Philly Jesus has another cross to bear: a guilty verdict on a trespass charge.
The man known locally as Philly Jesus was found guilty of defiant trespass, but not guilty of disorderly conduct stemming from his May 2 arrest at the Walnut Street Apple store. He plead not guilty to both, and plans to appeal the verdict.
"I forgive them for trespassing against me," said Michael Grant, the man behind the beard who spreads the good word around Philly, after the trial.
Grant, who carries a giant cross and often poses for pictures with tourists and fans, was arrested after the Apple Store manager asked him to leave and he refused, Philadelphia police confirmed at the time. Grant said in an official statement later that week that the employee "took offense" to his clothing and appearance as Philly Jesus, and was asked to leave on those grounds alone.
During the trial, the store manager testified that Grant left the store in handcuffs, screaming about religious freedom. But despite the "hundreds" of security cameras in the store, not one captured the incident, Philadelphia Daily News reporter Stephanie Farr tweeted during the trial.
Apple manager testified that when @phillyjesus was taken out in handcuffs "it was disturbing." He was yelling about religious freedom.— Stephanie Farr (@FarFarrAway) September 14, 2016
Apple Store manager at @phillyjesus' trial there are "hundreds" of cameras in store but none captured this incident.— Stephanie Farr (@FarFarrAway) September 14, 2016
Grant has returned to the store since his arrest with no problem, the manager testified.
In an interview post-trial, Grant said of Apple: "I love them, I love my enemies."
On Tuesday, Grantcalled the charges "bogus," and in an Instagram post, reasserted his innocence.
TOMORROW MORNiNG 9/14/2016 AT CJC iN ROOM 903 AT 9:30 AM "THE TRiAL OF PHiLLY JESUS BEGiNS" FOR THE APPLE STORE ARREST..ALL ARE WELCOME (( THEY CHARGED ME WiTH TRESPASSiNG..i PLEAD NOT GUiLY FOR TRESPASSiNG..AND FORGiVE THEM FOR TRESPASSiNG AGAiNST ME )) -i'AM iNNOCENT- ◄ Luke 23:34 ► Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots..." #JESUSisLORD #jesuschrist #love #righteous #wisdom #service #apple #God #music #grace #gospel #faith #unitedstates #america #philadelphia #applestore #police #PPD #money #television #arrested #phillyjesus #art #artist #movies #earth #dreams #entrepreneur #handcuffed #real