Officer made 'improper' remarks about Whitney
19 September 2013, 08:39
Los Angeles -A policeman lifted a sheet covering the just-dead body of singer Whitney Houston and made "inappropriate" comments including the remark "Damn, she's still looking good, huh?" a lawsuit alleges.
Beverly Hills Detective Sergeant Terry Nutall had "no legitimate" justification in the action and remarks, when he arrived at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on 11 February last year, after she had been found dead in a bath.
A coroner subsequently ruled that the 48-year-old singing legend died of accidental drowning, with cocaine listed as a contributing factor, on the eve of last year's Grammys show.
'Withdrawing certain privileges'
In the lawsuit, another policeman, Sergeant Brian Weir, claims he was stripped of various privileges when he raised the alleged misconduct with superiors, according to the legal document published by the Los Angeles Times.
"Nutall, for no legitimate (reason) knelt beside and leaned over the decedent (and) removed the sheet and/or other covering from the body of the decedent to an area below the pubic region of the decedent's body," it said.
He then "came in close proximity to touching the body .. while making inappropriate comments to the effect .. that the decedent 'looked attractive for a woman of her age and current state' and 'Damn, she's still looking good, huh?'"
"Nutall .. law, treated the dead body of the decedent in a way that Nutall knew would outrage ordinary family sensibilities," he alleged in the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles on 11 September.
Weir said he responded to the Beverly Hilton Hotel - where Houston was due to attend a traditional pre-Grammys party that Saturday evening - as the senior patrol sergeant on duty at the time.
Afterwards he raised the alleged misconduct with superiors, but claims that the City of Beverly Hills and its Police Department "retaliated" by removing him from duty with SWAT and K-9 units, cutting overtime pay, withdrawing certain privileges and harassing him.
Weir "has sustained and will continue to sustain economic and non-economic damages including emotional distress and damage to claimant's reputation, and other injury, damage, loss, or harm," said the lawsuit.
A 42-page coroner's report issued in April last year said Houston may have overdosed on drugs and alcohol before drowning face down in her bathtub at the famous Beverly Hills hotel.
Various bottles were found in the hotel room - in all some 12 medications prescribed by five different doctors, including anxiety treatment Xanax and the potent corticosteroid Prednisone, the report said.
The singer of hits such as I Will Always Love You sold more than 170 million records during a nearly three-decade career, but also fought a long battle against substance abuse.