Terry Jones, the Quran-burning pastor based in Gainesville, Fla., says his Wednesday arrest by Polk County police was pre-planned to prevent his First Amendment-protected book bonfire. Free speech experts say if that's true, his arrest was unconstitutional.
Jones was arrested after traveling in a truck that police say was towing 2,998 kerosene-soaked Qurans inside a large grill. He said he intended to burn one Quran for each of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Previous Quran-burnings by Jones have been blamed for murderous rampages in Muslim countries, and this year's plan was condemned by many locals.
"We were definitely targeted," Jones told WTVT-TV after his Thursday release from jail. "They were looking for something." Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd disagreed, and accused Jones in a released statement of inviting arrest by transporting the Qurans in a smoker-trailer grill that lacked registration.