An unnamed Louisville Metro Police officer will be allowed to return to work after being placed on paid leave for praying outside a Louisville abortion clinic in February.
The Kentucky officer, whose name has been withheld, ran afoul with the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) after being photographed and videotaped participating in a prayer session outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Center.
Though the clinic was not performing abortions on that day, the off-duty officer drove up to the clinic in a police cruiser. He was then seen walking over to join his father in a prayer vigil while wearing a partially covered police uniform. The officer was also carrying a service revolver.
At one point during the 45-minute prayer session, the officer held a sign reading, “pray to end abortion.”
Not long after the prayer vigil ended, the officer was told to return to the division office, where he was immediately disciplined. He was placed on administrative leave with pay and prohibited from making arrests, working on cases, or working overtime hours.
The demotion caused the officer to lose a substantial amount of pay, according to DailyWire.
The Thomas More Society, a national law firm specializing in religious freedom cases, intervened on behalf of the officer.
“They have implicitly punished him for praying,” Matt Heffron told the Daily Wire in an exclusive interview. “Why would you do that to a loyal officer who’s never had any discipline problems, [and] gotten several commendations?”
The abortion clinic said in a statement that “the officer engaged in political activity while in uniform and carrying his service weapon on a main thoroughfare in downtown Louisville. This conduct undermines public trust and confidence in LMPD and intimidates patients and care providers.”
However, it is not unusual or even considered unbecoming for police officers to appear at political events while in uniform.
NYPD officers, for instance, frequently appear in full uniform during Gay Pride and Muslim parades.
In Portland, Oregon, police officers were seen taking a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. That incident became just one of many where police officers were found kneeling to Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
The LMPD restored the unnamed officer to his full duties after a four-month investigation. The Louisville Metro Council’s Oversight and Audit Committee determined that policies regarding police attending political rallies while in uniform were not clear enough to justify prolonging the punishment.