Indiana state trooper sued a second time for sharing his faith

by Tobin Perry, |
REUTERS/Frank Polich

PENDLETON, Ind. (Christian Examiner)—For the second time in 18 months an Indiana state trooper is being sued for sharing his faith with someone he pulled over for a traffic violation. According to a complaint filed in federal court on April 5 by the Indiana American Civil Liberties Union, state trooper Brian Hamilton asked Wendy Pyle whether "she had been saved" during a traffic stop in January.

He then told the woman about his church and gave her directions to it.

"Ms. Pyle was extremely uncomfortable with these questions," the lawsuit says, according to the Indianapolis Star. "In order to hopefully end these inquiries Ms. Pyle indicated that she did attend a church and that she was saved."

Hamilton was sued for a similar incident in October of 2014 when he pulled over Ellen Bogan for a traffic violation and gave her a warning ticket. He then asked her whether she had a home church and had accepted Jesus as Savior. She said later that she didn't attend church but felt compelled to tell him she did when he pulled her over.

When the first lawsuit was settled, Hamilton was advised not to question others about their religious beliefs or hand out pamphlets about his beliefs or church.

According to the Indianapolis Star, ISP Capt. Dave Bursten said Hamilton has been moved to an administrative desk job on Jan. 15 following a complaint that was filed against him.

"We don't want people to be afraid of making a complaint because they think we're going to publicize their name and create stress for them," Bursten said.

The investigation into the complaint is ongoing, he added.

Pyle is looking to get reimbursed for punitive damages and attorney fees.

In January an Indiana state trooper was thanked and commended by a man he prayed with instead of giving him a ticket. The man had just gotten bad medical news about his daughter and was distraught. Sgt. Todd Durnil prayed for the man and told him his church would do likewise. The next day the man called the trooper's station in a desire to thank him for his kindness.