Louisville, Kentucky, is paying a police officer a $75,000 settlement after he was suspended for praying, while off duty, outside an abortion clinic as part of a protest campaign to end abortion, the Catholic News Agency reported.
Officer Matthew Schrenger, who was praying as part of a 40 Days for Life campaign against abortion, was suspended for more than four months with pay, stripped of his police powers, and placed under investigation, because he wore his full uniform while participating in "protest activity," which is against regulations.
Schrenger sued the city's mayor, police chief, and police department in a federal lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Society three months ago.
Schrenger's attorney, Matt Heffron, called the discipline against the 13-year police veteran, who is Catholic, "a significant and inexcusable violation of a loyal officer's Cconstitutional rights," adding that it "revealed undeniably content-based discrimination against officer Schrenger’s personal pro-life views and violated his First Amendment rights."
Heffron stressed that Schrenger "did not engage in any political protest on duty" and accused the police department of a double standard.
"The treatment of officer Schrenger was particularly galling considering other Louisville police officers previously had marched, while on-duty and in uniform, in political protests that apparently were approved by the police department," he said. "He was treated very differently than other officers who had undeniably engaged in true political protest and activism while participating in LGBT and Black Lives Matter demonstrations."
Open-records requests showed that those other officers faced no kind of discipline at all, according to the Thomas More Society.
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