Drug charge against Occupy Park City leader dismissed
June 26, 2012
Summit County prosecutors in May dismissed three criminal charges against the leader of the Occupy Park City movement, including a felony drug count, after determining the substance in question was not the drug ecstasy.
The charges against Tyler Galovich were dismissed on May 25, one month after they were filed in Third District Court at Silver Summit. Galovich had faced counts of possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and speeding.
The controlled substance charge, a third-degree felony, had been the most serious. A third-degree felony carries the possibility of a prison term of up to five years and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.
Matthew Bates, who prosecuted the case for the Summit County Attorney’s Office, said the substance that the police initially believed to be ecstasy turned out not to be the drug. He said a state lab made the determination.
Bates said a test kit the police use in the field to determine whether a substance is a drug erroneously returned a positive reading for ecstasy in chewing gum discovered with Galovich when he was arrested.
"I have to dismiss that charge," Bates said.
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A charging document indicated Galovich was driving at the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Comstock Drive on April 14 when a Park City police officer pulled him over after he was clocked at 52 mph in a 35 mph zone.
He was arrested after the officer concluded through a set of sobriety tests he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the charging document said. The officer found several pieces of chewing gum of an unusual color and tested the gum for drugs, according to the prosecutors. The test showed a positive result for ecstasy, the charging document said.
Park City prosecutors are screening the case and could file the speeding and drunken driving charges against Galovich themselves.
Galovich launched the Occupy Park City movement late last fall with an encampment in City Park. The encampment remained intact until early January. The Occupy Park City movement reached its height during the Sundance Film Festival in January, joining other Occupy Wall Street activists for a series of demonstrations.
Galovich did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.