The city of Louisville has agreed to pay a Kentucky police officer, Matt Schrenger, $75,000 to settle his lawsuit over the city’s violation of his constitutional and civil rights, according to a statement from officials with the Thomas More Society.
“The city’s quick offer of $75,000 shows the city knows it committed a significant and inexcusable violation of a loyal officer’s constitutional rights,” explained Counsel Matt Heffron.
The officer had sued city’s mayor, police chief, and police department for persecuting him over his off-duty pro-life prayer. The lawsuit was filed only a few months ago.
Schrenger, a 13-year Louisville police veteran and recipient of multiple commendations, stopped while off-duty early on a Saturday morning to pray quietly with his father on a public sidewalk in front of a closed abortion clinic, triggering a reaction from the city.
Officials immediately suspended him for four months with pay, and stripped of his police powers and placed under investigation.
Prayer Becomes An Issue
The prayer had become an issue because photographs were posted online by abortion promoters linked to the abortion business, the EMW Women’s Surgical Center.
“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,” Heffron explained.
“The unfair discipline revealed undeniably content-based discrimination against Officer Schrenger’s personal pro-life views and violated his First Amendment rights. He did not engage in any political protest on duty – he prayed quietly. Yet Officer Schrenger was punished for this peaceful, private behavior. 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.”
WND reported when the case was filed last October it charged that following his off-duty and private prayer, he reported for duty but within hours was relieved of his vehicle, locked out of his computers and removed from the schedule.
Later, the police agency admitted that not one of the claims against him could be sustained, but even so, it was still weeks later before his case was ended.
Defendants include Police Chief Erika Shields, the Louisville Metro Police Department, Mayor Greg Fischer, and the city of Louisville, Kentucky. It charges them with violations of the Free Exercise Clause and Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United State Constitution, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as Amended, and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.