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Cop Says He Was Discriminated Against After Coming Out at Teen Event


A Louisville, Ky., police officer was allegedly told it was "inappropriate" to come out during a youth event and accused of leering at boys.

A gay police officer is suing the city of Louisville, Ky., and the Kentucky Metro Police Department for discrimination after being allegedly reprimanded by his commanding officer for coming out during a law enforcement training program for teens.

During the December 2017 youth event, Officer John Burgraff discussed his role as the police department's LGBTQ liaison as well as KMPD's ongoing efforts to engage more members of the queer community. But what was meant to be an empowering message turned into something more sinister, according to Burgraff.

According to a lawsuit filed last week, Burgraff claims that after revealing his sexual identity at the event, Lt. Phill Russell instructed another officer to inform Burgaff that his comments were "not appropriate."

The suit also states that Russell allegedly accused Burgraff of "looking at a young male inappropriately," according to the local Fox affiliate, and claims that Burgraff was passed over for a promotion as a result of the incident.

Russell remained commander of the Community Policing Unit, but was eventually transferred to the Training Unit.

Soon after Russell's comments, Burgraff reported the incident to the Chief's office, which opened an investigation into the matter. Then in May 2018, Burgraff was informed by Police Chief Steve Conrad that there wasn't enough evidence to back his allegations.

Burgraff also took the matter to Major Andrew Brown where he expressed discomfort in working with Russell after his allegedly homophobic comments.

However, the suit claims that Brown allegedly spoke to other officers in the department and later told Burgraff that Russell's comments were "not that bad."

Burgraff was informed in August 2019 that his allegations against Russell were unsubstantiated. Now, he is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.

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