Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest Dunn's funeral
"Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, 34, famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts, died in a car wreck in Pennsylvania on Monday.
June 22nd, 2011
05:40 PM ET

Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest Dunn's funeral

A controversial church in Topeka, Kansas, plans to send parishioners to Pennsylvania to protest the funeral of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn, the congregation announced in a press release.

Westboro Baptist Church "will picket any public memorial/funeral held for Dunn, warning all not to make a mock of sin, & to fear and obey God!” the release said.

Westboro was started by the Rev. Fred Phelps in 1955. The church's parishioners, made up mostly of Phelps relatives, stage protests with signs that say such things as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The funeral director for DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home in West Chester said Wednesday afternoon that a family-only private memorial for Dunn was in progress - and there was no problem.

Because it was a private memorial, Joseph DellaVecchia said, he didn't expect any disturbances, although he'd heard of Westboro's plans.

“We can’t stop someone from coming to a public funeral, but this is private, and the police have everything under control,” DellaVecchia said.

A public funeral is planned for later in the week.

“Our department recognizes that we have an ethical and legal imperative to uphold civil rights of those who choose to lawfully assemble to protest but also of family members mourning at a funeral," West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn said Wednesday.

Dunn was drunk and driving up to 140 mph when his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 crashed and caught fire on a Pennsylvania highway Monday, police said Wednesday.

The red-bearded Dunn, 34, was famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts on the MTV show, which evolved into a successful film franchise.

Westboro protesters, known for picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers, have recently been met with counter-protesters at funerals across the nation.

At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington last month, counter-protesters, some claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan, squared off against Westboro Baptist members.

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Filed under: Pennsylvania • Protest • U.S.
soundoff (798 Responses)
  1. Will

    Why does the media constantly give those evil attention seekers the coverage they so desperately crave? (Don't tell me it is because people like me read the story. I clicked it on to confirm what I feared the link on the home page implied, hoping it wasn't Westboro again getting free publicity. I guess I knew it was).

    June 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sn

    I wish media would not give Fred Phelps the time or day. He's disgusting and I'm frustrated that him and his organization are receiving any publicity.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Warren L

      I agree with you, they only have power because they keep making national news. Ignore them and they will vanish soon enough. But its a good thing this was private, if these nut-jobs got in Bams face after he just lost his friend.... well anyone who has seen the show knows what hes capable of when hes not emotionally strained. He probably would have ran someone over with his Hummer.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. albert

    The church of Satan strikes again.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bruce

    I don't think this is the funeral they want to protest. Bamm and his group may have something for these idiots. I don't think these boys are going to stand back and watch this occur.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      That's exactly what they want. I don't think that Ryan Dunn's rich dumb buddies really want to mess around with the WBC.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wendy

    He was a actor and a human being let him rest in peace. he made alot of people laugh and made some not so smart decisions. rest in peace Ryan!

    June 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jdog

    I say forget the stupid Police demonstrations at the schools for drinking and driving they make this an OPEN casket and bring the kids through! That should take care of that!

    June 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jdog

    He murdered someone – Will he be charged for that crime?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nero44

      @jdog- I believe murder implies with malice or with the intent of killing another. I don't think he intended on killing anyone he just made an incredibly bad decision which many people do after they consume too much alcohol. What I can't believe is this poison is legal simply because of the tax dollars that are made from it. Anyway, here's your definition of murder from the dictionary; –noun
      1.
      Law . the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).

      June 23, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Brett

    STOP GIVING THESE PEOPLE ATTENTION! GOOD LORD!

    June 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. morph147

    yup i agree. knoxville and friends will do something if they show up. if not fans of ryan dunn

    June 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jdog

    Let's see..... 140mph in a 55 zone while 2x's over te legal limit. Cue the soft piano music. I can't believe he's gone!

    June 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jdog

    Do you realize that NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON has made comment about... "the other passenger". The dude who had a family, wife and served THIS COUNTRY in 2 wars. Boo-hoo Bam

    June 22, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Splinter48708

    Well, while I respect Westboro's right to protest peacefully, I feel that if they do protest at this particular funeral, they might be on "Jacka$$" whether they like it or not as Bam Margera and Johnny Knoxville (and others) will have no problem wading into the protesters and making their own protest...with their fists, I'm afraid.

    Local PD should be aware of this potentially explosive situation and have it under control, though.

    RIP Ryan Dunn. While I wasn't a regular watcher of this show, he had the huevos to do some really wierd stunts. I can't condone the cause of death, but, as another poster said, let's not be judging the man, but, the act itself. ALso, another famous man said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Sound advice, I think.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MisterRok

    Fred, there's a place nice and warmed up for you in hell. Now go there.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scary

    CNN must be on Westboro's payroll. Why else would they advertise everything this church does?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sarah

    TO THE HATERS people usually say no offence but you can take as much offence to this as you like ..........
    Ryan Dunn didn't force his passenger in the car. where does it say his passenger was forced to get in the car ??????
    he got in knowing their would be risks they were both drinking so im sorry but what is that any different to the people that drink and drive today and don't get caught ????
    Ryan Dunn is only getting hated on because he was famous what if he wasn't famous what then everyone would just go ooooohhhh noooo and leave it at that ALL YOU HATERS ARE PATHETIC what if it was your son or relative you would then change your tune and defend them so just let Ryan and Zachary RIP FOR F*@CK SAKE

    June 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
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