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