Cop: Detective gawked at Whitney Houston's naked corpse
POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 2:04am
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A police officer removed a sheet covering Whitney Houston's naked corpse and remarked, "Damn, she's still looking good, huh?" according to another officer at the scene.
The accusation against the Beverly Hills Police detective was revealed in a labor dispute filing made last week by Brian Weir, who was the senior patrol sergeant called to Houston's hotel room after she was found dead in a bathtub on February 11, 2012.
Weir claims the Beverly Hills police chief and others retaliated against him when he complained about the alleged actions of Det. Sgt. Terry Nutall at the death scene on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
"We will be looking into the allegations made in this claim, but we were not aware of any inappropriate behavior or comments made by any officer at the scene," Beverly Hills Police spokesman Lt. Lincoln Hoshino told CNN Wednesday.
No formal complaint was ever filed with the police department by Weir or anyone else, Hoshina said. "How can we retaliate against him for reporting misconduct if we weren't aware of any misconduct?" he said.
Houston drowned face down in a hotel tub of "extremely hot water" about 12 inches deep, the final autopsy report on the singer's death said. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled that Houston's death on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards was an accidental drowning with the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use" as contributing factors.
Weir's complaint, filed on September 11 with California's labor department, said he covered Houston's body with a sheet "to prevent contamination or potential DNA and other potential evidence on the body" and to "preserve the dignity of the remains."
It said that Nutall -- who was assigned to investigate fraud, forgery and auto burglaries -- "knelt beside and leaned over the decedent, 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 and came in close proximity to touching the body of the decedent while making inappropriate comments to the effect and substance that the decedent 'looked attractive for a woman of her age and current state' and 'Damn, she's still looking good, huh?'"
Nutall "did properly respond to the scene," the police spokesman said. "It is appropriate for a responding detective sergeant to briefly examine the body upon arriving to a scene like that."
Weir, who had been in the "coveted positions" of sergeant with the SWAT and K-9 units, claims he told Beverly Hills officials about the incident, which he said he believed violated state and federal laws.
After complaining to his superiors and others in the Beverly Hills government, Weir was removed from his "coveted positions" of sergeant with the SWAT and K-9 units, denied promotion to other positions, removed from supervisory duties, denied special pay, denied training, harassed and ostracized, given inappropriate and harassing comments an/or documents, and subjected to conduct undermining his authority as a superior, the filing said. He also lost overtime pay, the filing alleged.
The complaint accuses Police Chief David Snowden, Capt. Tony Lee and Nutall -- who has since been promoted to lieutenant -- of taking "reprisal actions, including acts of intimidation, restraint, coercion, discrimination, punitive, and/or disciplinary actions" against Weir.
Weir's lawyer Christopher Brizzolara is demanding economic and non-economic damages for his client, who has suffered damage to his law enforcement career and emotional stress.
Houston was last seen alive by her personal assistant in her Beverly Hilton room at about 3 p.m. that Saturday, the autopsy report said. The assistant left to run errands after telling Houston to take a bath in preparation for a pre-Grammy Awards party at the hotel that night, it said.
When the assistant returned to the locked room at 3:35 p.m., she found Houston "lying face down in the bathtub filled with water, unresponsive."
"The assistant called for her bodyguard, and together they pulled the decedent out of the bathtub," the report said.
When paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later, they moved Houston to the living room floor. At 3:55 p.m., 20 minutes after she was found by the assistant, paramedics concluded she was dead, the report said.
Houston won six Grammys and sold 170 million albums, singles and videos over her career.
In recent years, the singer's accomplishments were overtaken by her struggles with drug addiction.