SLC police officer on paid leave after refusing pride parade assignment

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SALT LAKE CITY – An officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department has been put on paid administrative leave after he reportedly refused an assignment to work during the weekend’s Utah Pride Festival Parade.

Police officials have not identified the officer or explained why he refused to work an assignment during Sunday’s parade, but they said it was for personal reasons and the incident has sparked an internal affairs investigation. Officers assigned to the parade generally help direct traffic and provide security, and it is likely the officer in question would have been involved in that capacity.

Steven Ha is the executive director of the Utah Pride Center, and he spoke about the officer’s decision.

"Clearly the officer's act was more than just smelling of bigotry, but I think the act was bigotry, choosing to not do a duty that is sworn by police officers to do,” Ha said.

Officials with Salt Lake City police said Chief Chris Burbank has ridden in previous pride parades and has been very involved with outreach to the LGBTQ community. Officials with the department said bigotry will not be tolerated.

"The vast majority of officers understand: When they put their badge on and come to work, they leave their personal beliefs at home, and we provide service to the community,” said Lara Jones, who is a spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Jones said the officer’s refusal is a concern for them.

"Officers are routinely assigned posts,” Jones said. “To have an officer object for, perhaps anything other than fitness for duty, physical fitness etc.,  would be problematic to a smooth-functioning police department."

Ha said the situation is a cause for concern.

"I think an individual in any community, of any race, would be concerned that an officer is not able to carry out the duty of that officer,” Ha said. “And so we need to look at reviewing police training and policies at the state level that passes down to the enforcement down to local police departments."


  • Melissa Lewis

    So, if the officer was Muslim, would he have been given the same treatment? Or Jewish? Just saying – seems that this only happens to those of Christian faith who stand up for their right to practice their religion. A Muslim or Jewish person would likely have also requested to be released from that duty, and no one would have said a word….

    • Trish Ramirez

      Oh, bull.
      Cops in this country aren’t supposed to get to choose who they protect and serve.
      What if the cop had been called in on a hate crime against someone in the LGBT community? Could you trust this officer to do an unbiased job and investigation if he is so hateful against members of that community that he can’t even patrol during Pride?
      This hatred has to stop.
      This isn’t about being a christian (although the article doesn’t even mention the faith of the officer in question, perhaps he is jewish or muslim, how do you know?), it’s about being a PUBLIC servant.
      He’s not a christian servant, he’s a public servant, he has a legal and ethical responsibility to deal with all members of society equitably. If he can’t manage to keep his hatred in check and do his job, he needs to find another line of work.

      • Bob

        Yes, Trish, the hatred has to stop. I nominate you to be the one to set the example, set and example, and turn the other cheek. No, Trish, not that one, the other one.

      • Cartman

        Trish without hate is like…..oh, I don’t know… without oxygen. Hate is her native element. She swims in it. Breathes it. Eats and drinks it. Secretes it. Wallows in it. Revels in it.

    • Perry Warren

      Melissa, do you know of some instance where a Muslim or a Jew were allowed to opt out of their jobs because of some religious belief or are you just fantasizing about a world where poor poor Christians are persecuted because they don’t want to serve and protect the PUBLIC that pays their salaries!
      You say it ‘seems’ to only happen to Christians? Really? Maybe it is because the only people who have been in the news because they refused to do their freaking jobs have been CHRISTIANS and not Muslims or Jews.
      Unless you have some proof of what you are suggesting then what is the purpose of your comment other than to whine about poor poor persecuted Christians.

    • Peace Love

      The article does not address the religion of the officer. The fact that you assume this is an attack on Christians shows the fact that you yourself see religion as a factor not that anyone else does. The issue is simply whether or not someone who is supposed to serve and protect has the choice to deny another human that service. I don’t know why the officer refused to serve and neither do you but the fact that you think it would be ok for any human being to deny police services to another human being for any reason is a problem. What if services were denied on the basis of religion? Would that allow police to choose not to come to your aid if they disagreed with you? We are supposed to live in a free society those freedoms are supposed to be protected by the police and if one doesn’t want to protect EVERYONE’S freedom one should choose another job. You have a right to say whatever you think and I have the same right but a police officer does not have the right to choose not to equally protect and serve all citizens.

      • Theminoritybeliever

        Many talk of bigotry and hate. But, like others mentioned why do we assume he was “a traditional christian.” Have a position that requires occasional emergency responses that sometimes fall on the sabbath (I am what some would call a messianic Jew since I am an old testiment following christian). Some of you may not realize it but Sunday was Pentecost which is a religious holyday. Could this have been a reason to decline the assignment? If it was then he would have been exercising his religious freedom. Traditional Christians are NOT the only ones persecuted, it is usually the ones in power or control who persecute the ones that believe differently.

    • Keith Patton

      NIce point. Of course the Muslim would be let off the hook. HR would be all over it and the police force would tuck its tail and put the officer of some other duty just to keep from offending his religious sensibilites sinc he is in essence a “minority”. As to the comments about “them” not being out to get you: tell it to the 9/11 victims or the thousands of christians murdered in Africa over their faith. I love it when ignorance breeds those kinds of comments. Historically, Islam has always been out to “get” everyone. It has always been spread by conquest. Read up about Dhimmi and how non-muslims or kafirs have to live. What is happening in Syria, and Egypt to the Christian minorities has been happening for hundreds of years. That is how the once Christian majority became the minority in what were once Christian Roman provinces. The Crusaders were not conquering anything, they were just reoccupying lands the Muslims had conquered from Christian Rome. The Muslim has never set a foot on land they they did not forever and always claim as thier own. Every bit of land in the US you see a mosque on will never be used for anything else, and will in the eyes of the Nation of Islam, be forever part of that “nation” and not part of the US.

      • JeezHchrist

        Where does the article state that the officers refusal was based on him being a Christian

  • Dave

    What happened to “Serve and Protect” now officers canchoose who to “Serve and Protect”? Fire Him

    • Keith Patton

      You people are living under the dillusion that cops are something more than tax collectors. When was the last time you interacted with a cop where you weren’t be written at ticket, which is nothing more than a tax. Cops are local tax collectors. They are crime scene clean up workers. They are always there after the crime, rarely before. They are always minutes way when seconds count. I don’t have much use for them because I don’t live in the inner city. The whole article points out what they are really used for. Think of it this way: If you live in said city, you just paid for the cops time so a bunch of homosexuals can parade round in your wife’s lingerie. Do you think your money was well spent? How many crimes do you think they stopped while baby sitting the parade?

  • Mike N SoJo

    What happened to not having to subject yourself to the perversion associated with homosexual parades. What are children even aloud to attend?

    • Perry Warren

      It’s a public parade held by members of the public. The same public that pays the taxes that pay the salaries that go to pay the salary of the policeman whose job it is to serve and protect the PUBLIC! There is nothing perverted about a parade unless there is something illegal going on and I assure you that nothing illegal was going on.
      My personal religious beliefs are ones of peace and non-violence so if I am a policeman and I am asked to work a parade that consists of bunches of men carrying rifles on their arm, then do I get to refuse to work that parade?
      If my religious beliefs dictate that women should not be seen in public without their husbands, do I then get to refuse to work a parade that has a bunch of married women parading down the street without their husbands.
      How many 1000s of scenarios could we talk about where this public servant might be offended by some members of a parade. If we allow one policeman to refuse to do his job because he is offended, then we will have to allow the Hindu policemen to refuse to work the parade because the Cattlemen’s association are parading a bunch of cows down the street which happen to be a sacred animal to a Hindu.
      If you accept a job with the city or state or even a private company and you refuse to do you job because of some random religious belief, then YOU SHOULD BE FIRED!!

      • Mike N SoJo

        The fact is homosexuals are Christian bigots and are intolerant of all others who don’t adobe their radical definition of marriage. Again, why is it that homosexual groups find it necessary to have help web sites for kids, this is just creepy. So you are saying there will not be any perversion at this parade? The last thing I want my kids to see is two guys in hot pants slobbering all over each other. Homosexuals are the intolerant group here and have no respect for Christian values.

      • Mike is a bigot

        Mike, just because you choose to believe in a false religion that has been proven wrong countless times does not mean that those of us who choose to rise above your beliefs should have to subject ourselves to the same miserable existence that you have chosen for yourself. Christian values have no place in our laws and your false beliefs do not dictate what others are allowed to do. Why do you assume that all gays are perverts? Nobody here has accused you of raping children in the name of God as you likely do. Oh, wait, those are good Christian values so it doesn’t count.

  • Sherri Watson

    Wow, so lets give him a paid vacation for ” Punishment “…….. What will they do next give him a promotion, like they do when they Kill someone.?????

  • Gregory Syroney

    Why would they put him on Paid Leave? If he refuses to do his duties he shouldn’t get paid for not doing his duties. He was sworn in to protect and serve his community. When sworn in you have to give your all to all the people in your community no make what their sexual orientation is. I for one am very offended that the officer was put on Paid Administration Leave.

  • Michael

    The article does not mention why he refused duty, so to assume it is because he is bigoted is the same as assuming he is christian.

  • Mike N SoJo

    Again, I would like to all of you who replied with hate, which proves my point. The radical nature of the comments show homosexuals choose to use tired ” Rules for Radical” tactics to try and shame someone they do not agree with. Unlike these people, I truly love everyone, but pray they seek forgiveness for their sins. It is sad you have decided to turn your back on your religion and have so much hatred for it.

    I can only hope the Christian bigots find love in their hearts instead of in some distant sexual fantasy

    Please try and protect the children being attracted to these homosexual “help” sites..

    • Eric Cartman

      What sins are they commitng? Also, it’s only a sin if you believe that fake religion… Christians are losing and they know it… Athiesism will rule and the hate will stop…

    • Mike N SoJo

      Another quality post by a Christan bigot. All of the intolerance by radical homosexuals here is frightening, “believe as I do or you will be attacked. The fact the parade organizers chose Sunday for the event tells you all you need to know.

      • Eric Cartman

        Sunday is only special to you “god” worshippers… How does it feel to be so simple you have to turn to a fiction book to run your life… I don’t need a “god” to tell me how to live…

    • Eric Cartman

      Debbie, it is no use arguing with a Christian simpleton… All they can do is spout hate from their fiction book that was written over 2000 years ago…

  • dave

    i would guess the officer didn’t want the job for religious or political reasons, which i can respect. however if i were in the same situation i believe i and the public would view the job as a opportunity to make sure the event was safe and everyone’s rights and privileges were exercised. i just don’t think anyone would see the officer and think that guy must support or not support the event.

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