Did This Cop Ogle Whitney’s Unclothed Corpse?
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
A part of me really doesn’t want to bring any more attention to this potentially perverted story. But then there’s another part of me that wants to bring attention this man’s allegedly disturbing act so he’ll have to suffer some sort of consequence.
Last week, a claim was filed against Beverly Hills police Detective Sergeant Terry Nutall. The claim stated the Nutall disturbed the scene of Whitney Houston’s death in 2012 when he lifted the sheet to not only ogle, but remark on the stature of her dead body.
According to the claim, there was “no legitimate law enforcement inquiry, investigative, or other proper and legal purpose” for Nutall to have done this. The claim goes on to say that Nutall “knelt beside and leaned over the decedent, removed the sheet and/or other covering from the body…to an area below the pubic region.”
Nearly touching the body Nutall made “inappropriate comments…that the decedent ‘looked attractive for a woman of her age and current state” and then said “Damn, she’s still looking good, huh?”
We all remember that Whitney was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton on February 11, 2012. The coroner determined that the cause of death was accidental drowning with drug use and heart disease as contributing factors.
Beverly Hills SWAT supervisor, Brian Weir filed the claim and said he was removed from his position as the head of the department’s SWAT team for reporting Nutall’s misconduct. The claim is a the first step in what will eventually become a civil lawsuit that is expected to be filed in the next month.
Since Whitney’s death, Nutall has since been promoted to lieutenant.
Attorney Dmitry Gorin, who used to work for the LAPD, says if Weir’s claims are proven true, it will raise questions about whether the scene was secured and investigated properly:
“If proven, officer Nutall’s actions were highly inappropriate and demonstrate very poor judgment by a senior BHPD officer. A law enforcement officer more interested in what a decedent’s body looks like than securing a possible crime scene may taint the original placement of relevant DNA and fiber evidence, causing investigators to miss data and draw incorrect conclusions.”
This story is so troubling for so many different reasons. It’s a known fact that most human cultures and even other animals have respect for the body of the dead. It’s not supposed to be handled, tainted and certainly not regarded as a sexual object.
At this point, we don’t know if these claims are true and they’ll certainly be hard to prove; but these accusations, true or not, are another indication of just how often black women’s bodies are demoralized and sexualized, even in death. (See Sarah Baartman.)
Fortunately– or hopefully, I believe, by the time Nutall was examining her body, her spirit had departed and most likely didn’t have to witness that assault to its former home.