A policeman lifted a sheet covering the just-dead body of singing legend Whitney Houston and made "inappropriate" comments including saying "Damn, she's still looking good, huh?" another officer claims.
This behavior is appalling to say the least. But not at all surprising.
Beverly Hills Detective Sergeant Terry Nutall had "no legitimate" reason for the action or remarks, made at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11 last year, after she had been found dead in a bath, said a legal document filed by the fellow cop, published this week.
In the legal claim, published by the Los Angeles Times, fellow officer Sergeant Brian Weir alleges that he was stripped of various privileges when he raised the alleged misconduct with superiors.
This explained why the Sergeant waited so long to come forward. He has become disgruntled. I would have never com forward otherwise. His revelation is based on revenge, and not a guilty conscience.
According to the legal claim,
"Nutall, for no legitimate (reason) knelt beside and leaned over the decedent (and) removed the sheet and/or other covering from the body of the decedent to an area below the pubic region of the decedent's body," it said.
He then "came in close proximity to touching the body .. while making inappropriate comments to the effect .. that the decedent 'looked attractive for a woman of her age and current state' and 'Damn, she's still looking good, huh?'"
"Nutall... treated the dead body of the decedent in a way that Nutall knew would outrage ordinary family sensibilities," he alleged in the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles on September 11.
Weir said he responded to the Beverly Hilton Hotel where Houston was due to attend a traditional pre-Grammys party that Saturday evening as the senior patrol sergeant on duty at the time.
Afterwards, he raised the alleged misconduct with superiors, but claims that the city of Beverly Hills and its Police Department "retaliated" by removing him from duty with SWAT and K-9 units, cutting overtime pay, withdrawing certain privileges and harassing him.
Weir "has sustained and will continue to sustain economic and non-economic damages. including emotional distress and damage to claimant's reputation, and other injury, damage, loss, or harm," said the lawsuit.
Beverly Hills Police spokesman Lincoln Hoshino said there was no "retaliation" against Weir over the claim, which he said the department knew about.
He added that Nutall had been entitled to look at the body.
"The responding detective sergeant in question was working in the city of Beverly Hills on another assignment, and he did properly and appropriately respond to the scene," he told the local media
"It is appropriate for a responding detective sergeant to briefly examine the body upon arriving to a scene like that."
And he added: "At this time we're not aware of any inappropriate behavior or inappropriate comments."
I am certain of two things. The accusations are absolutely on point, and the Police Department knew about it. This behavior is typical. Extreme Police misconduct and insensitivity, and a department that not only hides it but won't even acknowledge it.