A Tucson police officer who was demoted after a racy photo scandal is fighting for her rank.
Diana Lopez was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant after an internal affairs hearing earlier this year.
According to court documents, Lopez's attorney Michael Piccarreta is alleging that Lopez's constitutional rights to equal protection under the law were violated. No similar discipline has been imposed upon a male member of TPD of a similar rank.
They're calling it gender discrimination.
Court documents go on to say the city code that says she "shall not engage in conduct unbecoming to their duties."
The city of Tucson claims Lopez violated a code that required her to keep her "private life unsullied."
According to internal affairs documents we obtained, Lopez is accused of sending racy photos and videos to her boyfriend, another police officer who was below her in rank but not in her direct chain of command.
Documents state some of these photos were taken on city property on company time.
We interviewed Lopez's attorney in February; he claimed there's no evidence, tapes nor videos to be found.
Piccarreta believes this is discrimination against his client.
"The code of ethics for police officers states they shall live an unsullied private life. I have never seen a law enforcement officer, lawyer, a judge or even a saint that lives an unsullied life," Piccarreta said.
"I think traditionally women are judged differently on off duty behavior. It's an old school mentality. Hopefully as time goes on that will change."
We reached out to the City Attorney's office and police department for a comment, but we're told they cannot comment on pending litigation.
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