Belfast Telegraph

PSNI officer called for Starbucks boycott over gays

By Ciaran Barnes

A top cop whose job it is to investigate the behaviour of other officers is facing a PSNI examination into his public comments about homosexuality.

The PSNI last night revealed it is going to examine statements made by Detective Inspector Calvin Coulter who is also a Christian preacher.

DI Coulter is a senior officer in the PSNI’s Professional Standards Department.

Sunday Life can reveal his controversial online comments include saying he was “dumping” Starbucks over the company’s support for gay marriage — and urging others to boycott the coffee shop chain.

In a statement to this newspaper last night, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “Any private views expressed by a police officer are a matter for that individual and are not the views of the PSNI.

“However, PSNI will not accept or tolerate homophobia or any other forms of discriminatory behaviour.

“We will examine what has been said to see if there has been a breach of the law or our code of ethics.”

Part-time preacher Calvin Coulter has used social media to make a number of offensive remarks about the gay community. These include:

  •  Saying he has “dumped” coffee shop Starbucks “for supporting gay marriage and you can too”;
  •  Promoting articles that describe being gay as a “distortion of human sexuality” and;
  •  Advertising religious tracts that claim homosexuality “keeps people out of the Kingdom of God”.

When Sunday Life approached DI Coulter yesterday he said that he had no comment to make. Screen-shots of his comments were sent to the PSNI who in response issued the statement by ACC Hamilton.

As an employer the PSNI is committed to upholding the highest standards that include promoting equality of opportunity between “persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation”.

By publicly taking part in a boycott of Starbucks for supporting same sex marriage, and advertising online articles that describe being gay as a “distortion of human sexuality” DI Calvin Coulter appears to be breaching these strict guidelines.

The PSNI is proud of its links with the Gay Police Association, and senior officers have taken part in the annual Belfast Pride celebrations.

Ulster Unionist politician Jeff Dudgeon, a gay rights and equality campaigner, questioned how DI Coulter could be tasked with investigating the behaviour of other officers in light of his views.

He said: “My first thought is what confidence could a gay officer have in being investigated by this policeman? The PSNI needs to review his position.

“It is deeply disappointing to learn that a senior PSNI officer has these outdated views, and that he has been so unwise as to express them on social media. His remarks are quite frankly unpleasant.”

As well as his online homophobic comments DI Coulter, who preaches at Ballymena Congregational Church, also made a number of near-the-knuckle comments about other religions during his recorded sermons.

In one 30-minute speech from the pulpit entitled ‘A Right Relationship with the World, he claimed the Catholic saint Mother Teresa “represents so many people who have closeted themselves away from the world”. In another sermon to his Ballymena church called the ‘Righteous and the Wicked’, he said of Orthodox Jews: “Some folks might say they are so blinded and so dismissive of the Messiah, and yes, they’re all of those things...”

PSNI sources who tipped-off Sunday Life about DI Coulter’s uncompromising religious views questioned his ongoing role as a senior officer in the force’s Professional Standards Department.

One cop told us: “It’s one thing to believe those things, but to say them in public is a different matter entirely. Calvin would have been better off keeping his mouth shut.”

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