Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jon Gardner Cleared Of Any Criminal Wrongdoing By Attorney General In The Jared Massey Case
A Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) trooper will not be charged with any crime for shocking an uncooperative motorist twice with a Taser during a traffic stop in Uintah County last year. Full story published March 5th, 2008 by the Salt Lake Tribune and aired on KTVX Channel 4. Reported nationally by the Fox News Channel. All previous posts on this subject can be viewed HERE.
The Utah Attorney General's office seconded the review of the case to the Tooele County Attorney's office. And the Tooele County Attorney concluded that zapping Jared Massey wasn't a criminal act. "Applicable Utah state law allows for the level and degree of force deployed in this matter to effectuate an arrest," the attorney's office stated in its report to the Utah Attorney General's Office. "Trooper Jon Gardner did not commit a violation of a Utah criminal statute when deploying his Taser."
The investigation included a review of incident and Taser deployment reports, video transcripts, Gardner's training records, photos of Massey's injuries, video of the traffic stop, Utah state statutes and other materials. It concluded that Massey did not obey Gardner's repeated orders to put his hands behind his back and "use of force was reasonably necessary" in arresting him. The scope of the Tooele County Attorney's Office review was to determine only whether Gardner could be charged with a crime.
The September 14th, 2007 confrontation between UHP Trooper Jon Gardner and Vernal resident Jared Massey, ultimately viewed by thousands after it was posted on YouTube, resulted when Gardner stopped Massey about 10 A.M. on U.S. Highway 40 for driving 61 mph in a 40 mph zone. Massey argued with Gardner about his speed and then refused to sign the citation. Gardner then asked him to get out of his car.
When he followed Gardner back to his patrol vehicle and then refused to put his hands behind his back, Gardner shocked him with the Taser. He was zapped a second time while lying on the ground after refusing a second time to roll over and place his hands behind his back. [Ed. Note: It was probably the secondary Tasering that outraged people more than anything else.]
In November 2007, UHP exonerated Gardner of any wrongdoing. Massey, in turn, filed a Federal civil rights lawsuit accusing Gardner of violating his civil rights. But Massey did plead guilty in January 2008 to speeding in Uintah County Justice Court and agreed to pay a $107 citation, which is half of what he would have normally paid.