Claim alleges cop gawked at Whitney Houston's naked corpse
The officer who reported the alleged misconduct was stripped of his duties with SWAT and K-9 units and harassed
By Matt Stevens
Los Angeles Times
BEVERLY HILLS — A Beverly Hills police sergeant responding to the scene of Whitney Houston's death made "inappropriate comments" about the singer's appearance after lifting a sheet covering her naked body, according to a claim filed by a former Beverly Hills SWAT sergeant.
In the claim, Sgt. Brian Weir alleges that on the day Houston died in February 2012, Det. Sgt. Terry Nutall arrived at the scene, and "for no legitimate law enforcement inquiry, investigative, or other proper and legal purpose ... removed the sheet and/or other covering from the body ... to an area below the pubic region." The claim also alleges he made comments to the effect that the former pop star "looked attractive for a woman of her age and current state" and "Damn, she's still looking good, huh?"
The 48-year-old singer was found submerged in a bathtub in her room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The Los Angeles County coroner's office determined that she died of accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.
Weir said in the claim that as the senior patrol sergeant on duty he responded to the death scene. After he complained to his superiors about the alleged misconduct, Weir alleged the city of Beverly Hills and its Police Department "retaliated" by removing him from his position with the SWAT and canine units, stripping him of some privileges and subjecting him to various forms of harassment.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said Tuesday that the department was aware of the claim but disputed "that there was any sort of retaliation" against Weir.
"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," Hoshino said. "It is appropriate for a responding detective sergeant to briefly examine the body upon arriving to a scene like that."
Hoshino added that the department would investigate Weir's allegation about the comments made by Nutall, but said, "At this time we're not aware of any inappropriate behavior or inappropriate comments."
Hoshino said the department stood behind the death investigation "100%" and there were no plans to reopen it.
Copyright 2013 the Los Angeles Times