Indiana woman seeks to end suit against preaching ex-trooper

An Indiana woman who sued a now former state trooper, claiming he violated her civil rights by preaching to her during a traffic stop, wants to end her lawsuit.

A notice filed Tuesday in federal court asks a judge to dismiss Wendy Pyle's suit, which seeks a jury trial, punitive damages and attorney fees.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana's legal director, Ken Falk, said Wednesday that Pyle wants to end her lawsuit because "the case was resolved" to her satisfaction.

"We're moving on," Falk said, declining further comment.

Pyle sued Brian Hamilton in April, alleging that he violated her civil rights by asking her during a January traffic stop what church she attended and whether she was saved. She said Hamilton's preaching was upsetting and unreasonably prolonged the traffic stop, during which Hamilton gave Pyle a warning for speeding.

After Pyle filed a formal complaint with State Police on Jan. 14, the agency began an internal investigation and assigned Hamilton to administrative duties.

State Police Superintendent Doug Carter fired Hamilton for insubordination two days after Pyle's suit was filed, saying the 14-year department veteran had disobeyed a written order to not preach while on duty.

Hamilton was sued in 2014 following a similar traffic stop in which a Ripley County woman also accused him of violating her constitutional rights during a traffic stop. She said he gave her a church pamphlet and also advertised a radio broadcast, "Policing for Jesus Ministries."

On Aug. 29, 2014, Hamilton was given a written order saying that "in the course of his official duties … Hamilton will not question others regarding their religious beliefs nor provide religious pamphlets or similar advertisements."

That case was settled in April 2015.

Hamilton could not be immediately reached for comment. He has no telephone listing and Falk said the ex-trooper does not have an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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