OGDEN — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper who was caught on tape punching a 53-year-old woman multiple times following a chase has a new job as a peace officer.
Andrew Davenport was hired by the Ogden Police Department in June 2011, months after he was terminated by the Utah Highway Patrol following allegations of excessive use of force during a pursuit on Aug. 28, 2010.
Davenport was rated by a commission as the top candidate out of 102 on the eligibility list, Ogden Police Chief Mike Ashment said in a prepared statement. He said Davenport went through a background check and behavior evaluation.
Darla Wright, the woman who was punched several times in the head during the stop, can’t believe the Ogden Police Department hired him.
“He doesn’t deserve a second chance,” she said. “That’s not how an officer of the law ... (is) supposed to react.”
She said Davenport shouldn’t be in law enforcement anywhere. “I think he should be behind bars.”
In a report, Davenport stated that he delivered the blows to stun the woman and stop her from trying to drive into the vehicles of two other troopers or the troopers themselves.
Wright was believed to have been drinking because of her erratic driving, but was never charged with DUI. She was charged with failure to stop or respond at the command of police, a third-degree felony. Court records show that the case was dismissed.
Ashment said the incident dashcam video was taken into account during a background check and that “Davenport remains POST certified to engage in law enforcement activities,” referring to Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training, which trains and certifies police in Utah.
The statement went on to say he was cleared of any legal wrongdoing.
Davenport has filed an appeal in an effort to clear his name in regards to the UHP termination decision. Ashment was in the process of reviewing the findings.
The police department said Davenport, who has over 10 years of experience as a police officer, including several years as a sergeant, had no comment.
POST Director Scott Stephenson said dashcam video rarely tells the whole story. He said sometimes the video is clear, and other times it’s not so clear and the viewer "sees something that’s maybe not happening.”