Indiana Trooper Fired for Sharing Christ During Traffic Stops

Hamilton-compressedINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana state police have fired a trooper after a second complaint was received about sharing his faith with those he encounters during traffic stops.

As previously reported, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against trooper Brian Hamilton in 2014 after complainant Ellen Bogdan alleged that he violated her constitutional rights by asking her about her religious beliefs after he pulled her over for an alleged traffic violation.

According to reports, the incident occurred in August 2014 in Union County, Indiana. Hamilton gave Bogdan a warning about making an illegal pass—and then asked her if she went to church anywhere. He also reportedly asked her if she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior.

“I’m not affiliated with any church. I don’t go to church,” Bogan told the Indianapolis Star. “I felt compelled to say I did, just because I had a state trooper standing at the passenger-side window. It was just weird.”

The trooper then asked Bogan if he could give her a tract, and he went to his vehicle to retrieve it for her.

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

Bogan later contacted the Indiana State Police to lodge a complaint and request an investigation. She then enlisted the assistance of the ACLU to file a lawsuit claiming that Hamilton violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights by speaking to her about matters of faith and handing her a tract that asks the recipient to “realize you’re a sinner” and “realize the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins.”

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The tract, which was from First Baptist Church of Cambridge City, also advertised for a Christian radio broadcast called “Policing for Jesus” with trooper Dan Jones.

The lawsuit was later settled and Hamilton was ordered in writing, “During the course of his official duties, S/Trp. Hamilton will not question others regarding their religious beliefs nor provide religious pamphlets or similar advertisements.”

But on Tuesday, the ACLU filed a second lawsuit against Hamilton, this time on behalf of complainant Wendy Pyle. The suit alleges that Hamilton pulled Pyle over for speeding this past January, but gave her a warning instead of a ticket. He then asked her if she went to church anywhere and if she was saved.

“It was unwanted. It was also extremely upsetting,” she told reporters.

Hamilton was fired on Thursday, but a spokesman for the Indiana State Police told reporters that it is because of an internal investigation and not because of the ACLU suit.

“The internal investigation was initiated, conducted, concluded and scheduled for the April 7th hearing over two weeks prior to the state police having any knowledge of the ACLU lawsuit,” Chief Public Information Officer Captain David Bursten told local television Fox59. “Today’s termination of Hamilton’s employment with the state police was the result of a thorough internal investigation and would have occurred regardless of any legal action initiated by the ACLU against Mr. Hamilton.”

“While I respect Mr. Hamilton’s religious views, I am also charged to respect every citizen’s rights, and the best way forward for the citizens of Indiana, and for Mr. Hamilton, was to end his employment as a state police officer,” also said Superintendent Douglas Carter in a statement.

Hamilton told repoters, “I’m just following what the Lord told me to do, and you can’t change what the Lord tells you to do. So if the Lord tells me to speak about Jesus Christ, I do. And that’s why they fired me so that’s where we’re at.”


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  • bowie1

    A traffic stop is probably not the best place to share a person’s faith since it can be only be brief and awkward. He could have volunteered instead handing out tracts with his civilian clothes on a street corner or wherever.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      That would probably have been perfectly legal.

    • Nidalap

      I know. He probably had the very best of intentions, but his uniform says “I have the authority to lock you up.”…

      • The Skeptical Chymist

        Exactly!

  • Gott Mit Uns!

    I work in the court system. I’ve seen that look before.

    • 0pus37

      Same cell?

    • Peter Leh

      go with it

  • acontraryview

    Persecution of the best people. A familiar pattern throughout history.

    • acontraryview

      hmmmmm….it seems someone lacks the creativity to come up with their own handle, so they have attempted to highjack mine.

      “Persecution of the best people. A familiar pattern throughout history.”

      Do you mean like the Crusades and the Inquisitions? Or perhaps the slaughter of Native Americans and the kidnapping of their children?

      • Cady555

        It is pretty obvious. You have made over 2000 comments and your comments are public.

        The @marshallphilips acontraryview account has made 26 private comments.

        I notice that no other regulars here have criticized him. I would say that @marshallphilips is dishonest. I guess I don’t understand christian morality.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I did, once. I can’t find it anymore, but I did.

  • Destiny2429

    Wow…I guess they would have apreciated the ticket more than the officer sharing his faith with them…sad

    • Ambulance Chaser

      They probably would have, yes.

    • Cady555

      Let’s see – a choice between (a) a professional officer giving me a ticket and (b) an unprofessional officer using a traffic stop to coerce me into pretending religious beliefs I don’t have.

      That’s tough. Not.

      I want nothing to do with unprofessional, power abusing, boundary crossing people with guns and arrest powers.

  • Becky

    Hmm. What about the officer that prayed with, and gave his personal bible to, the walking-around-soaking-wet-at-2:30am homeless man? How ’bout the officer that prayed with the angry and upset, speeding truck driver? In both of these accounts they were officially stopped by the officers. The outcome was good for the citizens, therefore the officers did nothing wrong. However, a couple of liberal, heathens get pulled over, asked about faith/religion and all-litigiousness breaks out. A good officer off the force…terrible shame.

    • Cady555

      I would think a walking around soaking wet at 2:30 in the morning homeless man probably needed dry clothes, food and a warm place to sleep.

      I actually don’t have a problem with a police officer showing compassion and meeting someone where they are at and speaking to them in a language they understand. Comforting a jesus loving truck driver with jesus words is fine with me. But I would expect that a distraught allah-loving or atheist truck driver would also receive compassion according to their existing beliefs.

      Compare a police officer giving a small child a teddy bear after a scary event to a police officer selling his personal line of teddy bears to everyone he stops for a traffic violation. Not the same.

      What is not fine is a police officer using his authority or another person’s catastrophe to sell his belief system.

  • Mike Crognale

    Satan’s useful idiots strike again.

    • gizmo23

      Conservative Christians?

  • disqus_O2BUmbLecp

    QUOTE: …….” Hamilton told repoters, “I’m just following what the Lord told me to do,
    and you can’t change what the Lord tells you to do. So if the Lord
    tells me to speak about Jesus Christ, I do. And that’s why they fired me
    so that’s where we’re at.” ”
    .
    .
    .
    Christians should not proselytize uninvitingly or unreceptively to others.
    …….We must remember that the Jews, suffering under Roman occupation for their sins/evil-deeds, were anticipating n waiting for the coming of their prophesied Messiah/Christ/Savior during the time of Jesus of Nazareth. John the Baptist announced to the Jews the impending arrival of their Messiah/Christ.
    …….So, at about 30AD, Jesus began His ministry to His fellow Jews n told them that He was their Messiah/Christ/Savior n preached to them about the kingdom of heaven.(MATT.4:17) Problem was, the Jews also wanted their Messiah/Christ to give them back their kingdom of earth, ie Judah/Israel, similar to a mighty King David or commander Joshua of Nun.(JOHN.6:15)

    So, the Jews were receptive to Jesus but when He was proven to be a pacifist(eg MATT.22:21) n would not be fulfilling their earthly desires, they rejected Him as their Christ/Messiah n killed Him.

    In general, Christians should not proselytize to Muslims, Jews n homo-atheists.

  • robertzaccour

    Losing his job is a bit harsh don’t ya think?

    • The Skeptical Chymist

      Nope, not at all. He refused to follow a direct order from his boss. And he chose to inflict his religious beliefs on a person who was completely in his power at that moment. If he were a Muslim doing that, you’d understand why it is wrong for a person who has that kind of power over someone else to do that. During his hours serving as a police officer, he should keep his religious beliefs to himself.

      • robertzaccour

        Why would I look at a Muslim doing that any differently? You’re assuming things about someone you know next to nothing about. I didn’t say he was right in defying his boss, it’s just that from what I read it seemed like other corrective measures were bypassed before firing the guy.

        • The Skeptical Chymist

          Sorry if I made a faulty assumption.

    • acontraryview

      Without knowing the particulars of the internal investigation I think it would imprudent to conclude one way or the other.

      • robertzaccour

        Did you noticed I phrased that in the form of a question? I know that…

    • Cady555

      For a first offense, he should not lose his job. But this was not the first time. He was warned and disciplined before.

      • BarkingDawg

        A couple incidents, at least.

    • Peter Leh

      multiple complaints. Doubt this was his first rodeo

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    America and Europe must stop hating the Christianity; it’s their only moral conscience. It’s truly stupid and evil of the secular West to try to equate Christianity with anything else. There is nothing so vital and true and good like Christianity in the entire universe. The Western nations took the best thing (Christianity) granted and that’s why they lost sane judgment.

    • mastaofdisasta

      How is that relevant to this particular case?

    • Peter Leh

      Grace what has the unprofessionalism of this trooper have to do with hating christians?

      to be fair you approve of Muslim police officers try to convert you at a traffic stop?

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Sharing Christ is sharing the way to get saved. Other religions and ideologies do not have salvation or wholesome morality or safety for all. It is different. The Western government should make it utmost easy for Christians to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the copies of the Holy Bible anywhere so that many could get saved and get literacy and become moral and civilized.

        • Chrissy

          You so funny. It’s like you are totally uneducated about the other world religions.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            I read and studied religions. It’s secular Americans who are ignorant on Christianity and other religions/ideologies and the world history including the US history. You guys should stop bullying the Christians in the land.

          • Chrissy

            LOL– stop trying to fool us.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            The Western culture has only sexual depravity when it has no Christianity. That’s what’s going on. Too much entertainment = mental illness. You guys need Christianity for salvation. Many Earthlings still don’t have even clean water or enough food on Planet Earth. Stop being bored on a planet of sufferings.

          • Chrissy

            What planet are you currently residing on? Just curious?

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You guys are bullying the gentle Christians because you cannot bully the colored people or the poor anymore. Stop bullying.

          • Chrissy

            You are a fake Christian stop posting here.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Read Mayflower Compact, too. USA must not become a shameful oppressive Sodom in the 21st century after the 400 years of existence.

          • Chrissy

            No one wants to join your reading club.

          • getstryker

            The only ‘fool’ here is you and your ilk.

          • Chrissy

            spoken like a typical fake christian

          • getstryker

            You’re certainly entitled to your opinion as you know very little about me . . . my comment to you was simply ‘an observation’ – no one ‘in the flesh’ lives forever . . . ‘eternity is for the spirit’ – we will see who is the ‘fake’ and who is the ‘fool’ . . . time WILL tell.
            Like it or not – know it or not – believe it or not . . . Grace is absolutely correct – God IS the final Judge!

          • Chrissy

            you might want to get off your cross and let Jesus up there.

          • getstryker

            I would remind you that He (Jesus) already did the time on the cross for me, (all believers) to pay the price for sin, in my/our place, and told us (believers) the following ‘after we accept our salvation by what He has done’ . . .

            “And he (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23 (KJV)

            As usual . . . folks like you only refer to and use Bible verses as a weapon against believers with little or no understanding of ‘meaning, context or import . . . , .

            As usual, you and your ilk fail miserably at it.

          • Chrissy

            i would reminder you that you totally missed my point about getting off your cross. Probably because you’re an idiot.

          • getstryker

            Wrong again there cupcake . . . I didn’t ‘miss your point’ – I simply ignored your comment as it was scripturally ‘in error’ – Then, I wrote you ‘the TRUTH!’

          • Chrissy

            you know exactly what I meant —

        • Peter Leh

          I noticed, once again grace you did not answers my question. I don;t remember you ever answering a question.

          Can you answer the question above?:

          “Grace what has the unprofessionalism of this trooper have to do with hating christians?”

          “to be fair you approve of Muslim police officers try to convert you at a traffic stop?”

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Evangelizing anywhere in anyway by anyone should not be criminalized like this, unless it actually harmed people. They fired him and they shouldn’t have, even if he was a Muslim officer. It’s so unfair the schools and everywhere else force atheism upon the people but criminalize religions especially Christianity. You need to admit the current secularism is unfair to most of the people.

          • Peter Leh

            Ok I take it as a yes.

            Please note no criminal activity took place.. only a violation of department policy this officer was aware and promised to follow.

  • Joe

    Typical response from an unbeliever who refuses the truth,Grace and mercy of Christ finished cross work on Calvary is to say “It was unwanted. It was also extremely upsetting”,To be fired is wrong.Typical outcome when the ACLU (aka Satan’s legal team) gets involved.

    • mastaofdisasta

      You are aware that if a Christian police officer can preach on the job, then so can Muslims, pagans, etc. Now imagine lots and lots of Muslims joining police forces around the country just so they can evangelize from behind the badge (and with a gun and handcuffs at the hip), preaching and handing out Koran pamphlets to everyone they stop.

      • Joe

        Same question to you as well, why do you troll on a Christian news site?

        • mastaofdisasta

          I’m not trolling. I’m genuinely interested in hearing why some people think there’s nothing wrong with this officer’s actions, and if they really want a precedent for all public employees to be allowed to proselytize on the job.

          • Joe

            Do you believe in the death,burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that the simple belief in his finished cross work saves individuals and places them in the body of Christ?

          • mastaofdisasta

            I’d copy and paste the Nicene creed but it’s easier just to look up.

            I’d really like to get back to the details of this particular case though, and the precedent that would be set by allowing public officials to proselytize while on the job.

          • Joe

            Belief in the Nicene creed does not mean your a Christian or saved. Its not the proselytizing by public officials that really concerns you but your deep seated hatred for all things concerning God and His righteousness. By the way I agree a public official should not witness while at work.

          • mastaofdisasta

            So we agree on that basic principle, which is really all I was trying to figure out. But before you said that you said this:

            “Its not the proselytizing by public officials that really concerns you but your deep seated hatred for all things concerning God and His righteousness.”

            I don’t know what to say here. I don’t know why you would presume any of that. I’m at a loss for words. Why? Why would you presume any of that from what I said? I simply wanted to have a civilized conversation and then you go and say something like that. I guess we’re done here anyway, but I still can’t believe that you would presume so much about me simply from my thoughts about this specific case.

            God Bless and enjoy the day, but I sincerely hope you think about what you said.

          • Joe

            I apologize for my earlier statement. I would like to add one more comment. Since in your first statement you said, ” Now imagine lots and lots of Muslims…”. I would like to ask you to “imagine” something. What if you were pulled over by a public official, and were a unbeliever at the time, and this official spoke to you about the gospel and you became a believer, and at that moment were saved from eternal damnation, would you wish that he not had witnessed to you.

          • mastaofdisasta

            Accepted. I concede that it something to ponder. However, I think in terms of a public official, a simple God Bless or something similar should suffice.

        • CHrollCHum

          why do you troll on a Christian news site?

          is that aramaic for, “I have no response?”

          • Peter Leh

            “”why do you troll on a Christian news site?”

            is that aramaic for, “I have no response?”

            “i think it may be “do as i say, not as i do”

          • Joe

            Just curious, are you a Christian Peter?

          • Peter Leh

            of course.

          • Joe

            So explain your comment “do as I say, not as I do”

          • Peter Leh

            “So explain your comment “do as I say, not as I do””

            even if I where an “unbeliever” I could explain the comment means you accuse others of trolling yet are a troll yourself by your fishing tactics.
            After all the nonbeliever need not the HS indwelling to recognize a jackass.

          • Joe

            A non Christian on a Christian News Site is a Troll. Plain and simple. And to call me names is childish.

          • Peter Leh

            “A non Christian on a Christian News Site is a Troll”

            Or is part of the conversation? I believe the site is open to everyone.

            “And to call me names is childish.”

            just an example of what everyone sees, with or without the indwelling of the HS. If it walks like a jackass and talks like a jackass then guess what it is?

          • Joe

            I think its past your bed time.

          • Peter Leh

            “I think its past your bed time.”

            lol… “do as i say, not as i do”

            gotcha.

          • Joe

            See I made you laugh. Take care Peter.

          • Peter Leh

            I was unaware JS was a bad word, 🙂

          • gizmo23

            Flagged. You gays always come out with the insults, it’s why you’re here. Move on.

          • Cady555

            I disagree. Conversation has value. Listening to people you disagree with has value.

            What use is a conversation where everyone repeats “I agree” over and over?

            One of my favorite quotes: “If two people always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

            Cheers.

          • Joe

            Conversation for conversation sake well then yes I agree.However, when it comes to spiritual matters I don’t care to listen to the adversaries grunts.

          • Cady555

            Truth can withstand light.

          • Joe

            Truth is light.

          • Cady555

            Yes. Wisdom for the ages:

            “After all the nonbeliever need not the HS indwelling to recognize a jackass.”

            Cheers, salutations and best wishes. ☺

          • Amy

            Read his comment history – NO.

        • 0pus37

          Because they hate Christians. DUH.
          Other than hate, they got no emotions at all.

          • Cady555

            Engaging in conversation, asking questions and listening to the answers is not trolling.

          • Amy

            Whatever it is, it shows what losers atheists are.

          • mastaofdisasta

            Why do you presume that someone must be an atheist to agree with the police department’s decision here? He was warned several times before this.

          • Lexical Cannibal

            I mean, I know that when I left the faith, I instantly loss all feelings of love, compassion, humility, and hope. Now they’ve been replaced with evolution propaganda and hate for everything Christianity stands for. I’ve never been happier! Or, well, I would be, if, well…you know…hate.

          • Call Me Tim

            i ♥ u

        • gizmo23

          This is a public site with a Christian focus. It is a profit making business

    • Cady555

      Yes. Most people would be upset if someone with a gun and arrest powers pressured them to pretend religious belief contrary to their personal belief.

      I think it is safe to say that Christians would demand the job of any atheist police officer, who during a traffic stop, asked them to agree that chrisrianity is detrimental to society.

      • Joe

        Why do you troll on a christian site?

        • Cady555

          Engaging in conversation is not trolling.

        • gizmo23

          This is a public board

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Christianity is vital and true and good. Atheism is bad. That’s the difference. Stop persecuting what is good in USA.

    • BarkingDawg

      What if the trooper were Muslim and insisted that the motorists say “Allah Akbar?”

      • Joe

        Yeah, while slipping a black hood over the motrists head and clutching a machete.

        • Peter Leh

          so you do get what everyone is saying, no? 🙂

    • Peter Leh

      Joe you want to listen to a cop try to convert you of islam or just do his job?

      People get fired for being unprofessional don;t take it personal if one who gets fired is a christian

  • Andrew

    Apparently the primary function of government is to keep atheists from getting upset. I haven’t found it in the Constitution, but atheists get very creative with the Constitution.

    • MattFCharlestonSC

      I love the way you think that freedom of religion only applies to you.

      • 0pus37

        It can’t apply to you atheists, since you have no religion, so what’s your beef, missy?

        • gizmo23

          One can be a Christian you not want government to be involved in their faith

        • MattFCharlestonSC

          My “beef” is people inflicting their beliefs on me. It’s apparently your beef too. Keep your religion to yourself and out of the government.

    • Peter Leh

      Someone need to be embarrassed for you.. I will.

      • Andrew

        You just go right ahead and do that, sounds like you need something to occupy your time. Is your Menandcubscouts website down again?

        • Peter Leh

          again.. i your mamma did not teach you manners..

  • BarkingDawg

    Good.

    Looking at that picture, all I can say is that man has the deadist eyes.

    • Max

      Spelled “deadest,” you illiterate fool.

      • BarkingDawg

        Crazy eyes

    • 0pus37

      Are you scared? Do you need a safe space? A fainting couch?

  • SFBruce

    Public servants, especially those who are armed and have the power to arrest citizens, have no business turning their jobs into a mission field. If he wants to hand out leaflets, or go door to door and evangelize, he can do that on his own time. If he thinks he has a calling to do this 24/7, he should change careers and become a minister, or some other other full time religious professional.

    • Peter Leh

      now if he gave a warning or gave a ticket then mentioned… “btw personally i like your fish emblem. have a nice day” this would have been a perfectly appropriate statement.

  • xinthose

    if the Holy Spirit was provoking me to do the same things, I would do it

    • Peter Leh

      maybe… but multiple times with warning by the supervisor?

      Seems the HS would be more responsible than that. 🙂

      • xinthose

        there may be more to this story than we know; did he pray about it? I only witness at work when the situation is appropriate

        • Peter Leh

          we know he has been doing this for at least two years. we know his supervisor has reprimanded him. We know he continued.

          While i do understand the leading of the HS and would do the same if lead, I would also take my lumps and not make a martyr of myself.

          thank is just me

  • mrpoohead

    Correct response. unless he is the religious police he is there to uphold the law of the land not Biblical

  • http://averyjarhman.tumblr.com AveryJarhman

    *“While I respect Mr. Hamilton’s religious views, I am also charged to respect every citizen’s rights, and the best way forward for the citizens of Indiana, and for Mr. Hamilton, was to end his employment as a state police officer,” also said Superintendent Douglas Carter in a statement.*

    Sharing beliefs in supernatural beings with the public?

    I too would feel very uncomfortable being detained by a person whose mind is infected by a human ignorance called “Religion.”

    Peace.

    • mastaofdisasta

      I think your fedora’s on a little too tight.

  • Bezukhov

    I wonder if, after asking the motorist “Are you saved?” the answer was “Yes”, did this cop knock a few miles off of that speeding ticket? If the response was “No, get lost!” did he add a few?

  • Lane Jane

    He clearly has a heart for the Lord and that heart was in the right place. I thank the officer for caring about the law and souls. But what he did was still wrong. He was being paid to provide a service to the community and evangelizing is not that service. As a police officer, he obviously used his platform of authority to preach to people but that is not how it should be done. It would have been better for him to hand out pamphlets after hours on his own time at the mall if that is what he wanted to do. Nevertheless, I hope and know God will bless him for his dedication to spreading the truth.