NYPD officer sues to get back gun, badge

March 2, 2009 4:13:15 PM PST
A police lieutenant who once reported seeing a "demon" at police headquarters is suing to get his gun and shield back, claiming supervisors took them from him because of his intense religious practices. Dominic Maglione, a desk officer at Brooklyn's 90th Precinct, says in a petition filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court that he is a religious Christian who worships at two Queens churches and prays and fasts regularly.

Maglione, 44, acknowledged in interviews with psychiatrists after he was admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital 2 1/2 years ago that he was praying as much as 10 hours at a stretch and fasting twice a week, court papers say.

A police medical report dated Dec. 19, 2008, and included with Maglione's court papers says the lieutenant lost 40 pounds in six months by fasting, and urinated on himself because he refused to stop praying to go to the bathroom.

The report also says he was given the anti-psychotic drug olanzapine, usually prescribed for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It says he took it once and refused to take it again.

The 22-year police veteran says that because of his allegedly "excessive" religious beliefs, police officials have "wrongfully and illegally" confiscated his gun and badge and compromised his ability to do his job.

Maglione's petition, filed Feb. 19, says that curtailing his duties because of his religious practices violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He asked the court to order his return to full police work.

The medical board report said there are "significant psychological findings precluding the officer from performing the full duties of a New York City police officer."

"The Medical Board believes that the lieutenant cannot be allowed to be in possession of any weapons since he feels subject to God's will to do what God wants him to do even if he destroys himself," the report says.

City Law Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Thomas said city attorneys are reviewing Maglione's petition.


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