Utah Highway Patrol Taser Man for Refusing to Sign Citation

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Summary

  1. A police dash-cam catches a Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) Trooper (John Gardner) pull over and question a driver (Jared Massey) regarding an alleged speeding claim outside Vernal ("Dinosaur Land"), Utah
  2. The driver disputes the claim and asks the Trooper how fast he was going — the Trooper NEVER answers this question.
  3. The driver refuses to sign the citation.
  4. The Trooper orders the driver out of the car.
  5. The driver exits the vehicle and tries to point out the speed limit sign to the Trooper.
  6. The Trooper orders the driver to turn around, which the driver does, but not to the Trooper’s satisfaction.
  7. The Trooper orders the driver to turn around again and again (apparently the Trooper wanted the driver to spin in circles?).
  8. The driver, having already turned around once, apparently doesn’t understand why the Trooper is repeating an order that he’s already complied with.
  9. The Trooper draws his pistol-shaped Taser Gun and fires.
  10. The driver falls to the ground — hard.
  11. The passenger — the driver’s pregnant wife, Lauren — came out of the car screaming.

For the rest of the details, watch the video (below).

According to KUTV, for the moment Trooper Gardner is still on the job and Massey thinks his demeanor at the end of tape says everything people need to know. Trooper Gardner is heard on the tape saying, "He was over there jumping around…I said ‘naw, not going to play that game.’" Even if Trooper Garner is found to have acted inappropriately it is highly unlikely he will lose his job.

Take Action

If you feel the Trooper’s use of "semi-lethal force" with his Taser Gun was not warranted, please write to the address below:

Department of Public Safety Utah Highway Patrol Headquarters/Administrative Offices Calvin Rampton Building First Floor – South 4501 South 2700 West Salt Lake City, Utah 84114 or fax: +1 (801) 965-4262 or via online form (least effective): http://highwaypatrol.utah.gov/contact_uhp.html

kgorczyn from DIGG has a simple message that you can send to UHP Headquarters:

I have found a disturbing video on the internet regarding one of your troopers: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fae_1195587967&p=1

<p>Please tell my exactly why this person was tasered and why he was placed under arrest for not signing a &quot;speeding&quot; citation?</p>    <p>Why did your trooper refuse to tell the driver the amount over the speed limit when asked (repeatedly)? </p>    <p>Can you direct me to a law which states you can be arrested for not signing a citation (please include a reference to the specific codified law or departmental policy), or furthermore tasered when not posing any physical threat, especially in front of your wife and child(ren)?</p>    <p><a href="http://www.vernalchamber.com/contact.php" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.vernalchamber.com/images/logo.gif" align="right" /></a>As a future traveler through your state I do not wish to encounter a situation like this and may avoid your state entirely pending the contents of your reply.</p> 

If you would like to let the local businesses know that you will avoid Vernal, Utah due to this abuse of force please write to the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce (address to the right). Here’s what I wrote:

I have found a disturbing video on the internet regarding a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper that pulled a man over just outside Vernal, Utah: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fae_1195587967&p=1

<p>As a future visitor to Vernal (and &quot;Dinosaur Land&quot;) I'm very concerned regarding this abuse of power and use of unnecessary force that took place near your businesses. </p>    <p>Be advised that I am canceling visits to (and any travel through) your part of the state. I am advising all of my friends, relatives, and readers of my 'blog to do the same. </p>    <p>I'd urge you and your business members to put pressure on the local UHP office to take action against this officer. </p>    <p>I (and my readers) look forward to your reply concerning this matter.</p> 

Video

Related Links

Other Sources for the video

Some people have advised me that site hosting the video above may be "too busy" at times, so here are a few mirrors:

4 thoughts on “Utah Highway Patrol Taser Man for Refusing to Sign Citation

  1. @KIRT,

    Thanks for your input, and I don’t totally disagree with you.

    The driver (Jared Massey) was very disrespectful to the Trooper (John Gardner), but the Trooper was equally disrespectful.

    Had I been in that situation, the first thing I’d have done it gotten my driver’s license, concealed firearm permit, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, had them ready (I’ve got an envelope in the glove box with all but the license and CFP in it to make things easier/faster), and had my hands clearly visible on the steering wheel.

    When the Trooper (or any other LEO) approaches the car and asks for your license and registration, hand him/her the envelope, state your name, and if you have a CFP disclose that fact and let the LEO know where your sidearm is… for example: “Good afternoon, Officer. My name is John Smith, here’s my registration, proof of insurance, driver’s license, and Utah concealed firearm permit; my sidearm is on my right hip, there is no round in the chamber.” Or, if your sidearm is elsewhere: “I do not have a firearm on my person or in the vehicle.”

    At this point just wait… the LEO will most likely return to his car and call in your license plate (if he hasn’t already done so), and your driver’s license number.

    If you’re a “good guy” there shouldn’t be any flags on your record, and because you had everything ready and organized for the LEO, and because you were polite and respectful, he has no reason not to show that same respect toward you.

    When the LEO returns he should tell you why he pulled you over, and should have your citation paperwork (if any) filled out and ready for you to sign.

    Here’s where you can exercise some “professional resistance.”

    If the LEO has left any part of the citation blank, you can write “blank” in the box (like the box that says how fast you were going). If the whole thing is blank, write on the citation “The areas marked were blank when I was asked to sign”. Go ahead and read and sign the citation, most LEOs in Utah will tell you that it’s not an admission of guilt, just that you have read and received a copy of the citation.

    If the officer gives you a hard time about writing “stuff” on the citation, very politely say, “Sir, as I understand it, I’m signing a contract. As with any contract, I make sure to read and understand it, and mark any fields that were left blank at the time of my signing.” He shouldn’t have a problem with that logic, and if he does, apologize. He’ll either void out that one and fill out another one, or will accept the one with your “notes” on it.

    In any event, you were respectful, he was respectful, you noted your issues on the ticket (like “Officer would not tell me how fast I was going after I asked him 3 times”), and in most cases you’re back on the road having lost only 15-20 minutes.

    Now, to your comments. Both guys in the video let their ego interfere with their better judgment. The driver made bad choices, and the Trooper reacted poorly (then lied to the 2nd officer on scene about the event that took place before the taser was deployed).

    Tasers need to be re-classified as “semi-lethal” weapons and not used in any instance other than using a firearm in the same manner would be acceptable.

    The Trooper’s reference to “riding the taser” and his attitude in general put him on the same level as the driver. He’s a public servant, sworn to protect and to serve, and he should be held to a higher standard than the average driver off the street.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    http://www.JoeLevi.com

  2. The cop should have assault charges filed against him. That was grossly inappropriate use of force. Totally un-called for. He is demonstrably unfit (psychologically) for that job.

    He should be fired and spend 10 years in prison.

  3. @Jeff Miller,

    I agree with you about the inappropriate use of force, and think (especially by lying to the other officer on scene) that he’s not fit for patrol duty any more.

    He should definitely get a formal reprimand and be removed from patrol.

    … but those are just my opinions.

    Have you written to the UHP Headquarters and Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce with your opinions yet?

    http://www.JoeLevi.com

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