- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - An Alabama man is suing Ogden police over an encounter he says involved excessive force and violated his Second Amendment rights.

Harold Mark Torbett, 60, filed a federal suit Monday against Ogden City, the Ogden Police Department and three officers, reported The Standard-Examiner (https://bit.ly/1NonIfM ).

Torbett was driving cross-country to a new job in Seattle when he stopped at the Ogden department on Feb. 8 for medical assistance. He was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication of diabetes that can cause mental confusion and stomach pain, and told officers he thought he had food poisoning, according to the lawsuit.

Torbett says he unloaded and disassembled his .22 caliber handgun and put it on the chair next to him while he waited for officers. The lawsuit says officers got rough with Torbett when they saw the handgun and an officer identified as T. Williams threw Torbett to the floor, shattering his hip.

According to the lawsuit, Torbett said several times he needed immediate medical attention, but Williams responded, “Do I look like I take people to the hospital?”

The suit says the officers used excessive force and accuses the city of inadequately training its police officers to recognize medical crises. It also argues that his Second Amendment rights and Utah Constitutional rights to carry a weapon openly were violated.

“He caused alarm. He has a firearm, people see his behavior, they’re concerned,” Ogden Police Lt. Will Cragun said in an interview after Torbett was injured. “The officers try to start engaging him, he is noncompliant, and he throws soda water on them.”

Cragun said police determined at that point that Torbett may have been a danger to himself or others.

“He fights with them, and they’re doing everything they can do to control him,” Cragun said.

Security footage of the incident is grainy and blurry. Police Chief Mike Ashment said Tuesday that a better camera has since been installed in the lobby.

Ashment said he cannot comment on the suit because it’s active litigation.

The lawsuit calls for Ogden police to use body cameras. Ashment said officers have been testing three varieties of cameras over the past two years and want to make the right decision.


Information from: Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net

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