Attack: nothing to see here
Park City Police Department dispatchers received the call at 10:29 p.m. on Oct. 17 — a report of four men attacking another man on Monarch Drive, a neighborhood street where violence is not expected.
Police officers rushed to the scene, arresting one man and launching an investigation into the other suspects. But the Police Department’s incident log, a lengthy, publicly accessible list of cases printed at least once each week, hardly acknowledged the case.
The department’s censors heavily blacked out the case as it was listed on the incident log, leaving someone looking at the log with little information about the attack. The incident log, which provides information about each call the Police Department handles, is rarely used by regular Parkites but is frequently checked by the media and sometimes glanced at by activists.
The part of the log entry for the Monarch Drive case that was not censored indicates the date and time of the incident, that it happened on Monarch Drive and that it was reported as a personal-injury accident. An incident number, which is used by the police to track the case, also was made public.
Approximately 10 lines of the incident log appeared to have been censored.
Police Department censors in recent months have been especially cautious with information that is released in the incident log, a bid to comply with privacy laws, the police say. But officials in the Police Department also indicate some of the blacked-out information in the Monarch Drive case should have been made public.
"It didn’t need to be," Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain who oversees the records division, says about the censored portion of the case, saying blacking out the bulk of the log was "inadvertent."
The blacked-out text, Ryan says, includes times and the date, the location of the case and brief comments about claims of a burglary and an assault related to the episode. He says the Police Department did not intend to keep the case from the public.
According to Ryan, police dispatchers initially received a report involving an injured person. Because of the type of initial report, Ryan speculates, the rest of the incident log stemming from the case likely was blacked out to ensure the Police Department adhered to federal privacy laws restricting information about medical conditions.
"Everything you see blacked out were just calls pertaining to (the) same incident," Ryan says.
On a weekly basis, the incident log contains numerous blacked-out bits of information. Some of the censored parts make it difficult for a reader to determine the details of a case while others keep private street addresses and similar information.
The Police Department says records with medical or psychiatric information, details about confidential informants and juvenile information are among those that are either controlled or protected in some fashion.
In the Monarch Drive case, the police said afterward, the men went after Dave Galusha, the director of the Park City Ski Team, once he went outside of his home after hearing a disturbance. They reacted angrily when he approached them, the police said. Galusha suffered cuts in his head and face and numerous bruises.
He required stitches, but Galusha later said he was doing OK. An ambulance crew treated him at the scene.
At least three officers responded. The police quickly arrested one of the suspects. Another suspect was arrested later.
Galusha says he did not ask the Police Department to censor the log. He admits, though, he was cautious about talking to reporters afterward because he did not want to jeopardize the prosecutors’ case if it goes to trial. He says he has not received updates from the police, but he is "patiently waiting for information on the case."
Galusha, meanwhile, said Parkites would have been in disbelief when they heard about the case.
"This is streets-of-inner-city stuff," he says, adding, "I think most people would be pretty shocked about it."
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