The lawyer for the Beaumont, Texas, police officers who were told they could not conduct a Bible study during the lunch hour, says there is “No Deal” until officials at the City of Beaumont take sensitivity training.
A local media outlet reported that the City of Beaumont had backed down from their decision to not allow the police officers to hold their Bible Study; however, Briscoe Cain told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview that city officials must take “sensitivity training” before there is a deal. Moreover, any agreement will have to be reduced to writing.
Cain also told Breitbart Texas that there is no deal until the officers are allowed to hold their Bible study in the room at the police station where they formerly gathered. Cain was told that the officers could meet in the Police Chief’s office because he was not opposed to them conducting a study.
The police officers’ lawyer told Breitbart Texas, “The City hasn’t retreated – they are still imposing barriers on the officers’ inalienable rights.”
KFDM reported that Beaumont Councilman Michael Getz told the media outlet Friday night that the city had backed off the initial prohibition. The City had decided to allow the officers to resume the Bible study at the police station during their lunch period.
Councilman Getz was reported to say, “City Manager Kyle Hayes advised me that he had reviewed applicable case law and police officers will be allowed to continue to meet in the police department conference room if it’s available during their lunch hour and hold bible study.” Getz said the city manager informed Briscoe Cain, the attorney for the officers Friday afternoon.
Getz reportedly added, “City equipment, such as computers, shouldn’t be used to send out emails about a matter that is private and not public. But no one wants to infringe on civil liberties. We support our police and we want them to get all the prayers they can.”
Breitbart Texas reported Friday morning that Cain was filing a pre-suit notice letter saying the city was infringing on the officer’s religious rights. A copy of the legal notice letter was attached to the article. The officers and their lawyer held a press conference in front of the police department at noon later that same day.
The notice letter stated that the City of Beaumont has been prohibiting the officers from holding a voluntary Bible study twice-monthly during their lunchtime. It also said that doing so substantially burdens their free exercise of religion and violates the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TRFRA).
Cain asked in the notice letter to the city, “Has the City Manager or City Attorney not seen the multiple police departments that have the motto ‘In God We Trust’ prominently displayed on their patrol cars?” He pointed out that the Cleveland ISD and Childress Police Department patrol cars are examples.
Breitbart Texas reported that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an attorney general opinion finding that the national motto, “In God We Trust” may be displayed on patrol cars and that doing so is not a violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
Cain told Breitbart Texas before he filed the legal notice, “At a time when the lives of those who serve and protect us is under the microscope in a way we’ve never seen before, a City Manager and City Attorney have singled out our men and women in blue and demanded that they stop coming together to pray and read the Bible.” The officers’ lawyer added, “This is one of the most blatant attacks on Christianity and anti-police officer moves we have seen a city take. I’d expect something like this from California, but this is Texas.” He said, “The term ‘Pray for Police’ has taken on a new meaning.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2