But the central issue in the entire episode appears to be a fabrication by police officials over the reason the unidentified officer was suspended from the department in the first place. While the department said that the officer refused to work the June 7 Utah Pride Parade, his attorney insists that his client simply requested to be re-assigned to another duty at the event so that he would not have to be directly involved in the offensive homosexual spectacle.
According to attorney Bret Rawson, his client “did not — as initially indicated by SLCPD officials — refuse the assignment, and would have ridden in the parade had he been ordered to do so,” reported the Salt Lake Tribune.
Rawson said the officer “was surprised that he was placed on administrative leave — a disciplinary action against him — and he feels this was a violation of his rights.” The attorney explained that, contrary to the spin of the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD), the officer never refused the assignment, which according to the Tribune, would have required him “to join other motorcycle officers in choreographed maneuvers at the beginning of the parade.” Instead, he requested that his commanders give him a “less conspicuous” role at the event, which could have included traffic enforcement or security.
“The officer simply felt that the level of participation required in the event could be perceived as endorsing or advocating in favor of the [homosexual] community, a position which made him uncomfortable, given his personal and religious beliefs,” Rawson said. He emphasized that the policeman “never refused to do his job. He specified that if he was required to do [the motorcycle assignment], he would do that. So he was very surprised that he was put on administrative leave.”
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Photo of people carrying flag during Salt Lake City "gay pride" parade: AP Images