The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department reportedly suspended one of its cops for praying outside a closed abortion clinic last February.
CBN News said the unnamed police officer was off-duty and was not in uniform when he went in front of the deserted street of EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, Kentucky to pray with his father for thirty minutes on a Saturday morning. He went to work afterwards and was just starting his regular patrol when he was called back to the office.
Upon return to the division office, he learned he was suspended from work for praying in front of the abortion clinic. He was placed under investigation while with pay on administrative leave. In particular, he was accused of violating a Kentucky statute and the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Standard Operating Procedure despite having a prior clan record and serving for 13 years as a veteran.
"None of the officer's off-duty prayer was covered by the LMPD allegations, and any formal punishment, under these circumstances, would violate his First Amendment rights," pointed out Matt Heffron, the suspended cop's lawyer from the Thomas More Society.
The Thomas More Society, whose main advocacy is the sanctity of life and religious liberty, was established in 1997. It also fights for Judeo-Christian family values and against government over-reach of powers on the First Amendment rights of a person.
"The facts have been undisputed from the start - the whole event was captured on the abortion clinic's security video. It showed two men, nondescriptly dressed, walking quietly back and forth as they said the rosary. The abortion clinic was closed and the street in front of it was practically deserted," Heffron continued.
"It was quickly clear to our lawyers, LMPD did not have a foot to stand on. It's too bad it took LMPD four months to figure it out," he stressed.
Heffron explained in an interview with CBN News that the Thomas More Society requested from the LMPD all the records they could get on the police officer's case and the reason for suspending him despite being off-duty. Heffron also highlighted the fact that it was "shocking" for the police department to give disciplinary action to "a hardworking, loyal officer this way."
He said the LMPD left the officer "twisting in the wind for four months because of off-duty prayer."
The Thomas More Society narrated in its website that they sent the LMPD last March a "detailed analysis of applicable provisions of the collective bargaining agreement" in response to the potential violations raised against the officer. The said analysis icluded a request that the "matter be resolved quickly and that the officer be allowed to return to work."
Indeed after four months, the Thomas More Society revealed on Thursday that the LMPD will "not formally discipline" the police officer "for quietly praying the rosary" in front of the EMW Women's Surgical Center. The police officer's suspension has been lifted and he is now back to work as usual.
CBN News said the real reason for the officer's actual suspension was not clearly provided by the police department and they have asked the LMPD for their side on the matter but have not received word yet as of date.