An investigation has turned up no evidence to prove that police misconduct or brutality occurred during a May 28 riot at Bonneville Raceway, West Valley's police chief said.
"We have not had a direct complaint. We have not had any come forward claiming they were abused. There is no direct evidence of excessive force," Chief Dennis J. Nordfelt said.At least six criminal complaints against individuals blamed for causing or participating in the May 28 riot at the raceway, on the other hand, are being prepared by West Valley City detectives.
A complaint against a 24-year-old man accused of starting the riot, was ready to file Wednesday, said Detective Ron Edwards. Charges against him are to include three counts of assault on a police officer, a Class A misdemeanor, one riot charge, a Class B misdemeanor, and one count of intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor.
During the annual "Fox Hunt" race on May 28, scores of police officers from several jurisdictions descended on the raceway after police arrests for fighting among spectators escalated into a rock- and bottle-throwing attack on police officers.
The raceway was closed by police before all of the scheduled races took place, so track officials rescheduled the event and finished the races Saturday.
As part of the department's investigation, police have watched footage aired during local television newscasts. They have also interviewed from 10 to 20 people and every officer involved in the incident was required to submit a written report.
Nordfelt said the spectators interviewed gave second-hand accounts of brutality. "All of those people that made critical remarks had a misunderstanding or misperception," he said.
A 20-year-old woman whose picture appeared in newspaper and television reports of the incident and who was taken to a hospital the night of the riot contended she was injured by a police officer. But police have not been able to locate the woman, and she hasn't lodged any complaint against the police department or an individual officer.
Police are also trying to obtain all of the footage taken by local television news crews the night of the riot, Nordfelt said.
Of the nine people arrested that night, charges against at least six of them are still being pursued.
Nordfelt said people at the Saturday restaging of the event were complimentary of the police officers' actions and new rules instituted at the raceway.
The new rules include not allowing spectators or vehicles in the pit areas and banning all ice chests in the stands. Alcohol can only be purchased from licensed vendors.
"Purchases of alcohol were more strictly enforced Saturday," Nordfelt said.
The police have instituted new tactics in the event of another problem at the raceway.
First, the West Valley police officers will use all of their resources, including reserve officers, before calling on other agencies. That would help eliminate problems officers encountered when they could not communicate with each other May 28 because each agency was using a different radio frequency.
Second, all officers responding to the scene will report to a command post and be briefed before entering the riot area.
"The officers became part of the problem. Law enforcement officers went into the situation with very little information and became isolated," Nordfelt said.