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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Ind. courts - "State trooper preached about Jesus during traffic stop"

Jill Disis reports in a story posted this evening on IndyStar that an Indiana State Trooper:

... Brian Hamilton pitched Christianity to [Ellen Bogan ] when he pulled her over for an alleged traffic violation in August on US Highway 27 in Union County.

With the lights on his marked police car still flashing, the trooper handed Bogan a warning ticket. Then, Bogan said, Hamilton posed some personal questions.

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.

Bogan and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Hamilton. The lawsuit alleges he violated Bogan’s First and Fourth Amendment rights when he probed into her religious background and handed her a church pamphlet that asks the reader “to acknowledge that she is a sinner.”

ILB: Here is a copy of the 5-page complaint, filed Sept. 23rd. Some quotes:
1. After conducting a traffic stop at which Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Hamilton presented Ms. Bogan with a warning ticket, Trooper Hamilton prolonged the stop by asking Ms. Bogan, among other things, if she had accepted Jesus Christ as her savior and then presented her with a pamphlet from the First Baptist Church in Cambridge that informed the reader that he or she is a sinner; listed God’s Plan of Salvation, noting that the person must realize that “the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins; and, advertised a radio broadcast entitled “Policing for Jesus Ministries.” The actions of defendant Trooper Hamilton violated Ms. Bogan’s rights under both the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Ms. Bogan is entitled to her damages. * * *

30. To the extent that Trooper Hamilton unreasonably extended the length of the traffic stop beyond the time necessary to present Ms. Bogan with a warning ticket Trooper Hamilton violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

31. Trooper Hamilton’s proselytizing and coercive questions concerning Ms. Bogan’s religious beliefs violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 5, 2014 06:31 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts