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Orthodox cop can keep beard, court rules

A Jewish police detective can wear a beard in performing his current duties, a Nevada court ruled.

Det. Steve Riback, who is Orthodox, had been denied permission to wear a beard and yarmulke on the job by the Metropolitan Police Department of Las Vegas.

 

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt invoked the First Amendment right to religious freedom in his ruling Wednesday that Riback could keep the beard while performing his duties in the office of quality assurance, where he is not required to wear a uniform.

It was unclear whether Riback could keep the beard if he had duties that required him to wear a uniform.

Hunt recognized the department’s interest in maintaining a dress code but saw inconsistencies in the policy, which allows officers to wear a beard for medical but not religious purposes.

 

Liesl Freedman, an attorney for the police department, has said that the department is “a paramilitary organization” and must “remain religion-neutral.”

 

Riback will go back to court in October over the yarmulke issue.

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