Court: Cop's Rights Not Violated By Order to Appear at Mosque
Judge Andrew Napolitano gave us his expert legal analysis on a case that has made headlines in recent days out of Oklahoma, where a federal court ruled that a police officer's rights were not violated by an order to appear at a mosque. The officer had objected, arguing that the assignment was against his religious beliefs.
Here's more from AP:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling for the city of Tulsa in a civil rights complaint by a police captain who didn't want to attend an event at a mosque.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the decision Thursday in the case of Capt. Paul Fields, who was punished for objecting to orders that he attend a law-enforcement appreciation event at the Islamic Society of Tulsa.
The city issued suspensions saying Fields was disobedient and engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer. Fields sued, alleging his rights were violated. But the appeals court says the order did not violate his personal religious beliefs.
Fields' lawyer, Robert Joseph Muise of the American Freedom Law Center, says he disagrees with the ruling and will request a new hearing.
Napolitano said he has no issue with the ruling because the police officer was ordered to attend a "police function, not a religious function." He explained that the officer would have had a case if, for example, he was ordered to go to the mosque and pray.
Napolitano pointed out that police departments have a chain of command and cannot function if individuals can refuse orders.
"Look, when you join the military or you join a police department, you do give up certain rights. And one of those rights is the ability to object to an otherwise lawful order because you don't like it or you don't want that responsibility," he said.