Friday, June 28, 2013
The lawyer for the Hasidic NYPD recruit fired for refusing to trim his beard because of his religion says the department is now using the fear of a terrorist attack as a reason for the dismissal.
Fishel Litzman was terminated last June while still in the Police Academy. He was accused of refusing to adhere to department standards limiting beards to no more than 1 millimeter in length.
In Manhattan Federal Court Thursday, Litzman's lawyer, Nathan Lewin, said the city has come up with an "after-the-fact rationalization" by saying facial hair would prevent him wearing a gas mask with a proper fit.
But Keri Reid McNally, representing the city, said Litzman would put himself and others at risk if he needed to wear the mask in an emergency.
Federal Judge Harold Baer is considering whether to reinstate Litzman, 39, or send the case to trial.
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