Only one thing scares a cop more than a gun pointed at him: A suspect who bites.
Especially a biter who says he has AIDS.Salt Lake police officer Dave Cracroft was gnawed on last week by a man he and other officers were arresting in connection with an assault and burglary. That man, by his own admission, is also suspected of carrying AIDS.
Although the chances of having contracted AIDS are slim, Cracroft, a 6-year veteran, is distressed over the state law that prohibits the Salt Lake City/County Health Department from disclosing whether the man does, in fact, have the deadly disease.
"Basically, I have to live for the next six months like I have AIDS," said Cracroft, who has taken one AIDS test and
must undergo others in three months and six months. The officer said he has been ordered to abstain from sex and take other precautions to protect his family.
Cracroft and other officers expressed concern about the law on AIDS reporting. "We're protecting this guy's civil rights. But what about mine?" Cracroft said.
Johnny Isaac Gallegos, 23, appeared in court Monday on charges of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, in connection with the biting of Cracroft, and misdemeanor assault in connection with an attack upon another officer.
According to a criminal complaint filed in 3rd Circuit Court, Gallegos, immediately after biting Cracroft, "remarked that he had just given the officer AIDS. (Gallegos) admitted to being exposed to the AIDS virus within the past 6 months."
Detective Jerry Mendez, who filed the complaint, said he sought to have Gallegos charged with attempted homicide but that was impossible because there is no way to get proof that Gallegos does, in fact, have AIDS. Without that proof, there's no probable cause for an attempted homicide charge.
Mendez said prosecutors are looking into the possibility of getting a search warrant to obtain a blood sample from Gallegos.
"If the guy does have AIDS, I would like to have him charged with attempted homicide," Mendez said.
According to the criminal complaint and police reports, Cracroft and officer Paul Gardiner responded to a burglary-in-progress call at 771 S. Second East the night of Aug. 9.
Upon arriving, Cracroft said he spotted a man matching the burglar's description running across Seventh East. Cracroft cornered Gallegos in a yard but Gallegos pushed the officer and ran toward Gardiner and punched him. Cracroft grabbed Gallegos, who, bleeding from mouth injuries, bit him on the upper right arm through his shirt, according to police reports.
Both Cracroft and Gardiner, who suffered a laceration, were spattered with Gallegos' blood. They were treated at Holy Cross Hospital and released.