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SALT LAKE CITY -- The attorney for a Salt Lake City police officer who was placed on leave for refusing an assignment to work a gay pride parade says his client has been defamed by inaccurate comments made by the police department.

Attorney Bret Rawson said the unnamed officer didn’t refuse to work the parade. Rawson said he asked to be taken off the motor team that leads the parade and reassigned to behind-the-scenes duty.

Rawson said the officer felt being on the motorcycle would make it appear he was advocating for gay pride, something that made him uncomfortable because of his personal and religious beliefs.

Salt Lake City spokeswoman Lara Jones said she can’t comment because the officer has hired an attorney, a sign of pending litigation. Jones said the officer remains on administrative leave.