Indiana trooper sued 2nd time for proselytizing

An Indiana State Police trooper faces a second lawsuit accusing him of proselytizing to citizens while on duty.

Wendy Pyle filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis claiming trooper Brian Hamilton violated her civil rights by asking her what church she attended and whether she was saved during a traffic stop in January.

Pyle is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, The Herald Bulletin reported.

During the traffic stop, Hamilton gave Pyle a warning ticket for speeding and invited her to his church, according to the lawsuit.

“In order to hopefully end these inquiries, Ms. Pyle indicated that she did attend a church and that she was saved,” the lawsuit states.

Pyle, who lives in Fayette County, filed a formal complaint with Indiana State Police. She was later told that Hamilton, who works out of a post in Pendleton 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis, had placed her on a prayer list at his church, her lawsuit says.

Pyle claims Hamilton’s preaching was upsetting and unreasonably prolonged the traffic stop.

Trooper Brian Hamilton. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Trooper Brian Hamilton. — PHOTO: Courtesy

In 2014, Hamilton was sued following a similar traffic stop in which driver Ellen Bogan of Huntington accused him of violating her constitutional rights.

Bogan said Hamilton asked her several times about her religious beliefs and that she didn’t feel she could leave or refuse to answer with his squad car parked behind her car. She claimed that Hamilton gave her a pamphlet from First Baptist Church in Cambridge City, which asks readers to acknowledge being a sinner, and advertised a radio broadcast titled “Policing for Jesus Ministries.”

Hamilton received employee counseling behavior that discouraged proselytizing behavior in a settlement, according to Pyle’s lawsuit.

Pyle is seeking punitive damages and attorney fees. She also wants a jury trial.

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