A Louisville police officer who was suspended for four months for praying outside a Louisville abortion clinic in February is set to return to work.
On Feb. 20, the Louisville Metro Police Department officer, whose name was not released to the public, drove to the EMW Women’s Surgical Center and joined his father in prayer with the rosary outside the clinic. The officer’s lawyer said that the clinic was not performing abortions that day.
The Daily Wire reports that a picture of the officer showing him carrying his firearm near a police cruiser was posted to Twitter on an account ran by a volunteer at the clinic.
The officer’s attorney said that he was off-duty but wearing his uniform with a coat over it.
The Daily Wire reports:
In March, the abortion clinic released surveillance footage showing the officer pulling up in his cruiser just before 6 a.m., getting out and putting on a jacket, and remaining with another person outside the clinic for about 45 minutes, at one point holding a sign reading, “pray to end abortion.”
Shortly after he started his regular patrol duty that morning, the officer was ordered to return to his division’s office and was placed on administrative leave with pay, meaning he was prohibited from making arrests, working cases, or working overtime hours. During the months he was on administrative leave, the officer lost a substantial amount of pay, which he relies on to support his wife and four young children.
LMPD sent the officer notices of potential violations of LMPD’s Standard Operating Procedures, as well as a Kentucky law.
“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,” said the abortion clinic in a statement.
The officer was defended by the Thomas More Society, which sent LMPD a legal analysis of the allegations against him and asked that he be allowed to return to work. His attorneys also said they discovered through an open-records request to the LMPD that the department did not take any disciplinary action against other officers who were on duty and uniformed officers when they marched with Black Lives Matter protesters last summer, effectively highlighting a double standard at the department.
The officer who was punished for praying is said to have had a spotless record and even received several commendations for his service.