- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up the case of a Tulsa police captain suspended for 10 days after refusing an order to work a law-enforcement appreciation event inside a mosque.

Paul Fields had sued in 2011, saying it was unfair for the city to suspend him when he wouldn’t work an event sponsored by the Islamic Society of Tulsa. He also refused to compel any officers who worked for him to attend.

“This was an unjustice and this was our last chance to remedy it,” said Fields’ lawyer, Robert Muise, of the American Freedom Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “It’s very disappointing because justice was not done.”

Fields had lost at every round in the federal court system. U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell said in 2012 that because Fields had the option of either attending or sending someone in his place, “no reasonable jury” would rule in his favor.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the decision in August.

Deputy Chief Daryl Webster had sent a memo saying that while it was preferred that people volunteer, officers could be assigned if necessary. Police Chief Chuck Jordan said the event was part of the department’s community outreach.

The Oklahoman reported that Fields had written to others in his department saying that entering a mosque, except for a police call, would violate his religious rights.

“Please consider this email my official notification to the Tulsa Police Department and the City of Tulsa that I intend not to follow this directive, nor require any of my subordinates to do so if they share similar religious convictions,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.

After he refused to send any officers, the city accused him of being disobedient and engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer.

Fields was suspended for two weeks.

“At the end of the day it wasn’t about the money for him. It was the principle,” Muise said Monday.


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