Indiana State Police trooper fired after second complaint of proselytizing
A 14-year veteran of the Indiana State Police has been fired after the second complaint in 18 months that he was talking about religion on the job.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A 14-year veteran of the Indiana State Police has been fired after the second complaint in 18 months that he was proselytizing on the job.
Senior Trooper Brian L. Hamilton's employment was terminated, according to a news release from the Indiana State Police late Thursday afternoon. Hamilton worked out of the Pendleton ISP post.
According to the release, the first complaint against Trooper Hamilton resulted in a lawsuit that named the Indiana State Police as a defendant. That lawsuit was brought to a close in April 2015.
Police say that in Senior Trooper Brian L. Hamilton had been counseled in writing in August 2014 that, "During the course of his official duties, S/Trp. Hamilton will not question others regarding their religious beliefs nor provide religious pamphlets or similar advertisements."
But, police say, it happened again, on January 14, 2016, resulting in the launching of an Internal Investigation.
Wendy Pyle filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in Indianapolis against Hamilton, claiming he violated her civil rights. She's being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.
The Herald Bulletin reported that the case stems from a January traffic stop in which Hamilton gave Pyle a warning ticket for speeding.
The lawsuit alleges that Hamilton asked Pyle what church she attended and whether she was saved. It claims that Hamilton invited Pyle to his church.
Pyle is seeking punitive damages and attorney fees. She also wants a jury trial.
"Totally separate from the Indiana State Police internal investigation, and without the knowledge of the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU) was preparing a lawsuit against Hamilton as an individual," the news release continues. "The lawsuit became public record on April 6, 2016, which resulted in many media outlets calling the Indiana State Police to inquire about the lawsuit. It was later determined the Indiana State Police was NOT named in the lawsuit against Hamilton."
Police say that earlier today, Hamilton was fired after a formal hearing.
"While all of us -- citizen and police officer -- enjoy the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, there are appropriate and proper restrictions placed on agents of the State related to their actions while engaged in their official duties," Superintendent Doug Carter said, according to the news release. "While I respect Mr. Hamilton's religious views I am also charged to respect every citizen's rights and the best way forward for the citizens of Indiana, and for Mr. Hamilton, was to end his employment as a state police officer."
"Making the decision to end a person's career is not a decision I make without considerable thought," Carter added, according to the release. "I truly wish Brian the best in his future and the ability to follow his heart."
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