Traffic stops are tense and awkward enough as it is. But one Indiana cop just had to make them even worse.
Indiana State Police terminated a trooper Thursday after a second complaint in 18 months that he was preaching to citizens after stopping them for traffic violations.
State police say this was in direct violation of an August 2014 counseling statement where Senior Trooper Brian L. Hamilton, 40, was told 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…”
When Hamilton was asked about it, he said:
“Oh well… 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,” he said before disconnecting.
It’d be one thing if this guy was writing tickets and then sending people off with a “God bless you.” But he was asking them if they went to church and whether they were saved, and then giving them directions to his own church.
I gotta go with the ACLU on this one. He has the right to his religious beliefs, but he shouldn’t be doing that on the job. It’s an abuse of authority. If you’re being stopped by an armed officer of the law, you shouldn’t have to answer for anything except the infraction he says you’ve committed.
I sure wouldn’t want a Muslim cop to stop me and ask if I believe in Allah. A Christian cop shouldn’t be preaching in traffic either. If Mr. Hamilton wants to give sermons, he should go do that instead. Now he’s got an opportunity to start a second career.