A police department in Louisiana has apologized to citizens, saying the department's emergency number was unavailable earlier this week because the mother of a controversial pastor encouraged congregants to call the department.
In a Facebook post, the Central Police Department alleged that the mother of Pastor Tony Spell encouraged people to call the department.
"If you can not reach us due to our lines being tied up please keep trying. If you have an emergency please call 911. Again we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause," the chief wrote on the post.
Spell, the pastor at Life Tabernacle Church in Central, has consistently defied orders from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and local police amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The controversy around Spell began when he was arrested for continuing to hold large in-person church services despite the state's emergency ban on large gatherings. Spell bailed out of jail and held a church service the same day.
Days later, Spell hired Roy Moore as his attorney. Moore ran for Senate in 2017, but his campaign was derailed when he was accused of sexually abusing a woman when she was a young teenager.
Weeks later, Spell was arrested after a man protesting at Life Tabernacle Church claimed Spell tried to hit him with a school bus that belonged to the church. Though he was placed under house arrest, Spell has consistently defied orders to remain in his home and held church services.
See the police department's Facebook post below.
This story was originally published by KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana.