Cop splits from SLCPD over accusations he refused to work Pride parade

SALT LAKE CITY — A police officer has “separated from the department” over accusations he refused to work in the Utah Pride Parade, according to his lawyer.

The officer’s attorney, Bret Rawson, told FOX 13 that his client worked on the motorcycle squadron for the Salt Lake City Police Department and was uncomfortable with his role at the pride parade.

Rawson said the officer has “conservative, religious beliefs” and felt that riding with the motorycle squad would be seen as “advocating in favor of the LGBTQ community, a position which made him uncomfortable given his personal and religious beliefs.”

Rawson claims the officer had managed to trade roles with another officer, when department administration intervened and put him on suspension.

“He never flatly refused to do his job in that motorcade,” Rawson said in an interview with FOX 13. “Instead of being given that opportunity, he was ridiculed in the press by allegations of bigotry and more.”

On Friday, the officer was put on paid administrative leave after he reportedly refused an assignment during this past weekend’s Utah Pride Festival.

Art Raymond, spokesman for the mayor’s office, said the officer is still on suspension and the investigation is ongoing. Neither Salt Lake City police nor the city attorney would comment. Rawson said his client had “separated from the department,” meaning he was not anticipating returning to work.

Steven Ha, executive director of Utah Pride thinks putting the officer on leave was appropriate.

“It does give our community and I’m sure many other communities or individuals who are different, some comfort that we have a police administration that handles these things appropriately and they don’t take it lightly,” Ha said.

Ha believes the officer’s actions were wrong for not being willing to participate in the parade.

“I think that gives an appearance that he was uncomfortable with associating with a group that has different beliefs from him and he wanted to create a distance from that group of people and that is wrong,” Ha said.

FOX 13 News will continue to follow this story as it develops.

Read the full statement from Nelson Jones PLLC Attorneys and Counselors at Law below:

This office represents the Salt Lake City police officer who has been accused of refusing to work at the recent Pride Days Celebration. In fact, the officer did not refuse his assignment. The officer has never refused an assignment. Whether the
allegations are the result of misinformation from the Salt Lake City Police Department or others, they are untrue, harmful and defamatory.

To be clear, the officer has never refused to work either traffic or patrol for the Pride Days Celebration or any other event in his seven year career with the City and he is deeply hurt by any reference to the contrary. This officer has had a distinguished career with law enforcement without a hint of prejudice toward or against any group based on
their religion, race or sexual orientation.

Some days ago, our client was asked to perform maneuvers in the front of the Pride parade in connection with his duties as a “motor” officer. The officer simply felt that the level of participation required in the event could be perceived as endorsing or advocating in favor of the LGBTQ community, a position which made him uncomfortable given his personal and religious beliefs. He therefore asked to trade with a senior motor officer which would allow our client to function as a security, patrol or traffic officer for the event rather than an active participant in the parade. Instead of being given that
opportunity, he was ridiculed in the press by allegations of bigotry and more.

The Salt Lake City Police Department then sought to comment, publicly, concerning the officer and his actions, and misrepresented his position. Consequently the officer separated from the department effective today, and has taken the position that he has been constructively terminated from the Salt Lake City Police Department.

34 comments

  • Melissa Lewis

    …and thank you Sim Gill, the SLCPD, and the media outlets who just flamed the whole thing up. If just ONE of you had thought to get all the facts and report them, then this would never have been an issue. The police department has probably lost a valuable resource because of this.

    • Trisha Davis

      I agree Melissa Lewis! I would like to congratulate this police officer for standing up for what he believes in. I feel bad that he had to loose his job over this. This officer just didn’t want to celebrate this event. The media made it sound like he would pick and choose the people he would help in an emergency situation.

    • Patriot

      I agree! SLC Police Department Administration, Mayor and Gill have their own agenda and is does not reflect the values of Utah and it’s citizens! Fearful that visitors will think Salt Lake City is Utah. Proud of the Officer who stood up for his values! Maybe some day he will be Chief!

      • Yeshua yenny

        He is by definition a bigot. You are probably the same people that are saying Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter for supposedly having a change of heart about being part of a war he supposedly didnt believe in. Of course, you are fine with that being tried in the court of public opinion, without the benefit of allowing him his day in court. Hypocrisy. So much fear and hate in those little sheepheads.

      • Bob

        I’m not quite sure what Bowe Bergdahl has to do with this story YESHUA YENNY. What we’re hearing is that he deserted his post, placed the lives of fellow soldiers at risk, and cost six (6) of them their lives. Is he your definition of a hero?
        Calling people “sheepheads” is something only a bigot would do. Are you a bigot Yeshus Yenny?

  • Dennis

    So the truth comes out, and this makes much more sense. What doesn’t make sense is why the SLCPD had a problem with the switch and chose to make a political issue of this? I hope we can put a stop to this practice of forcing people to embrace liberal social values or lose their jobs and face public scorn. The administrative officials at the SLCPD that chose this route did no favors for the department, this officer, or themselves. Hopefully the department will put policies in place to make sure that this vindictive attempt at political correctness doesn’t again. Looks to me like they might also be guilty of libel, and of bringing needless disgrace and liability upon the department. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the mayor’s office was also involved in this.

    • Biff

      And you are making all of these assumptions based upon a statement from the guy’s lawyer. Maybe wait until all the facts come out in the inevitable legal action before breaking out your jump to conclusions mat.

  • Al

    How can you be ‘ridiculed in the press by allegations of bigotry and more’ when your name is not published? He is just trying to sue the city.

  • Lou

    “Neither Salt Lake City police nor the city attorney would not comment.” So that means they WOULD comment. Where are their comments then? I hate news reports sometimes!

  • Gretchen

    Wow I think Salt Lake City leaked this story to distract from the deputy chief scandal. And how horrible of salt lake police to leak this story. This could of all been handled internally. I find the deputy chiefs actions of compromising photos of woman coworkers on his department phone worse than this Motor officers decision to not work the parade. When is someone going to address all salt lake police administration problems. Outrageous.

  • Finny Wiggen

    It is unfortunate that this is where we are as a society. There is no tolerance for any view points that don’t meet the approval of certain groups. It is disappointing that our city government took such a shallow and unfortunate stance!

      • Finny Wiggen

        This man was not expressing any religious bigotry. Nor do 99% of those who you accuse of such feelings. There are those who do, such as the westboro Baptists, but they are few and far between. Teaching that homosexuality is a sin, is not the same thing as being bigoted or hateful. Indeed, when you stop accusing those around you of hating you, and start listening to them, you will find that they are actually very nice people, willing to be your neighbor and friend.

      • Bob

        A bigot accuses others of being bigots? One person accuses others of having not tolerance but has none himself? Perhaps those living an alternate lifestyle should study the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi.

      • Bob

        Yes, RICH, you are absolutely correct. Eric Cartman throws rocks at others and then wonders why they show no tolerance for his attitude. It is referred to as the pot calling the kettle black.

      • Eric Cartman

        Bob, I don’t need tolerance from LDS Bigots… I sleep perfectly at night knowing that the hateful LDS Cult members were annoyed by someone who is tolerant of people outside their cult…

      • Bob

        I suspect that the “LDS Bigots” you reference aren’t losing any sleep over those who deviate from the norm set by Mother Nature, and the certainly agonizing over people trying to find happiness in an alternate relationship.

        To suggest that the men and women in law enforcement, like every other human being living on this planet, is taking naivety to it’s extreme limits. You’re not naive are you Eric?

  • C b

    SLPD and the media get yet another one wrong just to placate a group of deviants and power mongers from the socialist left. And another innocent person suffers unjustly to propagate a set of idealls that are being forced on society. Apparently they never learned from history the socialist left that controls this country with their figure head in obama almost perfectly mirror the events that led to Hitler.

    • Eric Cartman

      No, an office refused his assignment, and got punished accordingly. Utah is a work at will state, they don’t need a reason to fire you. In this case, he proved he was a bigot and SLC Police did not want to tolerate that in their ranks. Police cannot have judgment… Would he feel uncomfortable helping a g a y person? After these actions, you have to wonder…

      • Cartman

        Wow, look at you! Defending Utah’s liberal labor statutes!

        You’ll make a conservative yet. Just need a few billion more synapses to recover from all the bong resins clogging them up and you’ll be there.

        He did NOT refuse to work security at the parade. He merely refused to LEAD the parade and help the Chief put on his little political show. He was ordered to ENDORSE the parade, not protect it.

  • JOSEPH SMITH'S MAGIC UNDERWEAR

    Now we need to get the hateful LDS Bigots to accept boy lovers. Boys learn best from men. We are tired of being discriminated against.

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