Fired for Honoring His Oath | Chet Gallagher

During the sit-ins of Operation Rescue, the largest civil disobedience movement in American history, Chet Gallagher, a Las Vegas law enforcement officer, refused to arrest peaceful pro-life advocates and was arrested instead. He was then fired from his position at the police department for not obeying orders.

On this rerun episode of the Mark Harrington Show, Mark interviews Chet to discuss his arrest and his continued pro-life activism including his recent participation in sit-ins in Sterling Heights, MI, Little Rock, AK, and Mt. Juliet, TN.

This is a powerful testimony of how law enforcement should be interposing for the unborn.


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Mark Harrington (00:00):

When do civil magistrates have the duty to defy an unjust order? Should police be defending abortion clinics or helping to shut them down? I’m Mark Harrington. You’ve tuned into Activist Radio, the Mark Harrington show.


Mark Harrington show is brought to you by Created Equal You Can Give to Created Equal by going to created On today’s program, we’re going to be talking to Chet Gallagher. He’s a former Las Vegas police officer who did his duty, and that is he protected human life. And because of that, he was dismissed from that position back in the 1980s, late eighties that is, and we’re going to be talking about that as well as his current mission. He’s been a pro-life advocate for many, many years and continues to rescue children at abortion centers. So Chad, thanks for being on the program today. Hey brother, what a privilege to be with you. And I just thank God for all that you’re doing. Thanks for getting reconnected with me. It’s good to be with you today. It’s been a while. I was with you a long time ago with Operation Rescue down in Orlando.


I think it was the last time I probably saw you, but obviously we have a history here together with Operation Rescue going way back in the nineties with Randall Terry and Flip Benham and Rusty Thomas and all those great men. So it’s great to reconnect with you. Well, listen, I mean, the purpose of our program is really to talk about unsung individuals, people that don’t generally get all of press and publicity, but have been faithful to the cause for decades. And that’s kind of the point of my program and to bring out the things that we have done and the things that we are doing to rescue babies. And so I thought about you and I thought about your story, your testimony, which takes us back to 1989. And correct me if I’m wrong on any of this history, but what I want to do here first to set it up, Chad, is just play a clip from YouTube that talks about that day in 1989 where you decided not to arrest operation Rescue participants, peaceful pro-lifers who decided to enter post for the unborn that day. If you would, Mr. Producer, go ahead and play that clip.

Video Voice (02:44):

During early 1989, there were numerous abortion protests throughout Las Vegas. Metro Officer Chet Gallagher, who often took part in these protests was working on January 28th, a day of protest had been scheduled. Gallagher was told to away and was assigned to a beat across town. From the demonstration he didn’t follow his orders,

Video Voice (03:05):

I exercised my discretion as a commissioned law enforcement officer choosing not to arrest these rescuers.

Video Voice (03:12):

He arrived at a protest over on Rancho Road, parked his motorcycle in uniform, actually approached with a bullhorn and proceeded to make a prepared speech, which the media covered and so forth. And following that, I ordered that he be arrested and Sergeant Steve Tuggle and myself arrested him, removed him from the crowd.

Video Voice (03:36):

The incident made national news.

Video Voice (03:39):

I don’t think it gave us a black eye at all. It gave Chet Gallagher a black eye that he would have the gall to commit that act in uniform.

Video Voice (03:49):

Steve Gammel says, the decision to arrest Gallagher was not a difficult one.

Video Voice (03:53):

I was embarrassed actually for the department. I was embarrassed that the officer would use his position and his uniform to further his personal feelings and his personal agenda. And that’s really what it was. As a personal agenda, we all know that we have a personal opinions, but when we come to work, put our uniform on, the opinions have to stay in the locker, we have to enforce the laws that there are.

Mark Harrington (04:21):

All right, well that goes way back to 1989 Che Gallagher there in Las Vegas. So Chet, take us back to those days in Las Vegas when Operation Rescue in a lot of other cities too, across America, were participating in sit-ins, if you want to call ’em that, rescues, if you want to call ’em that civil disobedience, you want to call ’em that, whatever you want to call ’em. But this was happening all across America, mass protests. You were a police officer there in Las Vegas. Take us back to that day and take us through the mindset that you had to do what you did, which was defend the babies, but disobeyed an order apparently. So tell us what happened.

Chet Gallagher (05:09):

Well, let me try to shorten it as much as I can because I know our time is limited, but there’s a lot to the back story that your viewers can probably find just by going on YouTube and Googling my name and the words lesser magistrate, and that’ll take you the full details.


But since you don’t have time for it today, I’ll just try to make this point. I come to my life at a critical time. I was three months from being vested for my retirement in the department, become convinced that real children were dying, that the rescuers were doing my job so much more to the story. But I had actually done an investigation, participated in a rescue in Atlanta in that October of 1988. And I did it deliberately because I could not understand why these Christians felt they were justified in committing acts of civil disobedience. And I even wrote to my sheriffs that I’m taking my vacation going to Atlanta. I’ve got to learn about this and don’t worry those sheriff because if the rescues ever come to Las Vegas, I’ll be able to do my job as a police officer and arrest even these Christians who are committing these acts of civil disobedience.


So I appreciated how you opened and said, well, you can call ’em rescues, you can call ’em protests, you can call ’em acts of civil disobedience. But it is important that we know what they are and they are clearly acts of biblical obedience, not civil disobedience. Even today, I don’t believe that Christians are obeying God or obeying the scriptures when they commit acts of civil disobedience that not founded in and covered by God’s law, which says that we ought to be God rather than man. So that was my dilemma because after learning that the rescues were in fact acts of biblical or obedience, I came back and that’s why the first part of the video, it said that Chet was ordered to stay away. I was because my superiors knew exactly where I stood. They knew my history and I thought I was off the hook.


I thought that day when my sergeant said, Chet, we know how you feel about this, so I’m going to sign you a completely different area of town and you are not to go anywhere near there. And I actually prayed and I said, thank you Father. Obviously this is the will of God. You just were testing me to see if I would be willing to stand in a gap, but clearly not requiring it of me at this time because I know you would not want me to disobey my superiors. And in a nanosecond came the voice of the Spirit of God and asked the question, and who is your superior? So that had settled. So you weren’t given that job or the beat of actually being there at the rescue. You were across town on a different assignment and you just decided to go over to where the rescue was taking place.


Is that what happened? Well, after I really thought I was off the hook and the Father made it clear, no, there’s a job to be done, because it didn’t not remove for me the responsibility, it didn’t change the fact that real babies were dying. I knew they were. I knew the police were going to arrest those Christians. And I went there with the express purpose to try to dissuade them from doing that because I had information as a result of this lengthy investigation that I had done over the previous months that they did not have. And actually the police manual require that if I had information regarding the arrest of someone wrongfully, I had the responsibility to make sure that information was brought to the forefront. So not only was I upholding my oath office, but actually following the directions of the manual. So I went there for that purpose and that’s how I ended up there against orders trying to rescue the children.

Mark Harrington (09:04):

Okay. So obviously we saw the video clip there of you addressing the rescuers, the police. And I assume that obviously the media was there covering it, it didn’t seem like you did anything wrong there. I mean, you just kind of went and took a bullhorn and told people what you believe. Why did that lead to your arrest and were you arrested on the spot?

Chet Gallagher (09:28):

Yeah, that’s a good question because it was really that defining moment where my sergeant Steve Tuggle, a friend came up to me and said, Chet, you’re suspended. Leave this area immediately. Now, in that moment, I could have walked away. I could have left, and I could have probably gotten, oh, maybe a few days off without pay a letter in my portfolio. It was not too complimentary, but I would not have lost my job, my retirement, which was certainly consideration.


None of those things were vanished. And as a result of that, in that moment when he came up to me, he said, Shay, you’re suspended. Leave this area. Immediately I decided instead to answer. And I said, Steve, listen, I know you’re not convinced that they’re killing babies in this building behind me where these rescuers are sitting at the door here, but I am. That’s my dilemma. And as a police officer, not even so much as a Christian, certainly no kind of a protester, but as a police officer, I cannot in good conscience walk away from what I know to be a murder in progress. And it was that moment that they arrested me, took me to jail, stripped me of my badge, and my gun placed me in jail with the other rescuers that had taken into custody that day. 92 people were willing to lay down their life to not only rescue instant children being led away to slaughter, but to understand it really was for the sake of Jesus who said, whatever you do or do not do for the least of these, you do it for me.


And that was the key. And that’s still the key today. They’re still killing children and Jesus is saying, these are the least of mine, and what are you going to do to rescue them? And it’s all about me. So nothing’s really changed and I’m privileged that there are people that are willing to do that today as well.

Mark Harrington (11:20):

So you were fired, you’re basically dismissed, you’re put on suspension first and then fired later. Is that how it worked?

Chet Gallagher (11:26):

Yeah, it took two weeks later I was fired and we ultimately went to the Civil Service Board, took six months to get there, and as a result of that, they gave me my job back. Surprisingly not because they agreed with me, but then the sheriff the next morning filed a suit in district court against the decision of a civil service board for me to be reinstated.


And ultimately three months later, he won. I lost. And nine months after being arrested, it was ultimately decided that I was no longer going to be rehired as a police officer, and that’s how my career ended in Las Vegas.

Mark Harrington (12:06):

Gotcha. Okay. My guest again here is Chet Gallagher, and we’re talking to Chet about his testimony, his story as being a former Las Vegas law enforcement officer where he decided to interpose for the unborn to act in biblical obedience and following the command to rescue those being led away to death and therefore lost his job. You were just keeping your oath really, I mean obviously to God, but also to your position as a law enforcement officer. You swear to uphold the Constitution, right? I mean, and as a civil magistrate, which you were taking an oath to defend the innocent, right? I mean, so you felt like you were just keeping your oath too, right?

Chet Gallagher (12:56):

Well, that was critical, and it’s still critical today. I mean, recently the rescue that we did in Sterling Heights, the sergeant that came was about to arrest the rescuers that were there last summer. I challenged her and I said, when you took your oath of office, you spent a lot of time talking to them. I said, when you took your oath of office, did that oath end with the word? So help me God. She paused and she said, well, honestly, I don’t remember. I said, that’s your dilemma. God does remember, and that is what we did. And so

Mark Harrington (13:27):

What is the oath exactly, Chet? I mean, you put your hand on the Bible, do you not? I mean, you take an oath to the Constitution, right?

Chet Gallagher (13:34):

We didn’t take our, we did not have our hand on the Bible as we do when we testify in court.


But of course when the court, yes, put your hand on the Bible, put, raise your hand and promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God, so you’re not off the hook. The law enforcement code of ethics, which is a standard of ethical conduct for police officers, ends in this phrase, and you sign on to this, a code of ethics. This is dedicating myself before God to I chosen professional law enforcement. So when that oath of office is taken before God is something that has to be recognized not only personally morally, but even legally in my view, in the view of others, but understanding the necessity in arose

Mark Harrington (14:21):

Again, Chet Gallagher is my guest. Chet, let me ask you this. You heard some of the officers on that clip saying that this was your personal opinion, you did this for personal read reasons.


How do you respond to that?

Chet Gallagher (14:39):

Well, that’s a really important question because what that does is that basically lets them off the hook. And there is even a deputy chief of police to Los Angeles years ago, a well-known Christian conference speaker who made this statement with being interviewed about the rescue movement on James Dobson’s show focus on the Family. And he said, I am a Christian, but when I put on that uniform, I’m a cop. And that’s a really dangerous position to be in. But when you can just dismiss what myself and others, tens of thousands, by the way, many of your reviewers may not be aware of that. During 1986 to 1994, there are over 77,000 arrests of general Christians they’re opposing at the doors of abortion clinics. And when people were doing that, they were laying down their own life doing what the police officers should be doing but could not or refuse to do.


And so the reason that question you asked is so important is to understand that when they can dismiss that this is just someone’s personal views, they can easily use the same excuse, listen to me, that Christian Nazi soldiers use when they hauled away Jews and the rescuers of Jews. Yeah, I wanted to bring that up because I wanted to bring that up because it hearkens back to the Nuremberg trials and when they put on trial SS officers and others that were involved in the Third Reich, and they asked them why they did what they did and they just said, we were doing our job. Yeah, actually pretty answers they gave. They said, we are enforcing the law. We are obeying our superiors and we are doing our duty. And when they propose those as their defenses, they were found to be guilty. And we’re still, many of them hung as war criminals.


Usually those are excuses that police officers would use today.

Mark Harrington (16:49):

It doesn’t absolve them from their duty to protect human life. And when you look at the Nuremberg trials and we think to ourselves, how could they have done this? Why would they have done this? But yet today, Chet, and you’ve experienced it here when you were in Las Vegas, but also since then, we have law enforcement officers out front of our Planned Parenthood here that protect the child killers. And we’re constantly talking to them and asking them how they can do this and making the parallel to the Holocaust and trying to get them to think that they have a higher law that they must obey. How do you, as someone who’s been willing to pay the price, lose your job, be fired, and now using that testimony to witness to police officers, how do you address that?


Because I know there are a lot of people listening to the program who go to the abortion mills daily or weekly or whatever and are dealing with these off-duty police officers typically that have been hired by Planned Parenthood of the abortion center to protect the child killing. How do you handle that? How do you address that? You said, you mentioned it when you were arrested in Sterling Heights recently, but have there been others that have changed their minds over the years and what can you tell us when we’re out at the sidewalk to talk to these officers?

Chet Gallagher (18:19):

That question is a very easy one to answer, but it’s maybe a little hard for some people to understand. But I want to say, I want to preface my answer by saying this. We have responsibilities. We have responsibility before God actually to speak the truth in love, to provoke one another, to love and good works, and we have the responsibility to declare what the truth is. And we did that, then we do it now that as soon as you take us away from this place, then the doors open and the babies are killed. And in that moment you become complicit in the murder of those children. Police officers don’t want to hear that, but they need to be told that. But we have to understand something. Sometimes when people share my testimony, not knowing all the facts and everything that led up to it, and the investigation I did and all of those things, they kind of painted a picture that Chet pulled up there on his motorcycle and saw these rescuers at the door and ran to the door and pulled off his badge and threw out his gun and took off his uniform shirt, and there was this big S on his shirt and he stood there.


And no, it was a process for me, something that except for the spirit of God would not let me off the hook, would not let the excuses that I had been given even by other Christians. You said, Chet, you’ve got to secure your retirement. You’ve got to be a good witness. You’ve got to obey your superiors. All these godly Christian friends of mine were speaking those things to me. And so I will tell you that most police officers are never reaching that point where they’re really having to deal before God when it comes to obeying him rather than,

Mark Harrington (20:05):

Well, as a Christian, you obviously understand the scriptures in Romans 13 that we are supposed to obey the civil authority, but that’s not unconditional. No. There’s all kinds of stories in the Bible about others that defied the orders of civil government and interposed, and this is where I want to go from here.


I know Chet, after this event in 1989, you began to rescue, you already, apparently I didn’t know this, you had rescued or you were investigating the sit-ins or whatever you want to call ’em with Operation Rescue, but you joined up with Operation Rescue. That’s when I met you. And just recently in the last year or so, you have participated in rescues at Sterling Heights, Michigan, little Rock, Arkansas, and Mount Juliet, Tennessee. So rescues are occurring even now. The typical kind of rescue, which we could talk about, which is the prevention of people to enter the doors of abortion mill that would be blocking the entrances, if you will, or rescuing, and then what we call red rows at rescues, which are people going inside and counseling from within in the waiting room and handing out red roses and appealing to the women. Those things are going on currently.


I want to talk about interposition because that is really the concept here. The lesser magistrate as a police officer, you felt the duty to interpose to come between the oppressor and the oppressed, between the victim and the victimizer. And we all have that responsibility, of course, and you are doing it even now. So this is something you’ve continued to do and believe ever since that time in 1989.

Chet Gallagher (22:06):

So all of that that you said is true. I’m very thankful for the privilege to stand with godly men and women who are willing to lay down their life. The days that we are living in are becoming more and more wicked. It’s going to require more and more of us. There’ll be more persecution. Christians will have to make those decisions on their own, but accept the fact that based on the decisions they make, there’s going to be consequences or blessings for those decisions.


So the truth of the matter is, is that I cannot pull away from the idea that this was an absolute work of the spirit of God in my life and continues to be. Thankfully, the fact that I knew I had a responsibility then and now as a believer to interpose, to lay down my life, whatever it took peacefully to intervene, to try to show some act of love. It may be the only act of love that that child about to be murdered is going to experience in that day. But the fact is, is that because I know the truth, what was required, I could not walk away from a murder in progress, not then, and thankfully because they’re Christians willing to join together. Now in these last three rescues I’ve been privileged to participating in, we’re still seeing the hand of God at work and children are being saved not every time, but it is Jesus for whom we are interposing on behalf of. At least that’s what he makes clear to me in scripture.

Mark Harrington (23:42):

Chet Gallagher’s my friend, or he’s definitely my friend. He’s also my guest today on the program here. Mr. Producer, how much time do we have? I don’t have the clock up here. Oh, okay, Chad, we’re going to be wrapping it up here. Folks, if you want to find out more, please go to That’s You can contact Chet Gallagher and if you have questions about his position there and how he might be able to help you, reach out to law enforcement officers in your own town where you are situated dealing with abortion in your own city at the Abortion center, so he can be very helpful as a resource there. So go to We are and folks, I just want to let you know before we go, we are setting up a direct mar k here to show YouTube page. You can go there and subscribe and like the page. We’d appreciate that. So we appreciate you being on the program today, Chet. God bless you. Keep up the great work. We’ll see you next time. God bless you. God bless America and remember America. Bless God.

Outro (25:00):

You’ve been listening to Mark Harrington, your radio activist. For more information on how to make a difference for the cause of life, liberty and justice, go to created To follow mark, go to Mark Harrington Be sure to tune in next time for your marching orders in the culture war.