A Beverly Hills police officer has been accused of inappropriate treatment of late singer Whitney Houston‘s corpse when he arrived at the scene of the troubled artist’s death. The officer has been accused of “mistreat[ing]” Houston’s body by a fellow BHPD officer who was the first to arrive at the scene.
Singer Houston was found dead of an accidental drowning in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on 11th February, 2012, by patrol sergeant Brian Weir. Arriving on the scene, Houston’s body had already been removed from the bathtub by her assistant and bodyguard, with Weir covering the body to “preserve the dignity of the remains” and to “prevent contamination or potential DNA and other potential evidence.”
Detective sergeant Terry Nutall was the second officer to arrive at the scene. In a formal complaint filed with the California labour department, Sergeant Weir alleges inappropriate behaviour from Det. Nutall, which included removing the sheet Weir placed over the body, making lewd comments, and “contaminating” the crime scene.
According to The Guardian, the report claims that Nutall “For no legitimate law enforcement…purpose, knelt beside and leaned over the decedent, removed the sheet…to an area below the pubic region…and came in close proximity to touching the body of the decedent while making inappropriate comments…that the decedent ‘looked attractive for a woman of her age and current state’, and ‘Damn, she’s still looking good, huh?'”
In addition to the inappropriate behaviour that Weir claims “treated the dead body…in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities,” Nutall engaged in police misconduct “mov[ing] the body of the decedent from the position of death without the permission of the coroner” thus “contaminating potential DNA” and “harming the integrity of the scene.”
According to Weir, complaints made to his superiors and to officials in the Beverly Hills government regarding Nutall’s conduct were ignored. Nutall was instead promoted to lieutenant, while BHPD members such as police chief David Snowden and captain Toby Lee allegedly subjected Weir to “retaliat[ion],” harassing and ostracising him, removing him from the prestigious SWAT at K-9 squads, and denying him promotions, training and overtime pay.
Weir is now seeking damages for the material and emotional impact sustained following the incident. Police spokesman Lincoln Hoshino has denied “any inappropriate behaviour” at the scene and rebuffed claims of “retaliation” aimed at Weir, saying “It is appropriate for a responding detective sergeant to briefly examine the body upon arriving to a scene like that. At this time we’re not aware of any…inappropriate comments.”
(Via The Guardian)