Police Officer Wins Settlement After City Suspended Him for Praying Outside Abortion Center

State   |   Tom Ciesielka   |   Jan 27, 2022   |   5:58PM   |   Louisville, Kentucky

The City of Louisville has paid a Kentucky police officer $75,000 to quickly settle his lawsuit over Louisville’s violation of his constitutional and civil rights. Officer Matt Schrenger sued the city’s mayor, police chief, and police department for persecuting him over his off-duty pro-life prayer. The Thomas More Society, with Louisville attorney, Blaine Blood, filed the federal lawsuit in October 2021, against the City of Louisville and the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Matt Heffron explained, “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.”

Officer Schrenger is a 13-year Louisville police veteran and recipient of multiple commendations. While off-duty early on a Saturday morning, he stopped to pray quietly with his father on a public sidewalk in front of a closed abortion clinic. For that, he was immediately suspended for over four months (with pay), stripped of his police powers, and placed under investigation.

Schrenger’s private prayer drew widely publicized and politicized scrutiny after photos levying accusations at him were posted to a Twitter account run by abortion promoters affiliated with the abortion clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center.

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“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,” noted Heffron,.

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

Open-records requests revealed that these other officers suffered no suspension, and, in fact, no discipline whatsoever.