Show me where upholding your sworn duty includes participating in a gay pride parade?
Eric Moutsos doesn’t believe he should have to leave his personal convictions at home when he walks out the door to go to work — particularly his religious beliefs.
But his former boss, Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank, says when an officer shows up to work for his department, that officer is expected to do their job. And if there is any hint that any personal biases may get in the way of doing their assigned duties, then that’s a problem.
Moutsos was placed on leave in June after allegedly trying to switch assignments to avoid participating in the city’s gay pride parade. He resigned from the force after his suspension became public.
On Monday, Moutsos issued a six-page statement about that experience, the first time the former Salt Lake police officer has told his side of the story.
In light of current debate on Utah’s Capitol Hill concerning legislation to balance anti-discrimination with religious freedoms, Moutsos said he felt now was an important time to speak out.
At first, he wanted to remain anonymous. But after the KSL independently verified his identity, Moutsos agreed to an interview with his name being used.
By stepping forward, Moutsos hopes all sides can agree to come together, even if they don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue.[…]
In June of 2014, the Salt Lake City Motor Squad Unit was asked to participate in the Utah Pride Parade in Salt Lake City, which included performing choreographed maneuvers on motorcycles.
Moutsos, a member of the unit, was told to participate. But because of his personal beliefs, he said he felt uncomfortable doing so.
Moutsos said he had no problem performing his duty to protect and serve. The officer had previously provided security as same-sex couples flocked to the Salt Lake City-County Building to be married following a federal court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.[…[
Two days after being placed on administrative leave, Moutsos’ story became worldwide news. Moutsos said he was immediately branded a “bigot” and knew he would no longer be able to work in Salt Lake City. He resigned from the department a short time later.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t think anyone would touch me,” he said.
Since then, Moutsos has been hired by another Utah law enforcement agency. But he said the past six to seven months have been a “battle.