City Argues Whitney Houston-Centered Lawsuit Brought by BHPD Sergeant Should Be Dismissed

The officer alleged he was harassed and denied promotions for reporting a colleague who made inappropriate comments about the singer's body at the scene of her death.

Whitney Houston. Patch file photo.
Whitney Houston. Patch file photo.

A lawsuit by a Beverly Hills police sergeant who sued the city alleging he was harassed and denied promotions for reporting a colleague who made inappropriate comments about Whitney Houston's body at the scene of her death should be dismissed, an attorney for the city says in new court papers.

Attorney Catherine Evans maintains in court papers filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court that Sgt. Brian Weir cannot prove claim he was retaliated against for reporting a supervisor's violation of the law because "there was no law even possibly violated by the conduct."

The 48-year-old singer was found submerged in a bathtub in her room at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 11, 2012 -- just before the Grammy Awards. The coroner's office concluded she drowned accidentally, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.

Weir's lawsuit, filed March 10, alleges that Detective Sgt. Terry Nutall knelt beside and leaned over Houston, removed the sheet covering her body and said, "Damn, she's still looking good, huh?"

Nutall also made comments "to the effect and substance that (Houston) looked attractive for a woman her age and current state," the lawsuit states.

Nutall's alleged actions violated state or federal statutes that forbid disturbing or moving the body of a decedent without permission of the coroner and also presented potential DNA contamination issues, the lawsuit states.

In addition, Nutall "treated the dead body of the decedent in a way that Nutall knew would outrage ordinary family sensibilities," according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that, after Weir came forward with his complaints about Nutall's alleged conduct, he was removed from his positions with the SWAT and K-9 teams, removed from supervisory positions and denied promotions.

Weir also lost overtime opportunities, was denied training and was ostracized and harassed within the department, the suit states. Along with damages, Weir is asking to be restored to his SWAT and K-9 positions, which are considered "coveted" positions with the BHPD, the suit states.

But according to Evans' court papers, Weir's lawyers do not identify what laws Nutall allegedly violated. The complaint also does not state to whom Weir complained, according to Evans' court papers.

"The allegation of retaliation is nothing but smoke and mirrors," Evans' court papers state.

The lawsuit also does not state which employment positions Weir sought or how he was allegedly harassed and ostracized, according to Evans' court papers.

A hearing on the city's motion to dismiss Weir's complaint is scheduled June 16.

Nutall has since been promoted to lieutenant, Weir's suit states.

--City News Service


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