Less Than Brilliant Salt Lake County Utah Employee Jed Bogenschutz Used Government Email Address To Send eMail Filled With Facist Remarks To Business Owner

October 15, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The Salt Lake County employee who sent an email filled with racist remarks to a Sandy business owner is making a public apology.

ABC 4 News was the first to tell you about the email sent by the employee using his government email account to Linnaea Mendoza owner of Salsitas Mendoza. After seeing our report the County Assessor called ABC 4’s Kimberly Nelson to set the record straight; the Assessor’s office does not, and will not, tolerate bigotry or abuse of power.

Salsitas Mendoza has been open just a year. Linnaea and her husband sell jars of salsa out of the store, but because they don’t have a kitchen there yet they have to rent one. They’re looking to put a commercial kitchen in their store but still need a $12,000 dollar commercial hood.

In order to raise the funds Linnaea started a Kickstarter page where people could donate money. To promote the fundraising efforts, her sister posted an ad on another website under charity advertisements. The feedback was positive until she got this email from a Salt Lake County government employee.

The email in question was sent by Jedd Bogenschutz and reads, “I respond to people in need in this section that really need it. After reading your ad I had to respond and say are you … f…ing serious?? your ad had to be the most disgusting ad I have ever read, really taking donations so you can finish a kitchen so you south of the borders can get ahead, you can bet I would never buy any of your garbage, I do have some connections, board of health, business license, ect. I will make sure your (sic) on the up and up.”

The words “you south of the borders” still sting, but Linnaea Mendoza says the racial slurs weren’t the worst part about the cutting email. She was worried about how a government employee could use his power in such an abusive way.

Mendoza asked, “How far is there a hatred? How far would it go will you try to revoke my licenses that I worked so hard for? Will you try to damage my business that’s new? You know, we’re all in on this. This is everything to my family.”

Whether or not they were empty threats, when he heard one of his employees had done such a thing Salt Lake County Assessor Lee Gardner was quick to respond.

“Bigotry in any way shape or form has no place in our community,” said Gardner. “Intimidation by anyone in government will not be tolerated, not in my office and it should not be tolerated in any office.”

Gardner continued, “My thought process is when an offense is public then the apology or explanation needs to be done in public. That’s why I’ve not only asked, I’ve requested Jedd to be here to give his explanation.”

Jedd Bogenschutz said, “To be honest not in a million years would I have thought I would have done something so insensitive.”

Bogenschutz says he wrote the email in an impulse. He was upset because he didn’t think the Mendoza’s finishing their kitchen should have been a charitable cause.

“I always felt myself as being an open-minded person willing to accept people’s differences as my own as well and I’m just absolutely embarrassed,” said Bogenschutz.

Kimberly Nelson asked Gardner, “There are many people who want Judd to lose his job over this. If you or I were to do something like this with the very public email address that we would lose our job.”

Gardner responded, “This is an opportunity for education not only to the community but for Jedd and I’m sure there’s none of us who are immune to making some statements. As I’m watching the national debate and campaign, we would not have anybody in government right now. So maybe a little forgiveness and a little understanding that yes, we do make mistakes.” He continues, “I assure you the punishment I’m giving is in no way shape or form is a slap on the wrist.”

Bogenschutz says he plans on apologizing to the Mendozas personally and for the Mendozas that’s enough.

Mendoza said, “I don’t want to cause any long term damage to his family just as I didn’t want his comments to cause any long term damage to my family via my business.”

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Utah: Increasing Speed Limit On Interstate To 80 MPH Results In 20% Less Accidents

September 23, 2012

UTAH – A study by the Utah Department of Transportation suggests raising the freeway speed limit from 75 to 80 miles per hour may be a good thing — at least on some stretches of interstate.

When the speed limit went up on four stretches of road between Nephi and Cedar City, accidents went down by 20 percent, according to the three-year study by UDOT.

The findings were somewhat unexpected, but it appears drivers tend to comply to higher speed limits.

“Everyone naturally goes 75 to 80 miles an hour anyways. So it’s that comfortable speed limit as most people drive on the freeway,” said driver Kyle Taylor.

The House Transportation Committee discussed its findings Wednesday and showed interest in putting more 80 mile per hour zones throughout the state.

“This was designed to be a test. Let’s see how it works and now it’s time to perhaps take it to another level,” said Rep. James Dunningan, R-Taylorsville.

Not all 75 mile per hour zones are going to change to 80. UDOT is looking for ideal locations, specifically where it is straight and there is less chance of an accident.

“Maybe north on I-15 or I-80 out to the Wendover area,” said Carlo Braceras, UDOT’s deputy director. “So, it’s kind of a wait and see what happens.”

Rep. Dunnigan plans to present a bill this legislative session.

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Ogden Utah Request To Fly Unmanned Blimp To Spy On Its Citizens Shot Down By FAA As Safety Risk

August 20, 2012

OGDEN, UTAH – The Ogden Police Department wants to fly an unmanned surveillance blimp at a height of just 400 feet over high crime areas of the city to watch for “suspicious activity,” but an initial request for approval was rejected by the FAA on the basis that the program would be a safety risk.

Recently released FAA documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation illustrate how law enforcement bodies across the country are rushing to deploy drones and surveillance blimps with scant regard for the fourth amendment or privacy rights.

In a letter sent to the FAA by Jon J. Greiner, the Ogden Police Chief attempted to assure the federal agency that the UAS surveillance blimp the police department planned to use was air worthy and safe.

In the letter, Greiner describes the blimp as a “nocturnal surveillance airship which will be used for law enforcement surveillance of high crime areas of Ogden City.”

From a height of just 400 feet in the sky, the dirigible would use its camera system to spot “suspicious activity” on city streets and send the footage back to police headquarters.

“The Pilot in Command would also be able to manually operate the UAS so that it could remain on scene waiting for an officer’s arrival,” states the letter.

The FAA responded by refusing to give approval for the police department to deploy the blimp, noting that the operation “presents an unacceptable high risk to the National Airspace System (NAS),” because the blimp would not be under visual observation throughout its use.

“Your Program Executive Summary addresses a Concept of Operation (CONOPS) where the VIPAR UA will be utilized in a patrol capacity for nocturnal surveillance within a high crime area of Ogden, UT. The CONOPS describes the launch and recovery of the UA from a Department of Public Safety Building in Ogden at which time control of the UA would be transferred from the ground control station at the launch site to a control station located in the Police Command Center. The COA application does not address the use of visual observers during the operation and without conforming to policy guidelines regarding the utilization of visual observers, this application cannot be approved,” states the FAA letter.

It is likely that the police department will get permission to use the blimp so long as they give assurances that the dirigible will be under visual observation at all times.

The use of surveillance drones and blimps to carry out sweeping surveillance of the public with total disregard for privacy rights is expected to accelerate in the coming years. The FAA has forecast that 30,000 surveillance drones will be in U.S. skies by the end of the decade.

Last month, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told a House Committee on Homeland Security that the federal agency was working on deploying drones for purposes of “public safety.”

As we reported earlier this year, the DHS is already using another type of airborne drone surveillance, also utilized to track insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the purposes of “emergency and non-emergency incidents” within the United States.

US law enforcement bodies are already using drone technology to spy on Americans. In December last year, a Predator B drone was called in to conduct surveillance over a family farm in North Dakota as part of a SWAT raid on the Brossart family, who were suspects in the egregious crime of stealing six missing cows. Local police in this one area have already used the drone on two dozen occasions since June last year.

The U.S. Army recently tested a football field-sized blimp over the city of New Jersey. The blimp can fly for a period of 21 hours and “is equipped with high-tech sensors that can monitor insurgents from above.”

Recently released FAA documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the FAA gave the green light for surveillance drones to be used in U.S. skies despite the fact that during the FAA’s own tests the drones crashed numerous times even in areas of airspace where no other aircraft were flying.

The documents illustrate how the drones pose a huge public safety risk, contradicting a recent coordinated PR campaign on behalf of the drone industry which sought to portray drones as safe, reliable and privacy-friendly.

Alex Jones predicted the use of blimps for invasive surveillance in his 2005 film Martial Law. Watch a clip below during which Alex discusses this and related issues during a CBS San Antonio interview.

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BROKE: 16 States Now Rationing Prescription Drugs For Medicaid Patients

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients, according to Kaiser Health News.

Seven of those states, according to Kaiser Health News, have enacted or tightened those limits in just the last two years.

Medicaid is a federal program that is carried out in partnership with state governments. It forms an important element of President Barack Obama’s health-care plan because under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–AKA Obamcare–a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program.

With both the expanded Medicaid program and the federal subsidy for health-care premiums that will be available to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, a larger percentage of the population will be wholly or partially dependent on the government for their health care under Obamacare than are now.

In Alabama, Medicaid patients are now limited to one brand-name drug, and HIV and psychiatric drugs are excluded.

Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to just four prescription drugs as a cost-cutting move, and patients who need more than four must get permission from the state.

Speaking on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Monday, Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, said the move “only hurts a limited number of patients.”

“Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand,” Galewitz said.

“It only hurts a limited number of patients, ‘cause obviously it hurts patients who are taking multiple brand name drugs in the case of Alabama, Illinois. Some of the states are putting the limits on all drugs. It’s another place to cut. It doesn’t hurt everybody, but it could hurt some,” he added.

Galewitz said the move also puts doctors and patients in a “difficult position.”

“Some doctors I talked to would work with patients with asthma and diabetes, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the right drugs and the right dosage to figure out how to control some of this disease, and just when they get it right, now the state is telling them that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to get all this coverage. You may have to switch to a generic or find another way,’” he said.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have all placed caps on the number of prescription drugs Medicaid patients can get.

“Some people say it’s a matter of you know states are throwing things up against the wall to see what might work, so states have tried, they’ve also tried formularies where they’ll pick certain brand name drugs over other drugs. So states try a whole lot of different things. They’re trying different ways of paying providers to try to maybe slow the costs down,” Galewitz said.

“So it seems like Medicaid’s sort of been one big experiment over the last number of years for states to try to control costs, and it’s an ongoing battle, and I think drugs is just now one of the … latest issues. And it’s a relatively recent thing, only in the last 10 years have we really seen states put these limits on monthly drugs,” he added.

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SkyWest Pilot, Wanted For Killing Girlfriend, Steals And Crashes Plane In St. George Utah, Shoots Himself – Airport Security, Not So Much…

July 17, 2012

ST. GEORGE, UTAH — A commercial pilot wanted in connection with the killing of his girlfriend in Colorado Springs tried to steal a commercial airplane early Tuesday at the St. George Municipal Airport, then committed suicide, investigators said.

The man who shot and killed himself inside a commandeered SkyWest airplane early Tuesday was 40-year- old Brian Joseph Hedglin, St. George spokesman Mark Mortensen confirmed.

In Colorado Springs, police have been looking for Hedglin since Friday in connection with the death of his girlfriend, 39-year-old Christina Cornejo. Hedglin had previously been arrested for a harassment case involving Cornejo, but was free on bail, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The two had been dating for four years when she told him in March she wanted a break.

Friday, police were called to Cornejo’s apartment by a relative to perform a welfare check and found her dead inside.

Just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, a security guard doing a routine check at the St. George Municipal Airport spotted a motorcycle parked next to the barbed wire gate that borders the airport property, Mortensen said. The engine was still warm.

He then noticed a rug thrown over the wire part of the fence as if someone had climbed over. Moments later, he heard a SkyWest CRJ200 aircraft start up.

Hedglin first backed the plane up, Mortensen said, then moved forward, clipping the terminal. Somehow, the plane ended up in the parking lot and crashed into parked vehicles, he said.

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Brian Hedgelin, who was wanted in connection with a stabbing murder in Colorado Springs, apparently stole a a plane and then shot himself while on board in St. George.

No one on the ground was injured. The crash apparently prevented Hedglin from taking off.

Hedglin then shot himself once, killing himself inside the plane, Mortensen said.

“The aircraft did sustain damage. The extent of the damage is currently being inspected by our maintenance and safety professionals,” SkyWest said in a prepared statement.

The plane was not in service at the time and there were no passengers on board. It was not immediately known how Hedglin gained access into the aircraft. Hedglin held a commercial airline pilot license and worked for SkyWest. The airline released a statement saying he was “on administrative leave” at the time of the accident.

“While the airport was closed overnight, a SkyWest aircraft at the St. George Municipal Airport in Utah was involved in a ground incident while the aircraft was not in service,” SkyWest said in a prepared statement. “Until the airport is reopened, passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being re-accommodated on other flights as well as with ground transportation from nearby Cedar City.”

The FBI and St. George police are investigating the incident.

“The FBI is on scene at the St. George Airport, along with St. George police and the TSA. We are conducting a joint investigation. We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under the control of law enforcement,” FBI spokeswoman Debbie Bertram said.

Mortensen said all commercial flights were cancelled until further notice. The private portion of the airport was still open. The St. George airport handles seven flights a day.

Both Cornejo and Hedglin were with the Colorado Army National Guard. Hedglin has been part-time with the Guard since 2008, said Colorado National Guard spokesman Capt. Darin Overstreet. He was a “food service specialist,” or a cook, he said.

Hedglin participated in traditional National Guard drills, but was never deployed, Overstreet said. Cornejo was a full-time National Guard member, joining in 2006 and becoming an officer in 2011. She was part of the 100 Missile Defense Brigade, Overstreet said.

Additional details will be posted as they become available.

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Anti-Obama Parade Float Slipped Into Huntsville Utah Parade At Last Minute – Obama Farewell Tour

July 8, 2012

HUNTSVILLE, Utah — A parade entry portraying President Barack Obama and using the term “Obamanation” has made some angry, and others upset at the negative attention.

It happened in the city’s annual Fourth of July parade.

The float showed a person dressed as President Obama with one sign that read “Huntsville Welcomes Obama’s Farewell Tour?” On the back, another sign said, “Ask about our assault gun plan. Call Eric Holder.”

On one side of the issue, people are saying the float was disrespectful and had no place in a patriotic parade. The other side says it was all in good fun.

Huntsville Mayor Jim Truett and City Council member Laurie Allen say the entry doesn’t reflect the views of the city. They say it was entered at the last minute, not through usual protocol and they would not have approved it if they had seen it.

“I don’t think we would have allowed it, in fact I know we wouldn’t,” said Allen. “We just don’t want that. It’s a family-oriented celebration.”

Weber County Sheriff Lt. Mark Lowther told Fox 13 News his department contacted the Secret Service after some residents expressed concern the float was a threat to the President.

“We don’t decide what’s appropriate. That’s up to the town, the parade organizers and the people who design the float,” said Chief Deputy Klint Anderson, Weber County Sheriff’s Office, in a statement.

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Convicted Pedophile Running For Granite Utah School Board Seat

June 7, 2012

HOLLADAY, UTAH — A man who spent time behind bars for child sex abuse is seeking a seat on the Granite school board.

Richard Wagner Jones, a registered sex offender, is currently running against incumbent Dan Lofgren for the first precinct seat on the Granite Board of Education. He is listed on the ballot as R. Wagner Jones, according to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office.

Jones pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, on July 30, 1990. Several other related charges against him were dismissed, according to court documents. He completed his sentence, which included both prison time and parole, in 2005.

Jones was out of town Wednesday and deferred an interview until later. In an email, he did say that he understands that voters “need to know why there is no risk or need for concern on that issue before the election occurs.”

Under state law and Granite School District policy, registered sex offenders are barred, with exceptions, from visiting elementary and secondary schools. District policy allows visits that are authorized and supervised with the school’s administration, but the sex offender must stay within eyesight of an administrator at all times. When public functions are being held at a school outside of regular school hours, a sex offender may be present at the regulation and discretion of the school’s principal.

Gayleen Gandy, president of the Granite School Board, said Jones’ legal barriers would not necessarily impede him from fulfilling the responsibilities of a board member. But she added that for her, visiting educators and students in their school settings informs the decisions she makes.

“I personally feel that it’s very important for me to be out in the schools as much as possible,” she said. “If I’m going to make decisions from the 30,000-foot level, I need to know what’s going on in the trenches.”

Gandy said there is no requirement for board members to visit schools, although most find it valuable to do so. She said for many voters, the most recognizable decisions that board members make are those that affect property taxes.

“The job of a board member is basically to make decisions regarding budgets and policies,” she said. “I think anyone who pays taxes ought to be interested in who their school board member is.”

Gandy said school visits have proved to be a benefit for her. In her first year on the school board, she made a goal of visiting every school in her district and volunteering for a half day.

“I called the principals and said, ‘I want you to put me to work,'” she said.

She said that time in the schools, and subsequent visits, have given her a perspective on education issues that she would not have had otherwise.

Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said the laws regulating the sex offender registry have changed since Jones’ conviction. An individual convicted today of the same crime would be placed on the registry for the duration of their life, compared to the former period of 10 years from the end of a sentence. Because Jones was not grandfathered into the new law, Gehrke said, his name will be removed from the registry in 2015.

Sex offender registries are designed mostly to keep track of offenders, he said. “It’s not intended as a punishment.”

Gehrke said the registry, like the department of corrections, is a balancing act between keeping the public informed and safe and equipping convicts with the skills necessary to re-enter society and be contributing members of a community. He said he understands there are special concerns regarding convicted criminals, especially those who commit crimes against children, but added that it is the hope of the Utah Department of Corrections that an individual could complete their sentence and live a happy, productive, law-abiding life.

It will be up to voters to decide who between Jones and Lofgren best represents their interests in education. Lofgren declined to comment on the race and his opponent. He said that this year, like his first election in 2008, he is not running against someone but is running on his own ability and desire to help improve education in the Granite School District.

“When I ran four years ago, it was because I had a very strong sense that we could do better,” he said. “It’s not about who my opponent is, it’s about an opportunity.”

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Bomb Threat Prompts Evacuation Of Under Construction NSA Spy Facility On Military Base In Utah

May 21, 2012

UTAH – A bomb threat forced the evacuation of a National Security Agency facility under construction in Utah on Monday but investigators found nothing suspicious, an FBI spokeswoman said.

The site for the spy agency is being built at Camp Williams, a military base just south of Salt Lake City. The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the project.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Bertram declined to say how the threat was received but said it led to an evacuation at the site.

FBI agents spent several hours at the site after the threat was received. “We found nothing suspicious,” Bertram said.

U.S. officials have released few details on the purpose of the National Security Agency center.

The agency is in charge of collecting and analyzing foreign communications and protecting U.S. government communications and information systems.

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Clearfield Utah Police Officers Had Clothes Dryer Started, Knowing Teen Was Hiding Inside, Resulting In Injuries And A Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

May 19, 2012

CLEARFIELD, UTAH – A 19-year-old man is suing the Clearfield Police Department for taking him on a spin inside a clothes dryer.

The teen was hiding in a dryer at a friend’s home when police came knocking on the door during a New Year’s party. The teen said he hid in the dryer because he’s scared of police.

“I went to hide,” says Chandler Rose. “The closest thing was a dryer.”

He said someone helped him into the dryer once police arrived. The Clearfield police officer had a camera attached to his body and recorded his visit at the home. ABC 4 News obtained the video from Rose’s attorney.

Chandler said a friend helped him hide in the dryer and then cover him up with a comforter. Meanwhile police were asking questions inside the house. But it appeared they were focused on the dryer.

“They claim they watched him go into the dryer as they watched from outside the home,” said Rose’s attorney Loren Lambert. “But they said they didn’t see whether he came out or not.”

On the police officer’s video recording the following exchange happened between the officer and those at the party:

“Hey do you guys care if I do some laundry?”
“No go ahead.”
“It’s okay if I start that up?”
“So there’s no reason Ishouldn’t start the dryer?”
“You live here, do you mind starting it.”
“Okay, start it up.”

The officer asked someone in the home to hit the start button on the dryer. Rose said he couldn’t hear anyone from inside the dryer.

“Next thing I know I’m rolling in the dryer,” Rose says. “My lower back felt like it was being pounded by a fist.”

He said he was spinning for about ten times before it came to a stop. On the video recording the police officer filmed Rose coming out of the dryer and asking him:

“Did you have fun? Do you have I.D. on you?”
“Yeah.”
“That was pretty stupid wasn’t it?”
“Yup.”
“It was a dumb place to hide.”

Rose’s attorney said police knew someone was in the dryer all this time.

“He’s just playing with them,” Lambert says. “He’s enjoying the moment of showing them what he can do in that situation.”

On the video recording it does appear Rose was in a daze.

“I was unconscious and couldn’t talk very good,” he says.

He says he is still hurting from the spin cycle in the dryer. He claims to be going through rehabilation for his back which continues to give him pain.

Rose was the only person in the room cited for underage drinking. Last week he was fined $1300. And this week his attorney fired back, filing a civil rights lawsuit in federal court.

“They acted like a bunch of immature high schoolers,” says Rose. “They thought it was cute and funny and that’s now the way police should act.”

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Utah High School Making Cuts To Fine Arts Program After Federal Food Police Find Vending Machine That Wasn’t Turned Off For 47 Minutes A Day And Fine Then $15,000

May 17, 2012

UTAH – A Utah high school is learning the hard way that the government is serious about nudging students away from food it doesn’t want them to consume. Davis High School in the Salt Lake City area is having to fork over a whopping $15,000 in fines to the Feds because it accidentally sold soda through a vending machine during lunch.

Federal law requires the school to turn off its soda machines during the lunch period, which is 47 minutes a day. And Davis High school did turn off the machines in the lunch room. However, the school didn‘t realize that there was another machine in the school bookstore that wasn’t being turned off. And when the food police realized it, the school was hit with a $0.75 fine per student for the duration of the offense.

Now the school is going to have to cut money to fine arts programs to make up the cost.

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Salt Lake City Utah Police Officers In Now Disbanded Vice Unit Had Physical Contact With Prostitutes

May 15, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The detective was on his back. The prostitute was above him.

“I kissed her breasts and nipples, as there was no place for my face to go,” the undercover detective wrote in his report of a 2011 vice sting.
Photos

The Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board said there was some place else for his face to go. The review board also said the hands of some Salt Lake City police officers went places they shouldn’t.

The board found problems with how city vice detectives investigate prostitution and sexual or illegal massages. The problems were one reason that Chief Chris Burbank disbanded the vice unit earlier this year and reassigned its detectives.

In an interview Friday, Burbank said crimes traditionally investigated by the vice unit, including prostitution, human trafficking and liquor law violations, are being handled by other units. Burbank said he is considering a new organizational structure to address those crimes.

“Not that we’re getting out of vice enforcement,” Burbank said. “We’re just re-evaluating what vice will look like.”

Burbank also confirmed that some vice detectives were disciplined over the problems that were found. The sergeant over the unit received a 60-hour suspension for failure to properly train and monitor his subordinates, Burbank said. Other detectives received written reprimands or orders to undergo training on proper procedures.

One of the procedural mistakes Salt Lake City police made: Detectives in at least three cases in 2011 violated the department’s “no touch policy.”

In another case, vice detectives were investigating a massage parlor on 4500 South — outside the boundaries of Salt Lake City. Once there, the board found, detectives violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the business and its employees by conducting an improper search.

The board also found vice detectives were not booking evidence into storage in a timely manner and cited the lieutenant in charge of the vice unit for failure to properly supervise his subordinates.
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The Civilian Review Board issued its findings last month. The board is composed of citizens from across Salt Lake City who field complaints from citizens and investigate them independently of the police department. The review board report emphasized the errors appeared to have been made honestly and there was no criminal or malicious intent.

As far as touching suspects, reports from the review board indicate part of the problem was that vice detectives didn’t know which policies they were operating under. Old policies said undercover detectives could engage in some touching of suspects if they reported it afterward to their supervisors.

In May 2011, the police department amended the policy to prohibit touching. Despite the seemingly clear language, some detectives who worked undercover to catch prostitutes and illegal masseuses were confused about whether a small amount of touching was allowed and how they were supposed to prove their case in court if there had been no physical contact with the suspects.

In the Dec. 2, 2011, case of the detective who kissed the prostitute’s breasts, he argued it was not a policy violation since he had no control over her placing her breasts in his face. The review board disagreed, saying the kissing was a voluntary act on the detective’s part. The board said the detective committed “conduct unbecoming.”

On the same day the detective’s face was in the prostitute’s breasts, an undercover detective violated department policy by touching a masseuse’s vagina while she was rubbing him, the board found. The masseuse later told the review board investigator she believes the detective sexually assaulted her.

Burbank said the detective was not prosecuted in court.

“It did not rise to criminal conduct,” Burbank said.

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Veteran Utah National Guard Recruiter Arrested After Seeking Sex With Teen Via. Text Messages

May 8, 2012

RICHFIELD, UTAH – A Utah National Guard recruiter was arrested for soliciting sex from a Sevier County teen via text messages.

The Utah National Guard confirms that Richfield-based recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Wade Argyle, was arrested May 4 and booked into Sevier County Jail on suspicion of solicitation of a minor via text messages.

The UNG said that Argyle has been a full-time recruiter for seven years, and that he joined the Utah Guard in 1999.

The UNG said they were cooperating fully with authorities, and have turned over Argyle’s government-issued computer and mobile phone to investigators.

The UNG said Argyle has been placed on paid administrative leave and will have no involvement in recruiting activities and no access to Utah Guard facilities during the investigation.

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Dumbass TSA Agents Destroyed Teen Girl’s Insulin Pump At Salt Lake City Utah Airport

May 8, 2012

SALT L AKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A Colorado teen is upset with screeners at Salt Lake City International Airport. The type one diabetic says TSA agents were abrupt, rude and were responsible for breaking her $10,000 insulin pump. A pump she has to have to survive.

Savannah Barry is mad and on a mission. She wants travelers to be warned before they walk through TSA security. “They need to get with the program and have some education across the board for TSA.” After participating in a DECA conference in Salt Lake City with several classmates last week, Savannah, who is a type one diabetic and wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day, says she ran into TSA agents who were not prepared to deal with her medical situation. “I went up to the lady and I said, I am a type one diabetic. I wear an insulin pump. I showed her the pump. I said, what do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down – what would you recommend?”

Savannah then showed agents a doctor’s note explaining that the sensitive insulin pump should not go through the body scanner. She says she was told to go through it anyway. “When someone in a position of authority tells you it is – you think that its right. So, I said, Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It’s not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you’re fine.”

The 16-year-old walked into the scanner with some serious reservations “My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on.” She was right to be worried. She says the pump stopped working correctly. “Coming off an insulin pump is rough. You never know what is going to happen when you are not on the insulin pump.”

She says TSA agents then made the situation worse when they didn’t know what to do about her juice and insulin. “She said, because we don’t have the machines to scan the juice to make sure this is not an explosive we do have to do a full body pat down and search your through your bags.” Of course, that’s what she wanted in the first place, but it was too late.

Savannah believes TSA screeners need more training. And she says, until that happens – people with medical conditions need to be warned. “It’s unacceptable. And I don’t want other people to feel the way I felt.”

We asked TSA about the incident. We received an email that says “TSA is reviewing the passenger’s screening experience and will respond directly to the family. TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly.”
TSA also has a tollfree hotline for passengers with medical conditions. They can call it before hand to find out about policies and procedures. 1-855-787-2227.

Savannah (see picture) already has a new insulin pump. A company that heard her story quickly got it to her when she got back to Colorado.

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Utah Highway Patrol Officer Sgt. Andrew Davenport Fired After Brutally Beating 60 Year Old Female Motorist – Now An Ogden Police Officer, But Faces “Possible Decertification” By State

April 24, 2012

UTAH – A seasoned police officer has been terminated for repeatedly punching a woman in the head with a closed fist at a traffic stop.

Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Andrew Davenport pulled over 60-year-old Darla Wright after a police chase through Ogden in August, 2010.

Davenport, 37, claimed he was using ‘distraction blows’ because the woman refused to get out of her vehicle, and had disputed allegations he used excessive force.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Davenport was dismissed on January 19, 2011 after a five-month internal investigation. He appealed the decision to the board and was put on paid administrative leave.

A Utah Career Service Review Board report was released to the newspaper after a state open-records request.

According to the report, the board on October 26 upheld the firing of Davenport, who now works as an Ogden patrol officer.

The board found Davenport ‘violated numerous department polices regarding use of force, ethical conduct, use of mobile recording equipment and assault’, according to the Tribune.

The report said that Davenport failed basic skills on how and when to use force, and ‘could not be trusted to use it properly in the future.’

Officers claimed in an incident report that Wright was driving erratically and tried to avoid being pulled over.

During the chase, they finally managed to spin her vehicle to a halt by hitting the back of her car and sandwiched it between two police cars.

Dash camera footage shows Davenport running up to Wright’s vehicle, shouting, ‘Get out of the car!’ and asking her to roll down the window; but she refused to let go of the steering wheel.

‘The suspect was still trying to escape, she had the accelerator floored and engine revving in an attempt to push our vehicles out of the way,’ Davenport wrote in the incident report.

It was then that the video shows him smashing the driver’s side window and beginning to punch the woman, striking her repeatedly in the head and face.

Another officer is seen pointing a Taser at the startled woman from the back window.

The shocking images were captured by the camera on the police vehicle dashboard were released by the Utah Department of Public Safety in January, 2011.

‘She refused to comply with commands to give us her hands’, Sergeant Davenport wrote in his police report.

‘Due to my close proximity to the suspect and my experience with Taser failure at such close distances, I delivered three close hand strikes to her head in an attempt to gain compliance with our commands.

‘I did this to distract and stun her and to stop her from trying to drive off and strike our vehicles or possibly run us over. The strikes worked and we were able to grab her hands,’ he added.

According to the board report, Davenport shut off his microphone during the incident, and did not give directions to troopers about how to approach the vehicle.

One trooper is seen jumping over the hood of Wright’s car with a handgun, pointing it at her with Davenport in the line of fire.

Another trooper pointed a Taser in Wright’s direction through the back passenger side window.

The board said that closed-fist punches were not encouraged in the force, although strikes with a forearm or open hand are viewed as acceptable in force is needed to get someone out of a vehicle.

Wright was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI, reckless driving, eluding police, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer. She was taken to hospital and required stitches.

The charges against her were dismissed in January, 2011; she reached a reported $25,000 out-of-court settlement with the state.

Davenport was employed by the Utah Highway Patrol as a trooper for ‘several years’ and was promoted to sergeant in 2007, according to the Tribune.

A spokesman for the board said the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council was looking into Davenport’s conduct for possible decertification; however, no criminal charges have been filed.

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Hero To Zero: Hundreds Of Utah State Police 2007 “Trooper Of The Year” Lisa Steed’s DUI Called Into Question – Also Attacted Innocent Motorist With Taser Weapon

March 29, 2012

UTAH – Lisa Steed was named Utah Highway Patrol’s “Trooper of the Year” in 2007 for making more than 200 DUI arrests, but now all of her cases could be in question because she admitted she did not follow proper protocol while administering a DUI check.

It is the second time Steed’s DUI arrests have gained notoriety. A 2009 dashcam video shows her Tasering a motorist who was later determined to be sober.

“The cumulative facts may well have a significant ripple effect across every case she’s touched,” Salt Lake City attorney Joseph Jardine told ABCNews.com. “This could become the basis for overturning multiple convictions in the past.”

Jardine is representing Theron Alexander, who claims Steed violated procedure when she administered a breathalyzer test before a field sobriety test in March 2010.

“The credibility of an investigating officer is paramount. If you can’t trust the cop at their word, there’s very little left that you can trust with an investigation,” Jardine said.

At a court hearing on Tuesday, Steed admitted that she had removed her microphone during the incident in order to perform an unauthorized action.

“She specifically stated [Tuesday] that she took the microphone off so her superior wouldn’t know what she was doing,” Jardine said. “We’re concerned that she may have a tendency to stretch the truth when it suits her purposes. Our objective is to probe her credibility.”

Steed’s attorney Greg Skordas does not believe that the incident is any reflection of his client’s credibility.

“It doesn’t affect her credibility. It affects the way she does things, her ability to follow instructions,” Skordas told ABCNews.com. “It doesn’t mean she’s dishonest.”

Skordas said that Steed was simply trying to give the person she had pulled over “the benefit of the doubt” by skipping straight to the breathalyzer test and not having them get out of the car.

“It wasn’t anyone she knew. I think she was just being overly sensitive,” Skordas said. “There wasn’t any bad intent. It was one of those, no good deed goes unpunished.”

This is not Steed’s first run-in with the law. In 2009, a police car dashcam recording caught her Tasering a man during a DUI stop after he refuses to get out of his car, saying he’d like to call a lawyer.

The man, Ryan Jones, can be heard calmly saying, “Ma’am, please don’t shoot me with a Taser,” before Steed zaps him and he beings to scream. When Jones was eventually tested, his blood alcohol level was a 0.03, well below the legal limit.

The case was settled in November 2011 when the state paid Jones $40,000 without admitting wrongdoing.

When asked about the Taser case, Skordas said, “She took her lumps, she was reprimanded and we move on.”

“Unfortunately, you have 300 cases and two go south and then all of a sudden you have a history,” he said. “She wasn’t named Trooper of the Year because she has a history. She works very, very hard and had a couple of unfortunate incidents, which she also stepped up to the plate for.”

Steed has not been charged with a crime at this point, but Jardine believes she has a “huge insubordination problem” that needs to be dealt with.

“It’s hard to say why she would do it specifically,” Jardine said. “Is it pressure from her past achievements? Is it her desire to outdo the other officers in the state? Is it for advancement? Is it for all of the above? Who knows?”

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Utha Minors Will Need ID And Parental Permission For Tanning

February 22, 2012

UTAH – Minors who want to go to tanning salons would have to get parental permission on each visit under a bill passed Wednesday by the Utah Senate.

Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said parents have a responsibility to learn about the risks posed by the ultraviolet light from tanning beds, which she warned is a known carcinogen and 15 times more dangerous than midday sunlight.

“If you think it’s inconvenient for parents to be warned about the dangers of tanning, how inconvenient is it to take your children to chemotherapy treatments?” Jones asked.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, opposed SB41, arguing that parents be presented information on the risks and allowed to give consent annually. Jones called his amendment an attempt to “gut the bill,” and his effort failed.

The Senate passed the bill 18-9. It now goes to the House.

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Huge Demand For Painting Of Obama Trampling U.S. Constitution Crashes Source’s Website

February 8, 2012

PROVO, UTAH – Sales soared for a painting depicting Obama trampling on the Constitution after a story CBS Las Vegas produced last weekend went viral.

John McNaughton’s “The Forgotten Man” sold in one day “what we would sell in three months.”

The amount of traffic the story generated even crashed his website.

“I hate to think of the sales I lost with the site being down, but I’m pleased that the message got out,” he told CBS Las Vegas.

His webmaster needed to increase the amount of bandwidth for the site four times before it went back up Saturday night.

While sales of the painting went up, McNaughton said he got reactions from a “mixed bag of people” over the story.

“People really loved the painting and some were really angry,” he told CBS Las Vegas. “Our country is really divided and emotions run high on both sides of the aisle.”

Because of the delicate subject matter raised in his art, McNaughton was often accused of racism.

“I think racism is a legitimate issue. But I think if you want to speak out against Obama and his policies is one thing, but being called a racist gets tiresome when it has nothing to do with the painting.”

McNaughton was hesitant to paint “The Forgotten Man” before it was released in 2010, but “pushed to do it” despite his friends’ reservations.

Since “The Forgotten Man” was released, McNaughton painted what he described as “a sequel.”

The painting is called “Wake Up America” and it features “The Forgotten Man” trying to saw himself out of the chains of debt.

Throughout the tableau there are faces of sadness, blame, and desperation. President Obama is also prominently featured as a ring leader to the madness.

McNaughton also did another painting called “Via Dolorosa” in which historical figures bear witness to Jesus’ crucifixion.

“A lot of it has to do with modern day Christians and where they stand in history,” McNaughton said about the painting.

As for his next work, McNaughton is keeping the details under wraps.

“It’s called ‘One Nation Under Socialism.’ It’s political, but I want to keep it under my hat. I want to surprise people so there are no misconceptions.”

“One Nation Under Socialism” will be released in about a month.

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Snitches Exposed Across The United States As Hackers Target Law Enforcement Websites Worldwide

February 4, 2012

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Saboteurs stole passwords and sensitive information on tipsters while hacking into the websites of several law enforcement agencies worldwide in attacks attributed to the collective known as Anonymous.

Breaches were reported this week in Boston, Syracuse, N.Y., Salt Lake City and Greece.

Hackers gained access to the Salt Lake City Police Department website that gathers citizen complaints about drug and other crimes, including phone numbers, addresses and other personal data of informants, police said.

The website remained down Friday as police worked to make it more secure.

Boston Police Department’s website was hacked Friday morning by the group, which claimed retaliation for police action during the Occupy Boston eviction.

The hackers posted a music video by 80s rapper KRS-One on the website with a message that threatened “more mayhem.”

Friday’s incident was the second time BPD had been hacked. Hackers referenced the initial cyber attack in their statement on bpdnews.com.

“They clearly ignored our warnings, because not only did they raid the camp again and kicked protesters off of public parks, but they also sent undercover TSA agents to assualt (sic) and attempt to steal from some organizers,” a message read.

Boston police evicted Occupy protesters from Dewey Square back in December after the movement sued for a permanent injunction against the city and lost in court.

Forty-six people were arrested during that eviction.

Boston police issued a statement acknowledging the site had been hacked, saying they were working on fixing the problem.

“It is unfortunate that someone would go to this extent to compromise BPDNews.com, a helpful and informative public safety resource utilized daily by community members seeking up-to-date news and information about important safety matters,” a police spokesperson said.

Computer security experts are not surprised.

“There’s no such thing as an un-hackable website,” says Tim Lasonde, the president of Boston-based NSK, inc., an information technology company. “Vulnerabilities that get exploited have been around forever and there always will be those vulnerabilities.”

Boston Police have an active online presence. They say they have more Twitter followers than any police department in the world. They have the oldest police blog in the country, founded in 2005, and it gets up to 90,000 hits a month. Those factors may have made this department a more attractive target.

Anonymous is a collection of Internet enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included financial institutions such as Visa and MasterCard, the Church of Scientology and law enforcement agencies.

Following a spate of arrests across the world, the group and its various offshoots have focused their attention on law enforcement agencies in general and the FBI in particular.

The group also claimed responsibility for recently hacking the website of a Virginia law firm that represented a U.S. Marine involved in the deaths of civilians in Iraq in 2005.

Anonymous also published a recording on the internet Friday of a phone call between the FBI and Scotland Yard, gloating in a Twitter message that, “the FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now.”

In Greece, the Justice Ministry took down its site Friday after a video by activists claiming to be Greek and Cypriot members of Anonymous was displayed for at least two hours.

Salt Lake City authorities continued their investigation and said criminal charges were being considered.

Police said the group Anonymous had taken credit for the attack through local media but hadn’t contacted the department directly.

The hackers claim to have targeted the site in opposition to an anti-graffiti paraphernalia bill that eventually failed in the state Senate. The bill would have made it illegal to possess any instrument, tool or device with the intent of vandalizing an area with graffiti.

Salt Lake City police Detective Josh Ashdown downplayed any danger to citizens.

He said the department’s website is used by residents to report crimes or suspicious activity, and that some submit the tips anonymously while others include personal information.

Ashdown said investigators believe the group is bluffing about the extent of the information it got from the website, and he noted authorities didn’t think any of the details would be widely distributed.

He said police don’t have any reason to believe that citizens who reported crimes on the website are going to be targeted specifically.

“Our main concern is for the public not to lose confidence in the department,” Ashdown said.

In New York, Syracuse police said the department website had also been hacked in an attack attributed to Anonymous.

Sgt. Tom Connellan said names and passwords of people authorized to alter the site were stolen earlier this week and posted on Twitter.

No private information about officers or citizens was accessed, he said, though the site remained down Friday while the FBI and state police continued to investigate. In an online post attributed to Anonymous, the group claims to have targeted the Syracuse site for failing to aggressively pursue child abuse allegations against a former assistant basketball coach.

Another incident struck the website of the Alexandria, Va., law firm of Puckett & Faraj, which represented a U.S. Marine convicted of negligent dereliction of duty in a 2005 attack in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of 24 unarmed civilians.

Attorney Neal Puckett did not immediately return a telephone message and email seeking comment Friday.

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Ogden Utah Wants To Use Blimp To Spy On Its Citizens

September 23, 2011

OGDEN, UTAH – A patrol car fitted with all of the police extras cost $40,000; a surveillance blimp will cost well below that — possibly as low as $15,000; after that, it is $100 a week to keep it filled with helium and charge its electric batteries; the police in Ogden, Utah, decides this is a good deal

Ogden, Utah adds its police to the list of those using blimps // Source: alea.org

The police chief in Ogden, Utah, said the city could launch a surveillance blimp by Christmas as part of the city’s crime-fighting efforts.

The 54-foot-long craft will be equipped multiple cameras and operated by pilots via remote control. It would run for five to seven hours at a time at an altitude of around 400 feet.

“Nobody else in the nation is trying to do this, so the FAA has no regulations for it,” said Police Chief Jon Greiner. The Standard-Examiner reports that the FAA recently approved the first step of the blimp proposal, a 25-page administrative application — but that this is only the first of five steps before the police would be allowed to use the blimp.

FAA officials will visit Ogden at some point to view the blimp in action.

Chief Griener says that that a patrol car fitted with all of the police extras cost $40,000, but the blimp will cost well below that — possibly as low as $15,000. After that, it is $100 a week to keep it filled with helium and charge its electric batteries, one for the propeller and one for the cameras.

The blimp can follow a preprogrammed route, or be instructed to follow a single individual or vehicle.

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Vernal Utah Police Charge Man Who Paid $25 Medical Bill With Pennies

June 4, 2011

VERNAL, UTAH – City officials say a Uintah County man was recently cited for paying a medical bill with pennies.

According to a release from Vernal City on Friday, May 27, Vernal resident Jason West entered Basin (medical) Clinic prepared to dispute a bill of $25.00 that he allegedly owed.

After asking if they accepted cash, city officials say West dumped 2500 pennies onto the counter and demanded that they count it. The pennies were strewn about the counter and the floor, and when West was advised that the police would be called, he left.

City officials say West was later contacted by the Vernal Police Department and issued a citation for Disorderly Conduct.

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Federal Lawsuit Charges Sandy Utah Police Officers Thomas Tuft, Cody Stromberg and Matt Dominguez With Beating Good Samaritan

May 2, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — An apparent Good Samaritan who attempted to render first aid at an accident scene claims in a federal lawsuit that three Sandy police officers beat him up.

Returning to his Sandy home on May 2, 2009, Andrew Mismash, 42, came across a crash involving a motorcycle and a truck in front of his yard. He asked the motorcyclist, who was bleeding profusely from his head, if he needed help and then retrieved first aid supplies from his house, according to the complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Mismash, the suit says, was helping the man when a Sandy police officer started verbally abusing the victim. The motorcyclist asked the officer to call for medical assistance, but the officer told him to shut up, the lawsuit states.

Mismash, too, requested that police call for medical help and was told to leave the scene, the suit says.

As he walked toward his house, two officers pushed him from behind onto the tailgate of a truck parked in his driveway, according to the suit. A third officer then punched him in the back before the other two slammed him to the ground. An officer, the suit says, continued to strike him in the back, grab and pull at his arms, and then drove a knee into his calves.

“Mr. Mismash had not done anything, other than rendering first aid to the injured motorcyclist,” according to the complaint.

Names in the complaint are the city of Sandy, Sandy Police Department, Chief Stephen Chapman and officers Thomas Tuft, Cody Stromberg and Matt Dominguez. The suit seeks an unspecified amount for violations of Mishmash’s civil rights, medical expenses, lost wages and general damages and at least $50,000 in punitive damages.

Sandy police spokesman Sgt. John Arnold said he recalled the incident but was not aware of the lawsuit.

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Orem Utah Cop Wannabe Caught Selling Drugs To Pay For Police Academy

August 26, 2010

OREM, UTAH – While police officers arrest pot dealers fairly frequently, Orem police officers heard a pretty unusual reason for the illegal activity during an arrest this weekend.

The 20-year-old man said he was dealing the drugs to save up for the police academy.

“It’s probably not the first time this has happened, but this is the first time I’ve heard of someone admitting it,” said Orem Sgt. Craig Martinez. “Most drug dealers wouldn’t say they were trying to save up to become a cop.”

The man was arrested after Orem police were told he was dealing drugs and obtained a search warrant for his home. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a controlled substance for pills he had and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He is in the Utah County Jail on an $1,850 bond.

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Federal Court Of Appeals Rules Against State Of Utah And Highway Patrol Association’s Roadside Crosses

August 18, 2010

UTAH – Memorial crosses erected along Utah public roads to honor fallen state highway troopers have been found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the 14 large crosses would be viewed by most passing motorists as “government’s endorsement of Christianity.”

“We hold that these memorials have the impermissible effect of conveying to the reasonable observer the message that the state prefers or otherwise endorses a certain religion,” concluded the Denver, Colorado-based court. The state of Utah and a private trooper association have the option of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Texas-based group, American Atheists, successfully sued five years ago to have the nonprofit memorial project scrapped, and the crosses removed from public property.

At issue was whether the crosses violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, by having the government endorsing the Christian symbols, even if indirectly.

Although the suit went against the memorial project, the crosses were allowed to remain pending appeals in the case. They are still in place.

The Utah Highway Patrol Association in 1998 began erecting the monuments, which contain the fallen trooper’s name, rank, and badge number. A picture of the officer and some biographical information is included on a separate plaque placed where the two bars of the cross meet. The state insignia is also included, which the judges in particular raised with constitutional concerns.

The service group said their main message was not religious in nature, but among other things, to serve as “a lasting reminder to UHPA members and Utah highway patrol troopers that a fellow trooper gave his life in service to this state” and to “encourage safe conduct on the highways.”

While placed on public land and with the state’s permission, the crosses themselves are privately owned and maintained. The state expressly noted it “neither approves or disapproves of the memorial marker.”

In rejecting the crosses, the appeals court made several arguments, such as the large size and location of the crosses — on busy public highways where motorists cannot help but notice. Other similar memorial crosses have been erected on public land such as Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen war dead. But the judges noted those markers are generally accessible or visible only to those who expressly choose to visit them, unlike roads where citizens cannot help but see them.

The Supreme Court has in recent years taken a case-by-case approach to Establishment Clause cases. The justices in 1947 said the government needed to be “neutral” but “not an adversary” toward religion. The court has upheld legislative chaplaincies, tax exemptions for churches, and the mention of “God” on U.S. currency and in oaths of office.

At the same time, government-sponsored school prayer is banned, and limits imposed on aid to parochial schools.

The court’s record on religious displays on public land is more mixed, with “context” a key criteria. The justices last year decided on free-speech grounds a small religious group could not erect a granite monument in a Utah park next to an existing Ten Commandments display, which for the time being was allowed to stay.

And this past June, the conservative majority of the court concluded a cross designed as war memorial in lonely stretch of national parkland in the California desert did not violate the constitutional separation of church and state.

In 2005, a Ten Commandments monument on the Texas statehouse grounds was allowed to stand, since it was surrounded by historical markers. But the same day Ten Commandment parchments in two Kentucky county courthouses were ruled unconstitutional, with the high court majority calling them “a governmental effort substantially to promote religion, not simply an effort primarily to reflect, historically, the secular impact of a religiously inspired document.”

And some nativity scenes and menorahs placed in public parks during December have been allowed to stand, while some were ordered removed.

The 10th Circuit rejected arguments from the UHPA that many roads contain crosses or other religious symbols placed by private individuals honoring a dead relative killed in car accidents.

“The mere fact that the cross is a common symbol used in roadside memorials does not mean it is a secular symbol,” said the panel. “The massive size of the crosses displayed on Utah’s rights-of-way and public property unmistakably conveys a message of endorsement, proselytization, and aggrandizement of religion that is far different from the more humble spirit of small roadside crosses.”

The judges also disregarded suggestions that since most of the deceased troopers were Mormon, where the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not uses the cross as a religious symbol, the highway memorials were merely symbols of death and did not promote a a particular faith.

There was no immediate reaction to the opinion from American Atheists or the UHPA.

The case is American Atheists v. Duncan (08-4061).

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Trial Clears Teen Of Bogus Disorderly Conduct Charge By American Fork Utah Police

May 19, 2010

AMERICAN FORK, UTAH – Yo yo yo! Not guilty, dawg.

The trial of the century it was not. But Tuesday, 4th District Judge Thomas Low found Spenser Dauwalder, 18, not guilty of disorderly conduct for rapping his order at a McDonald’s drive-through in American Fork last fall.

The Lone Peak High School student and his friends rapped their order over an iPod recording in imitation of a video they had seen on YouTube. They then repeated the rap at a slower pace, ignoring a request to order normally or leave.

The judge found that Dauwalder did not engage in any threatening behavior or create any unreasonable noise as required for a disorderly conduct conviction in the Oct. 27 incident. He faced a fine of up to $750.

During the ponderous two-hour trial Tuesday, attorneys presented evidence that included surveillance footage at the restaurant, cell phone recordings of the rap, testimony from the officer who cited them and from McDonald’s employees.

The restaurant manager told police that as the teens drove away that night, Dauwalder yelled at her, “I hate this (expletive) McDonald’s anyway.” Prosecutors said he “acted in an angry, threatening, tumultuous manner” and sped recklessly out of the parking lot.
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“The song on the cell phone itself was actually kind of creative,” American Fork police officer Keith Southard testified. “It was what happened afterward that created an issue.”

The video footage played several times at the trial showed the youths pulling into the drive-through. Eventually, manager Eileen Timoko is seen approaching the car for a brief conversation. The car pulls out of the lane and exits a few seconds after she walks out of view toward the restaurant.

Timoko testified that she felt threatened and was initially afraid the teens were following her in the car.

“That’s why I called the cops. I don’t care that they were rapping,” she said.

Dauwalder denied following her or using profanity, although he said one of his friends yelled a curse word when they were told to order normally.

The other three teens face juvenile court proceedings that were put on hold until Dauwalder’s case was resolved.

Defense attorney Ann Boyle argued that singing an order, whether profanity was used or not, is speech that is protected by both the federal and Utah constitutions. She said she took the case for free because she believed his free speech rights were violated, adding that she believes police throughout Utah County have been inappropriately handing out disorderly conduct citations for speech instead of behavior.

“Anytime anyone infringes someone’s First Amendment rights, it’s not a small matter,” Boyle said.

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Ogden Utah City Hall Officials Piss Away Tax Dollars In 10 Year Losing Battle Over Sign

February 2, 2009

OGDEN, UTAH – It could be seen as a battle over a sign. But perhaps more accurately, it’s the story of one man’s decade-long war with City Hall.

And, it’s been a beauty.

Last week, Ogden’s Landmarks Commission approved Bruce Edwards’ proposal to restore a sign on his historic C.C. Keller Building on 25th Street — a full 10 years after his original request.

“I outlasted ’em,” Edwards chortled Thursday. “And the bottom line is, I was right.”

The original wording, dating back to about 1910 and painted on the north side of the two-story brick structure, is still barely visible: “Every hour upon the hour for about an hour Drink Becker’s Beer — Ogden’s Famous Beer.”

But in 1998, the Landmarks Commission — whose membership has now changed — gave the sign restoration a big thumbs down.

“One of the members said, ‘We can’t have beer on that sign; we want 25th Street to be family oriented,” Edwards recalled.

The decision ignited a feud between Edwards and City Hall — most notably with Mayor Matthew Godfrey — at least in Edwards’ telling of it.

The mayor responded Friday by saying that any feud is in the mind of Edwards.

“I feel sorry for Bruce,” Godfrey said. “I think he has personal issues.”

Snubbed by the city, Edwards in 2000 put up a large sign in the window of his then-vacant building, saying, “Why would anybody do business in Ogden? It’s the dope capital
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of Utah.”

“Dope” didn’t refer to illicit drugs, Edwards explained. It was his description of the folks at City Hall.

With the 2002 Winter Games looming and the Olympic torch scheduled to run past Edwards’ building, the then-City Council worried the town could be in for some bad publicity, recalled Councilwoman Amy Wicks, who was not on the panel at that time.

“Bruce had a bone to pick with the mayor and council,” she said. “And some of them had a bone to pick with him.”

That council responded with an ordinance forbidding such signs. Edwards called the American Civil Liberties Union and the feud moved to court where, in 2005, 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin ruled in favor of Edwards, saying Ogden had usurped his First Amendment rights: “The sweeping ban understandably would dismay the average American … who would be surprised to learn he could not display flags, religious symbols, political placards, or even bumper stickers in the windows of his vacant building.”

To this day, Edwards has signs in his windows, including one with a big likeness of the mayor with a Pinocchio nose and the words, “Indict Gondola Godfrey” — a backhanded reference to the mayor’s support on a gondola transit system.

But after the court ruling, the Landmark Commission again denied Edwards’ restoration request.

It was back to court again. This time Edwards lost on a technicality: He had waited too long from the commission’s 2000 denial.

So, in 2008, he applied again.

A new Landmarks Commission said OK.

Penny Allred, a 25th Street proprietor at Two Bit Street Cafe, agrees that City Hall didn’t treat Edwards fairly.

“Had they done that, a lot of this nitpicking back and forth could have been avoided,” she said.

Says Allred: “I would like to hope the city would get a little smarter.”

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Ogden Utah City Hall Officials Piss Away Tax Dollars In 10 Year Losing Battle Over Sign

February 2, 2009

OGDEN, UTAH – It could be seen as a battle over a sign. But perhaps more accurately, it’s the story of one man’s decade-long war with City Hall.

And, it’s been a beauty.

Last week, Ogden’s Landmarks Commission approved Bruce Edwards’ proposal to restore a sign on his historic C.C. Keller Building on 25th Street — a full 10 years after his original request.

“I outlasted ’em,” Edwards chortled Thursday. “And the bottom line is, I was right.”

The original wording, dating back to about 1910 and painted on the north side of the two-story brick structure, is still barely visible: “Every hour upon the hour for about an hour Drink Becker’s Beer — Ogden’s Famous Beer.”

But in 1998, the Landmarks Commission — whose membership has now changed — gave the sign restoration a big thumbs down.

“One of the members said, ‘We can’t have beer on that sign; we want 25th Street to be family oriented,” Edwards recalled.

The decision ignited a feud between Edwards and City Hall — most notably with Mayor Matthew Godfrey — at least in Edwards’ telling of it.

The mayor responded Friday by saying that any feud is in the mind of Edwards.

“I feel sorry for Bruce,” Godfrey said. “I think he has personal issues.”

Snubbed by the city, Edwards in 2000 put up a large sign in the window of his then-vacant building, saying, “Why would anybody do business in Ogden? It’s the dope capital
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of Utah.”

“Dope” didn’t refer to illicit drugs, Edwards explained. It was his description of the folks at City Hall.

With the 2002 Winter Games looming and the Olympic torch scheduled to run past Edwards’ building, the then-City Council worried the town could be in for some bad publicity, recalled Councilwoman Amy Wicks, who was not on the panel at that time.

“Bruce had a bone to pick with the mayor and council,” she said. “And some of them had a bone to pick with him.”

That council responded with an ordinance forbidding such signs. Edwards called the American Civil Liberties Union and the feud moved to court where, in 2005, 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin ruled in favor of Edwards, saying Ogden had usurped his First Amendment rights: “The sweeping ban understandably would dismay the average American … who would be surprised to learn he could not display flags, religious symbols, political placards, or even bumper stickers in the windows of his vacant building.”

To this day, Edwards has signs in his windows, including one with a big likeness of the mayor with a Pinocchio nose and the words, “Indict Gondola Godfrey” — a backhanded reference to the mayor’s support on a gondola transit system.

But after the court ruling, the Landmark Commission again denied Edwards’ restoration request.

It was back to court again. This time Edwards lost on a technicality: He had waited too long from the commission’s 2000 denial.

So, in 2008, he applied again.

A new Landmarks Commission said OK.

Penny Allred, a 25th Street proprietor at Two Bit Street Cafe, agrees that City Hall didn’t treat Edwards fairly.

“Had they done that, a lot of this nitpicking back and forth could have been avoided,” she said.

Says Allred: “I would like to hope the city would get a little smarter.”

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Former Utah State Police Officer Brian Smith Dies After Oxycontin Robbery, Randomly Killing Innocent Dallas Texas Motorists, And Shooting Himself During Standoff With Police

December 25, 2008

DALLAS, TEXAS – A Keller man who is suspected of killing two men during a crime spree Monday has died.

Brian Smith, a former Utah state trooper and the father of five children, died at 6 p.m. at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, a spokesman said.

Smith shot himself early Tuesday after a standoff with police in Garland.

Two days after the bizarre chain of events that led to the fatal shootings in Garland and Dallas, family and friends struggled to understand the actions of Smith.

“When he was here, he was just the best of neighbors. One of the greatest guys I know,” said Cindi Schut, who lived across the street from the Smith family in Herriman, a suburb of Salt Lake City, for three years. “I can’t image him being anything else.”

Two years ago, when Schut’s son, Dallin, was 9, he was assigned to write an essay about a hero. He chose Smith.

Dallin still cherishes the small mahogany box with the governor’s seal that Smith gave him after reading the essay, Schut said. The box was a gift from Gov. Mike Leavitt to Smith, who served as Leavitt’s body guard for several years.

The Smiths have four boys and one girl, Schut said. The oldest is 9, the youngest an infant.

Smith volunteered with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in Utah, Schut said. The family was also active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she said.

At some point, Smith hurt his back and couldn’t shovel snow, Schut said, so he borrowed their snow blower “and he loved it so much, he would do everybody else’s, too.”

“I want people to know this is not who he is,” Schut said. “Something has happened to change him because he’s not that kind of a person at all.”

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Smith began abusing alcohol and prescription drugs after an on-duty traffic accident, according to a Utah Police Officer Standards and Training investigation report.

Utah Department of Public Safety officials could not provide details Wednesday about when the accident happened or the severity of Smith’s injuries. But in January, he threatened to kill himself after drinking heavily, according to the report.

The incident prompted an investigation that led to Smith surrendering his law enforcement certification in May.

In late March, Smith and his wife bought a $275,000, 3,200-square-foot home on Branchview Court in Keller, according to public records. Friends and colleagues said Smith was excited about a job opportunity in North Texas, but details were scarce.

The family was well-received in the Highland Creek Estates subdivision. Tracie Gates said her children and Smith’s children played together.

Sometimes they would all go over to sit on the stone lion statues that Gates has on either side of her front walkway. Sometimes they would catch frogs and release them into a nearby pond, she said.

Attempts to contact Smith’s relatives were unsuccessful.

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Earlier this month, Southlake police obtained arrest warrants for Smith accusing him of two crimes, said Sgt. Mike Bedrich, a police spokesman.

The first, an aggravated robbery, occurred Dec. 17 in the 600 block of East Farm Road 1709 — also known as Southlake Boulevard — Bedrich said. About midday, a woman sitting in her car in a strip mall parking lot was approached by a male and sprayed with pepper spray or something similar, Bedrich said Wednesday.

The man then reached over the woman and grabbed her purse. Police later obtained surveillance video of the suspect using the victim’s credit cards.

On Monday, a purse was taken from an unoccupied vehicle in the 1500 block of Farm Road 1709, Bedrich said. He declined to specify what evidence linked the crime to Smith.

The arrest warrants remain unserved, Bedrich said Wednesday.

It was later Monday, at 5:25 p.m., when a man who identified himself as Brian Smith robbed a Kroger pharmacy in Garland, police spokesman Joe Harn said.

The man said he was there to refill a prescription for OxyContin, Harn said. He then produced a handgun, jumped over the counter and grabbed the drug before fleeing.

Minutes later, Jorge Lopez, 20 of Rowlett, was fatally shot at an intersection north of Interstate 635 in Garland. Next, shots were fired at an 18-wheeler on I-635 near Jupiter Road, but the driver was not hit. Minutes later, more shots were fired at another 18-wheeler, and driver, William Scott Miller, 42 of Kentucky was killed. Shots were then fired at a third 18-wheeler and the driver was hit by flying glass.

As Dallas County police searched for the rush-hour gunman Monday, Southlake police relayed information that Smith might be in the area, armed and suicidal, driving his Honda CRV.

It remained unclear Wednesday how Southlake authorities got that information, Bedrich said.

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Until the tip from Southlake police, Dallas County authorities had been working with a witness description indicating that the Garland shooter was driving a tan Ford F150 pickup.

About 9 p.m. Monday, Garland police found Smith in the Honda. He did not respond to officers’ orders, and a SWAT team was called in.

Early Tuesday, he shot himself and was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, police said.

Police are awaiting ballistics tests to compare the bullets from Smith’s vehicle with the other shootings. Dallas police have said early results indicate Smith was the shooter.

On Wednesday, Harn declined to comment on the tests until they are complete but said the results and further investigation could explain whether two different vehicles were involved.

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Former Utah State Police Officer Brian Smith Dies After Oxycontin Robbery, Randomly Killing Innocent Dallas Texas Motorists, And Shooting Himself During Standoff With Police

December 25, 2008

DALLAS, TEXAS – A Keller man who is suspected of killing two men during a crime spree Monday has died.

Brian Smith, a former Utah state trooper and the father of five children, died at 6 p.m. at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, a spokesman said.

Smith shot himself early Tuesday after a standoff with police in Garland.

Two days after the bizarre chain of events that led to the fatal shootings in Garland and Dallas, family and friends struggled to understand the actions of Smith.

“When he was here, he was just the best of neighbors. One of the greatest guys I know,” said Cindi Schut, who lived across the street from the Smith family in Herriman, a suburb of Salt Lake City, for three years. “I can’t image him being anything else.”

Two years ago, when Schut’s son, Dallin, was 9, he was assigned to write an essay about a hero. He chose Smith.

Dallin still cherishes the small mahogany box with the governor’s seal that Smith gave him after reading the essay, Schut said. The box was a gift from Gov. Mike Leavitt to Smith, who served as Leavitt’s body guard for several years.

The Smiths have four boys and one girl, Schut said. The oldest is 9, the youngest an infant.

Smith volunteered with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in Utah, Schut said. The family was also active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she said.

At some point, Smith hurt his back and couldn’t shovel snow, Schut said, so he borrowed their snow blower “and he loved it so much, he would do everybody else’s, too.”

“I want people to know this is not who he is,” Schut said. “Something has happened to change him because he’s not that kind of a person at all.”

subhede

Smith began abusing alcohol and prescription drugs after an on-duty traffic accident, according to a Utah Police Officer Standards and Training investigation report.

Utah Department of Public Safety officials could not provide details Wednesday about when the accident happened or the severity of Smith’s injuries. But in January, he threatened to kill himself after drinking heavily, according to the report.

The incident prompted an investigation that led to Smith surrendering his law enforcement certification in May.

In late March, Smith and his wife bought a $275,000, 3,200-square-foot home on Branchview Court in Keller, according to public records. Friends and colleagues said Smith was excited about a job opportunity in North Texas, but details were scarce.

The family was well-received in the Highland Creek Estates subdivision. Tracie Gates said her children and Smith’s children played together.

Sometimes they would all go over to sit on the stone lion statues that Gates has on either side of her front walkway. Sometimes they would catch frogs and release them into a nearby pond, she said.

Attempts to contact Smith’s relatives were unsuccessful.

subhede

Earlier this month, Southlake police obtained arrest warrants for Smith accusing him of two crimes, said Sgt. Mike Bedrich, a police spokesman.

The first, an aggravated robbery, occurred Dec. 17 in the 600 block of East Farm Road 1709 — also known as Southlake Boulevard — Bedrich said. About midday, a woman sitting in her car in a strip mall parking lot was approached by a male and sprayed with pepper spray or something similar, Bedrich said Wednesday.

The man then reached over the woman and grabbed her purse. Police later obtained surveillance video of the suspect using the victim’s credit cards.

On Monday, a purse was taken from an unoccupied vehicle in the 1500 block of Farm Road 1709, Bedrich said. He declined to specify what evidence linked the crime to Smith.

The arrest warrants remain unserved, Bedrich said Wednesday.

It was later Monday, at 5:25 p.m., when a man who identified himself as Brian Smith robbed a Kroger pharmacy in Garland, police spokesman Joe Harn said.

The man said he was there to refill a prescription for OxyContin, Harn said. He then produced a handgun, jumped over the counter and grabbed the drug before fleeing.

Minutes later, Jorge Lopez, 20 of Rowlett, was fatally shot at an intersection north of Interstate 635 in Garland. Next, shots were fired at an 18-wheeler on I-635 near Jupiter Road, but the driver was not hit. Minutes later, more shots were fired at another 18-wheeler, and driver, William Scott Miller, 42 of Kentucky was killed. Shots were then fired at a third 18-wheeler and the driver was hit by flying glass.

As Dallas County police searched for the rush-hour gunman Monday, Southlake police relayed information that Smith might be in the area, armed and suicidal, driving his Honda CRV.

It remained unclear Wednesday how Southlake authorities got that information, Bedrich said.

subhede

Until the tip from Southlake police, Dallas County authorities had been working with a witness description indicating that the Garland shooter was driving a tan Ford F150 pickup.

About 9 p.m. Monday, Garland police found Smith in the Honda. He did not respond to officers’ orders, and a SWAT team was called in.

Early Tuesday, he shot himself and was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, police said.

Police are awaiting ballistics tests to compare the bullets from Smith’s vehicle with the other shootings. Dallas police have said early results indicate Smith was the shooter.

On Wednesday, Harn declined to comment on the tests until they are complete but said the results and further investigation could explain whether two different vehicles were involved.

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Update: Man Suspected In Series Of Dallas Texas Road Shootings Is Former Utah State Police Trooper Brian Smith – Attempted Suicide During Standoff

December 24, 2008

DALLAS, TEXAS – A man suspected in a series of rush-hour shootings near Dallas is a former Utah state trooper wanted on burglary and robbery warrants who apparently shot himself after a standoff with police, authorities said Tuesday.

Brian Smith, 37, killed at least one of the victims of Monday’s shootings, police Lt. Craig Miller said. Investigators linked Smith to a killing in Dallas by matching the bullets found at the standoff, he said.

“We feel safe in saying (Smith) … was the shooter,” Miller said.

Dallas police declined to comment on a second death in neighboring Garland, where the standoff took place, because it was out of their jurisdiction.

Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said his department has not been able to make a definitive connection between Smith and the killing there, but he acknowledged that Smith fit the description of the highway shooter: a balding, 40ish white man.

“We certainly hope it is him,” Harn said. “But we are going to have to see more concrete evidence.”

Two people were shot and killed and another was injured by broken glass in four shootings along or near a Dallas-area highway Monday evening. Police believe the victims were selected at random.

Smith was in critical condition Tuesday night at a Dallas hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said he shot himself in the head early Tuesday morning after a brief standoff more than six hours after the shooting spree ended.

Smith had been a Utah state trooper since 1996 but retired in May because of “personal issues,” said Sgt. Jeff Nigbur, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety.

The crime spree appears to have begun in Garland, where a man police identified as Smith jumped over a pharmacy counter at a grocery store and stole OxyContin pills.

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Update: Man Suspected In Series Of Dallas Texas Road Shootings Is Former Utah State Police Trooper Brian Smith – Attempted Suicide During Standoff

December 24, 2008

DALLAS, TEXAS – A man suspected in a series of rush-hour shootings near Dallas is a former Utah state trooper wanted on burglary and robbery warrants who apparently shot himself after a standoff with police, authorities said Tuesday.

Brian Smith, 37, killed at least one of the victims of Monday’s shootings, police Lt. Craig Miller said. Investigators linked Smith to a killing in Dallas by matching the bullets found at the standoff, he said.

“We feel safe in saying (Smith) … was the shooter,” Miller said.

Dallas police declined to comment on a second death in neighboring Garland, where the standoff took place, because it was out of their jurisdiction.

Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said his department has not been able to make a definitive connection between Smith and the killing there, but he acknowledged that Smith fit the description of the highway shooter: a balding, 40ish white man.

“We certainly hope it is him,” Harn said. “But we are going to have to see more concrete evidence.”

Two people were shot and killed and another was injured by broken glass in four shootings along or near a Dallas-area highway Monday evening. Police believe the victims were selected at random.

Smith was in critical condition Tuesday night at a Dallas hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said he shot himself in the head early Tuesday morning after a brief standoff more than six hours after the shooting spree ended.

Smith had been a Utah state trooper since 1996 but retired in May because of “personal issues,” said Sgt. Jeff Nigbur, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety.

The crime spree appears to have begun in Garland, where a man police identified as Smith jumped over a pharmacy counter at a grocery store and stole OxyContin pills.

Appeared Here


Former Utah Police Officer Brian Smith Does The Right Thing And Attempts Suicide After Four Shootings In Dallas Texas

December 24, 2008

DALLAS, TEXAS – A former Utah policeman is a suspect in at least three of Monday’s four rush-hour shootings near Dallas, Texas, including one of two fatal attacks, police said Tuesday.

The suspect, Brian Smith, tried to commit suicide after the Monday-evening shootings and was in a hospital in serious condition, Dallas police detective Lt. Craig Miller said.

Police used ballistic tests to link Smith, a Utah state police officer for 12 years, to the shootings in which one driver was killed, one was injured by shattered glass and one escaped uninjured, Dallas police detective Lt. Craig Miller said.

Miller said it is unclear if Smith was involved in the other fatal shooting, which was the first attack of the evening.

Four motorists were attacked along a three-mile stretch near and on the LBJ Freeway, about 10 miles northeast of downtown Dallas, on Monday evening, police said.

The first attack, which happened in Garland, Texas, about 5:41 p.m., killed Jorge Lopez. Garland police said Lopez, 20, was sitting in his Nissan at a traffic light when a man in a pickup pulled alongside him and fired shots into his car, killing him.

A few minutes after the Garland shooting and two miles away on LBJ Freeway, a gunman fired at two tractor-trailers.

While one driver escaped injuries, William Scott Miller, 42, of Frankfort, Kentucky, was shot to death behind the wheel of a United Van Lines truck, police said.

“He was going to be traveling home,” Craig Miller said. “He was about to park his rig. He was going to get on a plane to fly to be with his wife and children for the Christmas season and then come back to this location.”

Miller called the truck driver a hero, saying he was able to control his rig before he died — preventing other motorists from being hurt.

The fourth attack came a mile west on LBJ Freeway when gunfire shattered the windshield of another tractor-trailer. The bullets missed the driver, but flying glass caused minor cuts, police said.

Miller said video from the Garland shooting is available, and specialists were trying to enhance it to bring out details. Businesses along the other routes also may have video that will help police, he said.

A friend of Lopez’s said he was “a straight-up good guy, never had problems with anybody, never started anything with anybody.”

“So that’s why this seems so out of the blue,” Lopez’s friend said.

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Former Utah Police Officer Brian Smith Does The Right Thing And Attempts Suicide After Four Shootings In Dallas Texas

December 24, 2008

DALLAS, TEXAS – A former Utah policeman is a suspect in at least three of Monday’s four rush-hour shootings near Dallas, Texas, including one of two fatal attacks, police said Tuesday.

The suspect, Brian Smith, tried to commit suicide after the Monday-evening shootings and was in a hospital in serious condition, Dallas police detective Lt. Craig Miller said.

Police used ballistic tests to link Smith, a Utah state police officer for 12 years, to the shootings in which one driver was killed, one was injured by shattered glass and one escaped uninjured, Dallas police detective Lt. Craig Miller said.

Miller said it is unclear if Smith was involved in the other fatal shooting, which was the first attack of the evening.

Four motorists were attacked along a three-mile stretch near and on the LBJ Freeway, about 10 miles northeast of downtown Dallas, on Monday evening, police said.

The first attack, which happened in Garland, Texas, about 5:41 p.m., killed Jorge Lopez. Garland police said Lopez, 20, was sitting in his Nissan at a traffic light when a man in a pickup pulled alongside him and fired shots into his car, killing him.

A few minutes after the Garland shooting and two miles away on LBJ Freeway, a gunman fired at two tractor-trailers.

While one driver escaped injuries, William Scott Miller, 42, of Frankfort, Kentucky, was shot to death behind the wheel of a United Van Lines truck, police said.

“He was going to be traveling home,” Craig Miller said. “He was about to park his rig. He was going to get on a plane to fly to be with his wife and children for the Christmas season and then come back to this location.”

Miller called the truck driver a hero, saying he was able to control his rig before he died — preventing other motorists from being hurt.

The fourth attack came a mile west on LBJ Freeway when gunfire shattered the windshield of another tractor-trailer. The bullets missed the driver, but flying glass caused minor cuts, police said.

Miller said video from the Garland shooting is available, and specialists were trying to enhance it to bring out details. Businesses along the other routes also may have video that will help police, he said.

A friend of Lopez’s said he was “a straight-up good guy, never had problems with anybody, never started anything with anybody.”

“So that’s why this seems so out of the blue,” Lopez’s friend said.

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