In August of 2014, when Ellen Bogan was pulled over by Indiana State Trooper Brian Hamilton for supposedly passing another car illegally (which she denies), she was expecting him to ask her for her license and registration… but she wasn’t expecting questions like these:
Did she have a home church?
Did she accept Jesus Christ as her savior?
“It’s completely out of line and it just — it took me back,” Bogan, 60, told The Indianapolis Star.
… [he later] handed her a church pamphlet that asks the reader “to acknowledge that she is a sinner.”
Hamilton gave her a warning ticket before asking these questions, but given the situation and the blaring sounds and flashing lights, Bogan didn’t feel that she could just drive away. I don’t blame her. Hell, if I were in her shoes, I probably would’ve just lied, said I accepted Jesus, and hoped that’s what the cop wanted to hear.
Bogan and the ACLU eventually filed a lawsuit against Hamilton for overstepping his bounds:
Bogan’s complaint also claims that Hamilton asked if he could give her something and that he went to his car to retrieve a pamphlet from First Baptist Church in Cambridge City.
The pamphlet, which was included in the lawsuit, advertises a radio broadcast from “Trooper Dan Jones” called “Policing for Jesus Ministries.” It also outlines “God’s plan for salvation,” a four-point list that advises the reader to “realize you’re a sinner” and “realize the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins.”
“I’m not affiliated with any church. I don’t go to church,” Bogan said. “I felt compelled to say I did, just because I had a state trooper standing at the passenger-side window. It was just weird.”
That case was eventually settled:
According to court records, Hamilton was counseled not to question others regarding their religious beliefs, nor was he to provide religious pamphlets or similar advertisements to them.
Now guess what happened this week?
A woman named Wendy Pyle filed a federal lawsuit against one Brian Hamilton… and wait till you hear why:
After conducting a traffic stop at which Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Hamilton presented Wendy Pyle with a warning ticket, Trooper Hamilton proceeded to prolong the stop by asking Ms. Pyle what church she attended and whether she had been saved. He then told her about his church and gave Ms. Pyle directions to it… Ms. Pyle was extremely uncomfortable about this interaction. The actions of defendant Trooper Hamilton violated Ms. Pyle’s rights under both the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Ms. Pyle is entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages.
He’s still at it!
It should be noted that the incident took place in January, because check out what happened that same month:
ISP Capt. Dave Bursten said Hamilton is no longer on patrol and was moved to an administrative desk job Jan. 15 after a complaint was filed against him.
It’s unclear whether that event is connected to Pyle’s lawsuit…
If it’s not, what the hell is wrong with this guy?
If this were a Muslim or atheist cop, I have no doubt he’d be out of a job right now. But something about being a proselytizing Christian lets you get away with shit like this, even when you’ve been punished before.
Pyle is requesting a jury trial, punitive damages, and attorney fees. Maybe if she wins, Hamilton will finally get the hint that he’s not working in a church.