Sheep rancher claims Utah officer used excessive force in traffic stop

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  • GSnow20 Vernal, UT
    May 10, 2014 8:39 p.m.

    I guess this cop figured it would be easier to beat the tar out of Pablo then drive him exactly 4.1 miles to the hospital, rather than "serve and protect" and help Pablo out in a time of need and drive him exactly 1.6 miles to house.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    May 7, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    I can tell you have never been a law enforcement officer. Perhaps you could ask some of those officers in small towns who have done just what you suggest, give the guy a ride home or to work or wherever, only to have the guy go get a gun and shoot you. Oh, that's right you can't because they aren't around anymore. Yes, it happens. The officer gets shot for trying to be the nice guy. From the article, it appears that the officer did more than he would have normally done. Calling for a friend to come get the truck, which also could bring someone with nefarious intent, more than once in fact. He told the guy to stay put and he left. Bad. Such conduct shows intent to escape or evade. He tried to evade arrest and fought the officer, then got taken down. No problem with it.

    Oh, and ten years wearing a badge in a small town many years ago gives me some expertise in the matter.

  • my3cents Nashville, TN
    May 7, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    How does turning and walking away get you charged with assaulting a police officer?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 7, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    @baddog Cedar Rapids, IA,

    It doesn't matter if it's Chicago or small town Utah... if you resist... there's going to be problem.

    Bottom line is... you have to obey the officer's reasonable commands (whether they match the customs in Peru or not). That's the message that needs to get out...

    - Obey the law... and NONE of this would happen.
    - Obey reasonable commands... and NO INJURIES would have happened.
    - Break the law and ignore the officers commands... and there will be a problem (regardless of your age).
    - Being taken down on the asphalt is not always a graceful or comfortable thing (for the officer OR the perpetrator).


    What do the people who blame the "rookie" for everything expect?

    When perp resisted... just stomp his foot, and put his hands on his hips, and say, "I'm going to count to 3 and if you don't come back... I'mmmm... gonnna.... stomp my foot again"....?

    That may work at your house... but it doesn't work on the streets when the officer needs to finish, and you just want to walk away...

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 7, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    When you don't follow officer's commands and resist... they have to take you down. Regardless of your age or height. They don't know you are really a nice guy (most of the time).

    He's not licensed to drive, and he's driving an illegal un-registered vehicle. And he resisted the officer... and you blame the OFFICER??

    How is the officer supposed to know the guy who broke the law and is now resisting him is really a nice guy? He has to do what he's trained to do... take the suspect down until they can get him restrained because he didn't comply with orders.

    Tell everybody you know not to do this. No matter how good a person they are... don't ignore the officer's commands. Whether you like them or not.

    Just do what he says and there would be no problem!

    May 7, 2014 12:28 p.m.


    All this cop showed is how scared he is of his job, and how much he wanted to make a name for his self. And before any and all of you start to scream, yes I use to live there and Naples has one of the worse police forces in the Basin. And any one that lives there will say the same thing. And most of the people might even compare it to WVPD because they act the same way.

  • baddog Cedar Rapids, IA
    May 7, 2014 11:54 a.m.


    If this stop happened in New York or Chicago, I'd not have thought anything about it.

    But in small town Utah, with a man whom law enforcement knew quite well? Shouldn't have happened. You seem quick to judge others as not knowing as much as you about traffic stops. Maybe you do. Maybe you don't.

    My belief is the rookie thought he was going to show those other cops in the 14 previous stops that he could do what they couldn't, and it didn't work out like he wanted it to.

    If the rookie is so inept that he can't handle a 63-year old, 5 foot 5 inch sheepherder without beating him down, he might want to consider changing professions.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 7, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    Re: "I know this man and he wouldn't hurt anyone. . . . I know these rookie cops and they are taught to treat everyone as a criminal."

    You may know him, and believe he wouldn't hurt anyone, but the cop doesn't.

    And you're quite likely wrong about the criminal.

    Yes, police are taught to treat everyone as if they could be a criminal. Because it's the only way to make sure they can collect that pension we so grudgingly offer them. But, if you had the slightest experience with cops, you'd know they also treat criminals with all the respect they can safely offer.

    There are plenty of untrained, inexperienced, self-absorbed naysayers out there, each believing they know how to conduct police operations better than trained police officers. But if police officers were to listen to them, it's not the callow naysayer that'll be dead the next time a traffic stop goes bad.

    It'll be the officer.

  • Wyomex Burlington, WY
    May 7, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    Policeman. Peace Officer. Patrolman. Law Enforcement. Protector.

    Knowing which role to play and which hat to wear is the mark of a mature person.

    Seems the sheepherder needed a Peace Officer more than a Law Enforcement bully.

    "Let me follow you to your sheep, Geronimo, and then I'll talk with your boss about getting you a license."

    There are many fine policemen and women with more wisdom and maturity who would have done differently than this officer and achieved a better outcome. One doesn't always have to be mean and loud to get to the end desired. In many cases kindness, empathy and understanding work better.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    May 7, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    An off-duty officer once told me that whenever he is in a conversation with anyone that the officer is trained to be thinking- "I need to be ready to kill this individual at any moment".

    A scary thought. Especially for an citizen who hails an officer and has the notion that the officer is somehow his friend and is there to help.

    When I am at work providing goods and services, my training and instinct is to be thinking about ways that I can help the person I am conversing with. A stark contrast.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    May 7, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    Get off the officers back. None of you were there, none of you have seen the video. From the article it seem like the officer was trying all reasonable steps to help the guy, but then the "victim" didn't comply with a reasonable request by the officer to stay in the car. I'd like to hear what some of you would say if the officer would have let him walk away and the guy got hit by a car? Would you still crucify the officer? Most likely you would. If he got hurt for refusing to comply with a reasonable request by the officer and got arrested, then it is on him, not the officer.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    May 7, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    If the officer told the sheepherder that the truck was being impounded then the sheepherder was complying and leaving the truck in the officers hands.

    The sheepherders walking away from impounded vehicle was part of his compliance and was his only way to get to lambing sheep.

  • Evets Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 7, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    The officer started out OK but then lost it when he seems to be losing control of the situation. This probably reflects the immaturity and inexperience of the officer. I also worry about the prevailing culture of our law enforcement officers. I say that because of my own experience with a sheriff deputy a few years back. I am a law abiding citizen. Retired senior military medical officer but one day when I stopped to check out an accident at the entrance of my neighborhood to see if I was needed to render aid and to see if the victims were family or friends I had an encounter with the sheriff deputy. I was walking back to my car after discovering that EMS had everything under control and the victim was not someone I knew when the sheriff started yelling at me for being out of the car. I started to explain why when his anger elevated. I tried to calm him with an explanation and he became more agitated. As he approached yelling at me he became distracted by something else and I used that to get out of his sight and attention.

  • baddog Cedar Rapids, IA
    May 7, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    One can conjecture much about this situation. One can be following the law and still be morally wrong. Why did the rookie cop not offer to give Mr. Geronimo a ride to his sheep or at least somewhere the sheepherder could find some other assistance?

    It seems more and more small town police are acting like officers in larger venues who get away with roughing up (and killing, sometimes). The small towners seem to think they have to show their power and authority the same way.

    As one who has chronicled the actions of law enforcement and the courts most of his life, I've never seen such a mass movement toward abusing the power to stop and arrest.

    How many times in his 14 other encounters with the law did the officers take him down and harm him physically? Was this rookie thinking he would get a result better than other officers had? The rookie likely would have had a report from the dispatcher on wants and warrants for Mr. Geronimo.

    Of course the police chief supports the rookie. He sees lawsuit written all over this incident.

  • ReadMineFirst Ft. Collins, CO
    May 6, 2014 10:59 p.m.

    Don't we live in an interesting country? The Obama administration has released hundreds of illegal criminals from prison, yet here is one hard working and obviously humble sheep herder concerned for his lambs during lambing season. The officer might have practiced charity and telephoned one of his own family members or friends to drive his truck home. How about an ESOL class so that Pablo can pass his driver's license test? I hope that the judge will remember that the merciful shall obtain mercy.

  • MDurfee OREM, UT
    May 6, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    Pablo has been stopped by police 14 times. He knows he is supposed to obey the officer's commands. He started out cooperating, but then he got upset and stopped cooperating, then he resisted the officer. The officer just did his job. If you stop cooperating, or resist, they are SUPPOSED to take you down for their own safety. The officer doesn't know who is armed, and who is not. He doesn't know who is on drugs, or violent, and who is not. He has to obey procedure for his own safety. The critics should remember that an officer was recently murdered during a traffic stop simply for walking up to the vehicle. These officers put their lives on the line for our protection. They deserve a little more understanding from the public.

  • pb Vernal, UT
    May 6, 2014 7:19 p.m.

    I know this man and he wouldn't hurt anyone. He is a very nice and humble man that is from Peru. I know these rookie cops and they are taught to treat everyone as a criminal. The rookie cop did things buy the book and not by common sense. Things escalated. This is a tragedy the way they treated Pablo. I did say he was from Peru and is a citizen of the US now, but his customs are different from our. I know some you hard hearted blogger will still condemn him, but it is what it is.

  • brotherJonathan SLC, UT
    May 6, 2014 6:51 p.m.

    A video is probably the most impartial eyewitness on the planet.