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Pro-life cop wins settlement after being suspended for praying at abortion clinic

Image Source: YouTube screenshot

The city of Louisville, Kentucky agreed this week to pay a $75,000 settlement to a Louisville Metro Police Department officer who was suspended last year for praying outside an abortion clinic while off-duty.

What are the details?

Officer Matthew Schrenger filed a lawsuit last October claiming his constitutional and civil rights were violated when he was placed on paid administrative leave for over four months while the police department conducted an investigation into his actions.

"A quiet, off-duty prayer, on a public sidewalk, resulted in Schrenger being immediately suspended for over four months, stripped of his police powers, and placed under investigation," the 13-year police veteran's lawyers wrote in the complaint.

Several months prior, on Feb. 20, Schrenger was photographed in his police uniform while walking and praying quietly near the EMW Women’s Surgical Center prior to the start of his shift. The officer insisted he was not protesting, but EMW staff claimed he intimidated patients and medical staff with his uniform and gun, WAVE-TV reported.

Schrenger also claimed in the suit that Democratic Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Police Chief Erika Shields, and others "persecuted" him for praying for pro-life causes outside of work while other officers participated in LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter demonstrations without receiving any discipline at all.

The department ultimately lifted Schrenger's suspension in June, 2021 and reinstated him to active duty after Shields found that the policy preventing uniformed officers from engaging in political activities had been enforced sporadically.

What else?

But Schrenger alleged in the complaint that as a result of the suspension, he suffered humiliation, lost pay, and "lost much of his job satisfaction, due to LMPD’s purposeful mistreatment of him despite his many years of loyal and exemplary service."

In a press release, the Thomas More Society, the law firm representing Schrenger, celebrated the success of the lawsuit and suggested the city’s "quick offer" shows it "knows it committed a significant and inexcusable violation of a loyal officer’s constitutional rights.”

Senior counsel Matt Heffron added, "The treatment of Officer Schreger 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."

"The unfair discipline revealed undeniably content-based discrimination against Officer Schrenger’s personal pro-life views and violated his First Amendment rights," Heffron stated. "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."

Schrenger's lawsuit sought damages, attorney fees, as well as back and front pay.

City of Louisville settles with officer seen demonstrating outside EMW clinic www.youtube.com

(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

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