Former SLC officer accused of refusing assignment in Pride parade speaks out

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SALT LAKE CITY — A former Salt Lake City police officer accused of refusing an assignment during the 2014 Gay Pride parade, released a statement detailing the events that led to his resignation from the police department last summer.

The officer believes his statement will be helpful as efforts are made in the Utah Legislature to balance individual religious freedoms and protections for the LGBTQ community.

The officer’s attorney, Bret Rawson, said his client will not release his name and does not plan to at this time.

The officer’s full statement here: Statement of officer

“However, the national debate surrounding the appropriate balance between individual religious freedoms in the workplace and the rights of members of the LGBTQ community in the workplace and in housing reaches Utah at time when lawmakers and policy-makers are engaged in negotiations with those who will be affected by this important legislation,” Rawson wrote in a statement.

Because of the officer’s personal experience, he hopes he can contribute to the dialogue in a meaningful way, Rawson indicated.

In June 2014, the officer was investigated for discrimination and put on paid-administrative leave after he requested to trade duties for the Utah Gay Pride parade.

The officer was a member of the Motor Squad that was to perform in the parade.

Rawson said the officer has “conservative, religious beliefs” and felt that riding with the motorcycle 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.

The officer later resigned.

The officer has continued a career in law enforcement and out of respect to his office, his agency and community, he requests to remain anonymous as long as possible, Rawson said.

Salt Lake City Police Department was contacted for a comment. They are currently reviewing the officer’s statement.

17 comments

  • miles (dave)

    i dont think the officers actions were unreasonable or nonprofessional (as far as i know). i dont know about law enforcement but i know in other jobs its not uncommon to trade duties or job sites with another person.

    whether his feelings were minimal like he was just uncomfortable and asked for the trade or if he hated the lgbt community with everything inside him, he still did the most professional thing possible by asking for the trade if he didnt feel he could handle the situation correctly.

    the only way this makes sense is if the officer had a history with asking for trades of duty much too often to the point where it becomes unreasonable, and would not stop.

  • Adam K Finch

    There is nothing new with this ‘added detail’, it all came out last June. The timing of this officer speaking out is totally political, to inflame people over the issue of religious discrimination. The example is hardly a good example (it was an internal employee/employer issue, not a public accommodations issue), it does nothing to add to the conversation and only was timed to inflame people.

  • Mimi

    I don’t blame him for resigning. What a crock of bull punishing him for that! He should sue the city. Unbelievable.

  • boom

    i’m glad he resigned, hope he lost his pension too. his job as a peace officer is to represent all citizens, not just the ones with lifestyles he agrees with. if you cant handle the job get the F out

    • EG

      Since when the hell is it the job of a police officer to be a cheerleader for the LGBT community? He refused to be IN the parade as a participant. He did NOT refuse to work security or traffic for the parade participants and observers. It seems all the intolerance is being aimed at anyone who doesn’t jump in and walk lock-step with the community as an overjoyed sycophant. Its their event, their opinions, their orientation. No one should be FORCED to participate, no one. Let them do their job of protecting, not performing.

  • Jessica

    I wonder if those who seem to oppose this officer so badly actually read his statement. It is obvious that he was willing to protect and serve the LGBT community. The fact that the SLCPD lied, well… That seems illegal to me. This officer’s religious beliefs were then brought up in the court of law. Also illegal and irrelevant. This seems like a perfect example of religious discrimination.

    • Suzanne

      I agree Jessica – Were you and I the only ones who actually read the officer’s statement. I love it when people start making comments and passing judgment before getting their facts straight.

Comments are closed.

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