Judge: Jewish cop can wear beard

Aug. 7, 2008 at 6:35 PM

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge has ruled the First Amendment gives a Las Vegas police detective who practices Orthodox Judaism the right to wear a beard.

Detective Steve Riback, who is not required to wear a uniform in his position at quality assurance, filed a lawsuit alleging religious discrimination by the Metropolitan Police Department for not allowing him to wear a beard and a yarmulke to work, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt ruled that Riback's beard is protected by his First Amendment rights, but he said it is up to a jury to rule on the yarmulke issue.

"Metro must allow Riback to wear a beard while in Quality Assurance, subject to the same restrictions on officers who wear beards for secular reasons," the judge wrote in his ruling.

The case deciding the yarmulke issue is scheduled to begin Oct. 20.

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