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Surviving partner
of lesbian officer alleges discrimination against
Australian police force

Surviving partner
of lesbian officer alleges discrimination against
Australian police force

The partner of a lesbian police officer who died in April has accused the New South Wales police force of discrimination based on sexual orientation, reports Australian newspaper TheSydney Morning Herald.

Senior Constable Cheryl Wang, 35, died on April 3 after a rock climbing accident. She had received several honors, including an award for bravery after nabbing a car thief from a moving vehicle.

According to the paper, a series of mistakes by police officials have caused continued grief for her partner of 11 years, Wendy Garraway, 35.

A letter of commendation from Commissioner Ken Moroney included the wrong date of death and misspelled Garraway's name. Another official police letter and Wang's certificate of service contained the same mistakes.

Garraway told the Herald that the police failed to acknowledge two of her partner's policing awards. She singled out Deputy Commissioner Andrew Scipione, for reneging on his promise to preserve Wang's warrant card, and Sgt. Mark Whiteside of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, for failing to uphold his pledge to pay for the funeral costs.

"New South Wales police have increased intensely the sorrow I feel at losing my partner," Garraway said to the paper. "Their so-called attempts at respect have been nothing but lip service, and so far they have shown themselves to be incompetent or neglectful, at the very least. I think if Cheryl had been married that they wouldn't have treated me the way I've been treated."

A spokesperson for the police force denied Garraway's accusations, telling the Herald that no promises were made to preserve the warrant card or pay for the funeral. The spokesperson explained that warrant cards were usually destroyed after an officer left the force and that Commissioner Moroney was "deeply apologetic" for the mistakes. (The Advocate)

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Mike Grippi