including contempt of court and injury to property.

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