West Valley man tased in Kimball Junction after threatening to kill deputy
A West Valley City man was tased late Tuesday night after he allegedly attacked several people in Kimball Junction, including a deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Dispatch initially received a report shortly after midnight about a medical problem in the Newpark area of Kimball Junction, a Sheriff’s Office report states. When a deputy arrived, he found an intoxicated man lying face down in the parking lot.
The report states the man became extremely agitated when the deputy attempted to check on him. Witnesses said the man allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, his younger brother and his brother’s girlfriend prior to the deputy’s arrival.
“He had been at a local establishment in Newpark, consuming alcohol,” said Lt. Andrew Wright, of the Sheriff’s Office. “When they went to leave, he planned on being the driver and that is when the girlfriend told him he was not going to drive. That’s what spurred the altercation between him and his girlfriend.”
The deputy tried to gain control of the situation when he arrived, but the man charged at him and began throwing punches, Wright said. He added, “The man threatened to kill our deputy.”
“The deputy tried to push him away and create distance, but he would continue to get back up off the ground and kept coming at the deputy,” he said.
The deputy deployed a taser to subdue the man, the report states. He was transported to a hospital for evaluation and later transferred to police custody around 9 a.m.
The 23-year-old man was arrested under suspicion of assault on a police officer, domestic violence assault, child abuse, intoxication, disorderly conduct and interfering with an arresting officer. He also had a $615 outstanding warrant out of West Valley City.
Wright couldn’t recall the last time a deputy had to deploy a taser to gain compliance, adding “It’s not often.” He said it depends on the circumstances of each individual incident and, in this case, the deputy was dealing with someone who was intoxicated and not in their normal state of mind.
“That presents its own danger to law enforcement when people aren’t thinking clearly,” he said. “I personally talked to the deputy and he said he gave the man every opportunity to get him to comply with verbal commands and felt it was necessary to go to the next means of force.
“We don’t run into this often, but it is one of the tools that allows us to safely take someone into custody to reduce injury to the person, the public and our deputy,” he added.
The Sheriff’s Office will conduct an internal review of the situation after the deputy completes his report. Wright said the deputy’s body camera will be reviewed as well to ensure the deputy took the appropriate actions. But, he said, the Sheriff’s Office will “always support our deputies” as long as they are following the proper protocol and training.
“In this case there is no reason to believe off the bat that the deputy did use excessive force in this case,” he said. “We pride ourselves on the professional deputies that we have. We go out there and we serve our community and take into account the safety of everyone involved, whether it is a criminal, the general public or ourselves. We evaluate and balance what the situation is and have to make, of course, split-second decisions.
“But, we do keep in mind that we have a responsibly to be accountable for our actions and will have to answer to the public and ourselves,” he added.
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The man was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized at the time of his death.