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Washington Trooper Fired for Trying to Stop Abortion

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Washington state trooper who gained national attention when he stopped a young couple on their way to an abortion clinic and tried to persuade them not to go through with the procedure has been fired for the incident.

An internal investigation by the Washington State Patrol found that Lane W. Jackstadt, a 12-year veteran, had violated the agency’s code of ethics and engaged in “unbecoming conduct” during the incident last year, according to spokesman Ron O’Gwin.

The 34-year-old trooper had been on administrative leave. He has 10 days to appeal the decision.

Jackstadt had stopped a car driven by 20-year-old Justin Cooper for speeding on a Seattle-area freeway. Cooper and Deanna Thomas, 18, were lost on their way to a Planned Parenthood office for a pre-abortion procedure.

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According to the couple, when Jackstadt learned the reason for their trip, he lectured them about abortion alternatives, then coerced them to follow him to his church’s anti-abortion counseling center. The couple arrived at their appointment hours later and Thomas had the abortion the next day.

In May, Jackstadt was tried on criminal charges of unlawful imprisonment, but a jury could not reach a verdict. He was fired by the patrol for an unrelated matter last year, but was reinstated after 30 days.

Thomas Olmstead, Jackstadt’s attorney, predicted that his client would fight the patrol’s decision to terminate. “It has been his lifelong dream to be a Washington State patrolman. He loves it and he’s going to stick it out.”


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