A new report shows that a Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Matthew Schrenger is suing the town’s mayor, police chief, and police department for persecuting him over his off-duty prayer at an abortion facility. He contends the action violated his constitutional and civil rights.
Life News reports:
“A quiet, off-duty prayer, on a public sidewalk, resulted in Officer Matt Schrenger being immediately suspended for over four months, stripped of his police powers, and placed under investigation,” explained Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Matt Heffron. “No one should be treated the way the Louisville police chief and city government treated one of their finest, but it’s particularly awful because they punished him for praying, of all things…and while off duty, no less.”
Early on a Saturday morning, February 20, 2021, at approximately 6 a.m., well before sunrise, Officer Schrenger of the Louisville Metro Police Department joined his father for private prayer on a public sidewalk. Schrenger was not on duty at the time of the prayer. The sidewalk was located outside of an abortion facility, the EMW Women’s Surgical Center.
Later that morning, Schrenger reported for his police shift. That same day, Schrenger was locked out from his work computers, relieved of his police vehicle, and removed from the patrol schedule. Schrenger was suspended and he was stripped of his police powers, pending investigation of his off-duty prayer.
Schrenger was wrongly accused of violating Louisville Metro Police Department Standard Operating Procedures and Kentucky law. By way of a letter dated June 15, 2021, LMPD Chief Shields admitted that none of the allegations against Officer Schrenger could be sustained. Even after that letter, Schenger’s police powers inexplicably were not restored until June 29, 2021. Even though the facts of the incident were not in dispute, it took the police department more than four months, plus a week, to make its decision after the off-duty prayer incident.
“It is astounding to those of us defending him – shocking actually — that the police department would treat a loyal, hard-working officer this way,” said Heffron.
Heffron added, “It’s particularly interesting that while Officer Schrenger did not engage in any political protest on duty and did not display his uniform, he was treated very differently than other similarly situated Louisville Metro Police Department officers who had undeniably engaged in true political protest and activism.”