CRIME
10/06/2014 08:02 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Indiana State Trooper Brian Hamilton Sued For Handing Out Religious Lit At Traffic Stop

When Ellen Bogan was stopped on U.S. 27 by Indiana State Trooper Brian Hamilton on Aug. 9, he said it was because she made an illegal pass.

Hamilton gave her a warning ticket for speeding and he threw in something else: a religious pamphlet asking her to acknowledge she was a sinner.

Now Bogan, 60, is suing Hamilton saying his on-the-job actions violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights, WLWT.com reports.

Bogan says Hamilton kept the police car lights flashing during the traffic stop, but after the officer handed over the warning ticket, he asked her if she had a home church and if she accepted Jesus Christ as her savior.

The pamphlet advertised a radio program called “Policing for Jesus Ministries” hosted by “Trooper Dan Jones.”

Bogan was shocked at Hamilton's alleged actions and decided to file the lawsuit with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It's completely out of line and it just -- it took me aback," Bogan, 60, told the Indianapolis Star.

Bogan said she is not religious, but felt she could not leave or refuse questioning because Hamilton was in uniform and had his patrol car parked behind hers.

“The whole time, his lights were on,” Bogan said, according to RawStory.com “I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning.”

Indiana State Police spokesman David Bursten confirmed that State Police received notice about the lawsuit in late September but said the agency does not comment on pending litigation, USA Today reports.

Burstan added that there isn't a specific policy that addresses officers who distribute religious materials, according to the Associated Press.

Hamilton has not responded to media inquiries, but Bogan's lawsuit is getting divided reactions.

Indianapolis-based Jennifer Drobac tells the Indianapolis Star that because Hamilton was on duty as a government representative, his actions represent the state trying establish one religion above all.

Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, sees it differently, telling the newspaper that while a traffic stop might not have been the best time to quiz someone about faith, it doesn't mean the officer should lose his right to free speech.

READ THE LAWSUIT:

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