BY BRADY MCCOMBS
SALT LAKE CITY -- The attorney for a Salt Lake City police officer who was placed on leave for refusing an assignment to work a gay pride parade last weekend said Monday that his client has been defamed by inaccurate comments made by the police department.
Attorney Bret Rawson said the officer didn't refuse to work the parade, but asked to be taken off the motor team that leads the parade and reassigned to behind-the-scenes duty. Rawson declined to divulge the officer's name. Salt Lake City police have not named him either.
The officer felt being on the motorcycle would make it appear he was advocating for gay pride, something that made him uncomfortable because of his personal and religious beliefs, he said. He never flatly said he wouldn't work the parade, merely asking for a different duty, Rawson said.
"You are essentially participating in the actual parade," Rawson said. "It's more than doing traffic, or patrol or regular police duties."
Salt Lake City police said last week that the officer was placed on leave for refusing to provide traffic control and security for the annual Utah Pride Parade.