Atheist Puerto Rico cop files lawsuit charging discrimination by island's police department

Lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Puerto Rico's police department, accusing it of discriminating against an officer for being an atheist and not adhering to the separation of church and state.

It is one of the first cases of its kind for the deeply religious U.S. territory.

The lawsuit was filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union in Puerto Rico and the Washington-based ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

The case involves a police officer who refused to participate in Christian prayers at his precinct because he is an atheist. Attorneys accuse his supervisor of retaliating by demoting him, stripping him of his gun and making him wash patrol cars.

Police Chief Hector Pesquera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.