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N.Y. Lt. sues to get gun, badge back

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A police lieutenant who once reported seeing a "demon" at police headquarters is suing to get his gun and shield back, claiming supervisors took them from him because of his religious practices.

Dominic Maglione, a desk officer at Brooklyn's 90th Precinct, says in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court that he is a Christian who worships at two Queens churches and prays and fasts regularly.

Maglione, 44, acknowledged in interviews with psychiatrists after he was admitted to a hospital 2 1/2 years ago that he was praying as much as 10 hours at a stretch and fasting twice a week, court papers say.

At the hospital, Maglione told a medical professional that he had seen a demon at police headquarters, according to a police board medical report dated Dec. 19, 2008, that was included with Maglione's court papers.

The report also says the lieutenant lost 40 pounds in six months by fasting, and urinated on himself because he refused to stop praying to go to the bathroom.

The medical board report said there are "significant psychological findings precluding the officer from performing the full duties of a New York City police officer."

"The Medical Board believes that the lieutenant cannot be allowed to be in possession of any weapons since he feels subject to God's will to do what God wants him to do even if he destroys himself," the report says.

The report also says Maglione was given the anti-psychotic drug olanzapine, usually prescribed for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It says he took it once and refused to take it again.

The 22-year police veteran says that because of his allegedly "excessive" religious beliefs, police officials have "wrongfully and illegally" confiscated his gun and badge and compromised his ability to do his job.

Maglione's lawsuit, filed Feb. 19, says that curtailing his duties because of his religious practices violates his First Amendment rights. He asked the court to order his return to full police work.

City Law Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Thomas said city attorneys are reviewing the lawsuit.

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