State Trooper Sued after Asking Woman about Her Salvation during Traffic Stop

Carrie Dedrick | Tuesday, October 7, 2014

State Trooper Sued after Asking Woman about Her Salvation during Traffic Stop

A state trooper in Indiana is being sued after asking a woman if she was saved and handing out religious material during a traffic stop. State trooper Brian Hamilton allegedly asked Ellen Bogan if she was saved while she was pulled over for a moving violation.

"It's completely out of line and it just—it took me aback," Bogan said. "The whole time, his lights were on. I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning."

Bogan says that she took offense to the officer’s actions violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Professor Jennifer Drobac, an expert of religion and government said, "The most important thing for people to understand is that the First Amendment specifies that the government shall not prefer one religion over another religion, or religious adherence over anything else. The police officer is representing the government…so that means, as a representative, this person, while on duty, while engaged in official action, is basically overstepping and is trying to establish religion.”

Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana said that Hamilton’s actions were permissible. "Mormons come to my door all the time, and it doesn't offend me. (This case) might not be the most persuasive time to talk to someone about their faith, but I don't think that a police officer is prohibited from doing something like that."

Publication date: October 7, 2014