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Officer placed on leave for refusing Utah Pride Parade assignment

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  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2014 7:22 p.m.

    "If HE does not have the freedom of conscience to refuse to participate in the Pride Parade, then I don't have the freedom to march in it. "

    Lilly, you are missing a main component in your assessment. The police officer is on the clock. You aren't. You have the freedom to choose to go, or not to go, just like the police officer does, as long as neither of you are on the clock.

    When the police officer is on the clock he or she has to do the assignments given him or her.

    "All Police Officers should be offered and opportunity to chose another assignment, as long as it is not punitive, disruptive or unduly hard on the rest of the Department."

    No. For the most part a person does not get to pick and choose what they want to do. You are given an assignment you do it. Even if you don't particularly care for it.

    ------

    Sven, I don't think anybody missed you.

  • 21MOM Keaau, HI
    June 8, 2014 4:42 p.m.

    Stormwalker, you say, "He may disapprove – that does not give him the right to treat citizens badly."
    What am I missing? How is the officer in question treating anyone badly?
    Is he not just exercising his own rights of conscience in opting out. How is this hurting anyone? Do we not all wish for the same rights and freedom to think and believe as we choose?
    It's simple "My rights end where your nose begins" and vice versa!
    You and I both deserve the freedom to think and choose whatever we want as long as it is not infringing on yours/mine/others rights to the same.
    Do you object?

  • JGC WVC, UT
    June 7, 2014 10:05 p.m.

    So, I have read a lot of the comments with regards to whether or not the officer was being asked to be in the parade, or doing traffic control. Regardless, this officer is stating that he would not be the best candidate for the job, and for them to seek another officer who would be more willing. From a security stand point the event is in better hands with those who are more willing to be there, then those who are being forced to be there.
    Yes officers have their "beat" that they have to patrol, these are normal assignments that they are expected to work on a daily bases. This event, as well as any other event say the 47th parade, which is a State Holiday, and your government officials get paid time off for anyways.
    So what the system should do is allow those who are willing to stand up and say that they will take care of the event, and if there is not enough officers to cover, which I'm sure there will be plenty more then willing.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    June 7, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    Can anyone blame this officer? I don't. Gay Pride events like the one in SLC tomorrow are truly disgusting spectacles. Doubt me? Take a look at some their parades and the clothing (or lack thereof) that they wear. These Gay Pride events are meant for one purpose, and one purpose only...to shock people!

    I will be nowhere near SLC tomorrow to witness this circus event.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 7, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    The officer in question, according to the article, refused to perform traffic/safety duty based on his bigotry. In doing so, he refused to protect and serve ALL of the citizens in the jurisdiction he purports to serve. He got off too easily.

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    June 7, 2014 3:50 p.m.

    He should NOT be fired. All Police Officers should be offered and opportunity to chose another assignment, as long as it is not punitive, disruptive or unduly hard on the rest of the Department. Why does this Gay, Married, Mormon, Progressive, Raging Liberal defend this man? It's about Equality and Freedom. If HE does not have the freedom of conscience to refuse to participate in the Pride Parade, then I don't have the freedom to march in it. Remember please, that it was not that long ago that the discrimination against me as a Mormon, and the discrimination against me as a Gay Man, was readily accepted. Are we forgetting that wonderful adage...."I defend to the death your right to advocate that which I vow to oppose." That's how Freedom of Conscience works, and it CUTS BOTH WAYS. This nation must be safe for both he and I, to follow our beliefs, as long as he doesn't curtail mine, and I do not curtail his. It just may be that this Police Officer has more defenders in the LGBT Community, than any other. We Get it.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    June 7, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    Shaun said:

    "If he has issues with assignments then he should quit. I am sure there are situations in every job that everyone deals with that they would rather not be a part of. You either do them as asked, as long as it is legal or you move on."

    ======

    Kind of like the way the homosexual community should've "moved on" from the Boy Scouts of America if they didn't like the requirements they had for joining.

    The hypocrisy from the Left is glaring!

  • PLM Kaysville, UT
    June 7, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    Let's see. It's a Mormon state and the parade is happening on a Sunday, so the officer is a bigot? He probably just wanted to go to church with his family.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    June 7, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    @lost in DC. Do you have 1st amendment rights on a job? No. What about a waiter who refuse to serve alcohol? Is the employer violating their first amendment rights by making them do so?

    As far a nurse who refuses to assist in an abortion, it is legal, and they have a right not to assist but the employer also has a right to fire them.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    June 7, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    @lost in DC: "You have hit the nail on the head, why the gay movement is so dangerous. It totally disregards 1st amendments religious rights. No, it doesn’t disregard them, it wants them nullified and thrown out."

    Within my lifetime it was considered a religious right to be able to discriminate against people based on skin color. Religious leaders preached that God separated the races for a reason and any type of race mixing was a sin. "Segregation" and "separate but equal" were considered to be a religious position and we're defended is such in many cases. Both the legislatures, and the courts, and did that as a legal defense.

    The problem with religion is that some followers want to be able to treat other people badly because "God said…" We are a constitutional republic with the rule of law. Not a theocracy. Requiring a police officer to do traffic duty, or to do outreach to a group of citizens, is part of the job. He may disapprove – that does not give him the right to treat citizens badly.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    @ChesserMesser
    "Any activity that is based on sexual orientation is silly."

    Weddings? Valentine's Day? Dating? Or does it only count when it's gay people?

  • K Mchenry, IL
    June 7, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    No, he was not given a traffic and safety assignment at the parade. He was was given a desk job in traffic and safety for his paid leave after refusing the assignment at the parade. The assignment for the parade hadn't been publicized.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Nope, truth, I wouldn't have a problem at all if the security guard refused to guard the CEO. And I wouldn't complain when the security company he worked for fired him. On the spot.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    Would anyone be complaining if a gay security guard refused to work as security for the CEO of Mozilla who had made a donation to prop 8?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 7, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Sasha Pavech,
    You have hit the nail on the head, why the gay movement is so dangerous. It totally disregards 1st amendments religious rights. No, it doesn’t disregard them, it wants them nullified and thrown out.

    Bigotry IS alive and well, and fostered by the police department’s treatment of this officer and the gay movement that HATES religious liberties.

    Shaun,
    so if a nurse has problems with abortion he/she should just find another line of work? Thanks for proving my first paragraph.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    June 7, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    While the whole story is never fully reported, every source I can find says the officer was assigned public safety duties.

    However, even if the officer was directed to be an official department presence in the official police "float" or car, or was directed to staff a recruitment or community relations booth, refusal is still a problem.

    Those positions are not about the individual's identity - they are about an official presence reaching out to a community that has, historically, been treated very badly by law enforcement.

    If the refusal was about being part of official outreach, as a professional, it is very problematic. It means the officer believes that he (or she) is not able to work with colleagues or citizens who are gay. If that is the case, time to stop being a cop. Personal religion is not a reason to mistreat others.

  • Chessermesser West Valley City, UT
    June 7, 2014 7:12 a.m.

    Any activity that is based on sexual orientation is silly.

  • Jeff Harris Edmonds, WA
    June 7, 2014 6:34 a.m.

    This Deseret News article clearly reports that the officer refused to take a traffic control and public safety assignment.

    "The officer is on paid administrative leave as the internal affairs unit reviews the situation, Jones said. He had been given a traffic control and public safety assignment."

    1. He was NOT assigned to march in the parade.

    2. He was NOT asked to occupy a recruiting booth.

    The city cannot depend on a policeman who refuses to take a public safety assignment. It would be better for everyone involved if he found another line of work.

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    June 7, 2014 5:58 a.m.

    In case anyone forgot SLC has a non-discrimination ordinance which the LDS Church supported and Law Enforcement (and typically other First Responders) are sworn to protect and serve all in their jurisdiction - not just a selective few.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    June 7, 2014 5:56 a.m.

    If he was assigned to march that would be wrong to make him. And also silly. People marching should be their own idea. Marching means you are connected to the cause in some way in the minds of too many people. There are people marching already. If they need people to participate so badly maybe they don't have enough people to put the parade on? I'm sure there are plenty of people signed up.

    Working the parade is an entirely different matter. But the way the story was written it does sound like marching was the assignment.

  • Thunder Orem, UT
    June 7, 2014 3:55 a.m.

    Both the Tribune and DN articles seem to be incomplete on details for this developing story. It will be interesting to see what additional details come out in the future. The Tribune article mentions that larger events like the Days of 47 Parade and SLC Marathon allow officers to sign up for duties of their choosing prior to designating assignments, but the Pride Parade doesn't have such an option as a smaller event. That seems odd to me. I would think the larger events would be more subject to assignments not of one's choosing due to the larger presence needed. I would think the smaller events would be available for those most interested in the event to take the fewer coveted spots, with sufficient interest to avoid unwanted assignments. I feel like there is a large difference between a patrol assignment and a representative marching on the parade route. The patrolling of a public event is a necessary service, the marching in the parade doesn't seem as vital service to the community. I don't feel it is fair to expect all personal opinions, beliefs, and independent thought to be suppressed in public service.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    June 7, 2014 3:44 a.m.

    People have a misconception of the protect and serve signs on police cars, their primary duty is peace officers and civil order to protect the public from atrocious acts of human indignation violating bill of rights which does not include personal gender disputes.

    Every officer has a right to refuse an order they find objectionable to humanitarian human rights. This pride parade debacles is one of intolerance and inhumane threat to other peoples rights and liberties.

    If only we had more officers willing to say no to inhumane atrocities then maybe Hitler would not have killed 9 million Jews by troops following orders. Police and soldiers have moral obligations that can exceed the corruption of his peers and leaders politically motivated. Standing his ground to an intolerable group threatening the peace and civil order of christian values is his duty in serving Utah. Protecting terrorist who break our laws for political party agendas is illegal use of law enforcement.

    Bigotry is a right of pride to be proud of who you are, its not something that only the homosexuals, minorities, or mexicans can have and is not an act of hate. Intolerance of special interest is offended by it.

  • Willem Los Angeles, CA
    June 7, 2014 3:33 a.m.

    This dude needs to be fired , homophobia like racism is not longer tolerated in our great country.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2014 12:23 a.m.

    "My family and I were at the Salt Lake Arts festival a few years ago and there were so many gay people there (many of whom were running around basically nude and flaunting their perversion to the point that it was disgusting)"

    That's amazing, Meckofahess, I go to the arts festival every year, and have for many many years, and I have never seen anything even close to what you are describing.

    "Nor is the police department divulging all the specifics of the case."

    Nagurski, care to tell us where you are getting your inside information?

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    June 7, 2014 12:16 a.m.

    Once again we see signs that this culture war is not going to end peacefully with both sides shaking hands and treating each other with respect. If you want tolerance you can't go around demanding the destruction of everyone who does not bow down to your demands.

    Maybe this guy needs to change jobs but he doesn't need to be publicly destroyed for his feelings. We need to ignore the extremists on both sides and find a peaceful place in the middle.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    June 6, 2014 10:49 p.m.

    It does say right in the article that the officer was assigned to traffic control and public safety.

    If he has issues with assignments then he should quit. I am sure there are situations in every job that everyone deals with that they would rather not be a part of. You either do them as asked, as long as it is legal or you move on.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2014 9:49 p.m.

    @Sasha Pachev

    You must be kidding? America do better than Sweden in protecting religious liberties? America has become corrupt and has lost much of it's moral compass. American used to be great because it was good, no longer. This police officer could have been given a different assignment if in fact he was asked to march in the parade in respect of his convictions. My family and I were at the Salt Lake Arts festival a few years ago and there were so many gay people there (many of whom were running around basically nude and flaunting their perversion to the point that it was disgusting). I wouldn't expect a gay police officer to be forced to march in a Catholic or Mormon parade if it was against their convictions to do so. An assignment to provide security at the event is a different story however.

  • Nagurski Pepin, WI
    June 6, 2014 9:05 p.m.

    Stormwalker, I know what the article "says" but the officer was not merely providing traffic control and public safety. He was asked to do something more than that that he or she didn't feel comfortable with. Providing safety and protection once again was not the issue. I recognize that people are commenting on only what information they have in the article but as in most cases the media does not have all the facts here. Nor is the police department divulging all the specifics of the case.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    June 6, 2014 8:55 p.m.

    The beginning of the article clearly said, "The officer is on paid administrative leave as the internal affairs unit reviews the situation, Jones said. He had been given a traffic control and public safety assignment."

    He was not marching. He was assigned to do traffic control and Public Safety.

    The article also described the police chief marching last year, and other members of the department marching this year. That was a statement that the department supports equal rights for all citizens, not just some.

    Representatives of the Police Department marching – or riding a police car or whatever – in a parade is about connection with citizens. Would everybody be defending a Baptist police officer who refused to provide security at the days of 47 parade? Or who had refused to march, as a representative of the Police Department, in that parade?

  • Nagurski Pepin, WI
    June 6, 2014 8:38 p.m.

    The issue for this officer was not providing protection for the parade but was being in the parade. Big difference.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2014 8:35 p.m.

    The third paragraph of the article includes this sentence: "He had been given a traffic control and public safety assignment."

    The officer was not asked to march in the pride parade or to work the recruitment booth at the festival. As with any sizable public festival in the city, officers are recruited to help manage traffic and general safety. The parade has 120 entries the streets downtown are going to be lined by tens of thousands of people.

    The details in the article about officers participating in the parade and festival were included to demonstrate the city police force is supportive of the gay community.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    June 6, 2014 8:14 p.m.

    When I worked for a Swedish company as a database server developer/support engineer they respected my right to not provide support for adult sites due to my religious convictions. I think America can do better than Sweden in terms of religious liberty.

  • 21MOM Keaau, HI
    June 6, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    Since we are not his judge or jury and do not have all the facts, I fully support a persons freedom to stand for his/her own convictions without prosecution as long as it does not infringe on any other individual's rights of freedom. The parade will go on without this officer and I'm sure he must have a day off coming that perhaps he could trade for the one he is taking during the parade.
    Why must we make a federal case about it just because he decided not to work during a Gay Parade? Would the same amount of people be 'belly-aching' if he refused to work during a Pioneer day parade?

  • Saintly Hampstead, MD
    June 6, 2014 6:39 p.m.

    For those who say he should be forced to march as a representative of the organizational support for an issue he is opposed to (NOT part of any civil servants's job description), please re-post, stating your support for Chick Fil-a forcing any of its gay employees to be in a campaign espousing its corporate support of traditional, opposite-sex marriage. A sincere and heartfelt oath to protect and to serve is NOT the same as saying I will support your lifestyle. Cops make the majority of their living risking their lives for people they are morally at odds with.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    June 6, 2014 5:47 p.m.

    After reading the story I don't know if the offending officer was assigned a "post" (the articles word, not mine) as part of a standard security detail or as a member of the parade. It makes a difference and the DN really should provide some clarity.

  • Samwise Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 6, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    I agree that the article is unclear as to whether he was asked to march in the parade or to provide security or some other service that the police offer to parades (such as blocking off the street). If he was asked to march, he should have the right to refuse to do so if he disagrees with the cause of the parade. If he was asked to provide security or some other service that is part of his job, he was way off base in not doing so. As a police officer he has the duty to serve and protect everybody in his jurisdiction as assigned by his superiors. Even those he doesn't agree with.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    June 6, 2014 5:31 p.m.

    The 2nd half of the article certainly suggests that this refusal was related to marching in the parade. I believe that marching in the parade and providing security for it are separate matters. If it was a security assignment, I believe there should be no room for refusal. If it's an assignment to march, I think there should be room for personal opinion.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    June 6, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    "Members of the Salt Lake City Police Department have marched in past Utah Pride parades, including Chief Chris Burbank who marched last year."

    The officer was being asked to march, not protect. It is obvious.

  • MoNoMo Fair Oaks, CA
    June 6, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    This "man" signed up to "Protect and Serve" ALL citizens.

    Can anyone on the force refuse to defend and protect the 47 parade as well?

    It makes me certainly wonder just how he deals with crimes against gay people.

    The poor thing is just too sensitive to deal with actual gay people?

  • benny02 slc, ut
    June 6, 2014 4:36 p.m.

    the guy should be fired...what if he refuses to help a minority or someone/something else he has an issue with....the guy needs to go

  • jo1952 Redmond, WA
    June 6, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    I applaud the officer for not wanting to be a part of this event. Gay pride parades have always been full of debauchery. They're obscene. The idea that a police officer must sign on to this marching grotesque display or they can't be a police officer, is a different type of obscenity. Maybe the SLC gay parade isn't as disgusting as other city's parades, I would hope not but I'm sure you'll be just as freaky as you want to be.

  • Northern Utahn Northern, UT
    June 6, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Are officers allowed to decline assignments on holidays, during religious events, etc? wbl2745 makes a great point, at what point does it become untenable for public SERVANTS to quit "serving" the people that are being forced to pay their salaries?

  • wbl2745 Provo, UT
    June 6, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    Reading the article, there didn't appear to be any indication that the officer was asked to march as a participant in the parade. Three of the deputy police chiefs were asked to do so, but I didn't see anything that said that the officer had to do anything else than his job, providing security for the parade.

    Personally, I think there is a strong case for firing the officer. What if he responded to a crime at the home of an LGBT couple? Would he refuse to assist? Would we tolerate an officer who for personal beliefs refused to assist a black family, a Jewish person, or a Muslim? Our police are tasked to protect and assist everyone and to enforce the law. There's nothing illegal about the LGBT parade.

  • Crusader Layton, UT
    June 6, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    How do you know that he was assigned to march in the parade?

  • Northern Utahn Northern, UT
    June 6, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    This story doesn't say that he was assigned to march in the parade. What makes you think that?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    June 6, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    This police officer wasn't assigned to protect citizens in the parade. He was assigned to march in the parade. I can fully understand why he wouldn't want to join in as a participant in the Gay Pride parade. The gay movement is turning our society upside down. He should no more be punished for this as for refusing to march in a Neo-Nazi parade. People have a right to live by their convictions.

    And for all you gay folks that will say this is bigotry: There's nothing hateful about just staying home.