His arrest outside a Chattanooga church went viral. Now he's suing the police for violating his freedom of speech.

Staff Photo by Wyatt Massey / Titus Hartford stands outside his apartment building in Chattanooga on March 28, 2022. Hartford was arrested outside Calvary Chapel Chattanooga in April 2021 for allegedly trespassing, a claim he denies.

This time, Titus Hartford had a camera.

The 34-year-old welder grew up in an evangelical church in Alabama and had attempted to spread his message before, handing out pamphlets or trying to get to the front of the sanctuary to teach. His other attempts carried a mixed record: He claims to have been tackled on his way to the pulpit and to have had the police called on him for trespassing.

During his yearslong efforts to confront Christians, especially pastors, about what he believes are contradictions or perversions of Christianity, Hartford said he could see behind the mask of American Christianity, and it is ugly.

"Whenever I have an interaction in my journey to try to troubleshoot this terrible spiritual funk that Americans are in - because it's terrible and it is a funk - I have interactions with the meanest, nastiest men," Hartford said.