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W.V. MAN FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST MURRAY, 3 OFFICERS

A West Valley man has filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging that three Murray police officers used excessive force and violated his constitutional rights in connection with a 1991 incident at the Salt Lake County Fairgrounds.

In the suit filed Wednesday, Guadalupe Vasquez named police officers Brian Wiseman, Pete Fondaco and Ben Jones, as well as the city of Murray.Vasquez is asking at least $100,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages from each officer.

A Murray Police Department investigation of the incident cleared four police officers in May 1991, of unlawful use of force and abusive language with racial overtones.

Vasquez' attorney, Steven Wall, said Vasquez had a jury trial in October on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and failure to disperse. He was acquitted on all counts except the failure to disperse.

Vasquez' suit alleges that Wiseman demanded that Vasquez leave the Fine Arts Building at the Salt Lake County Fair in Murray Park on March 24, 1991, but when Vasquez said he was a chaperone at a family gathering and was needed to help clean up, Wiseman threw him on a table and as other officers arrived, including Fondaco, struck Vasquez without provocation.

The suit claims that after Vasquez had been subdued by Fondaco and Wiseman, Vasquez was taken into a hallway, where Jones picked Vasquez up by the legs and rammed him into the corner of a hallway, seriously injuring him and aggravating a pre-existing back injury.

Vasquez' suit also alleges that while lying in the hallway, he was subjected to racial and ethnic slurs by the police. The suit further said he had been kicked and struck in the body and face area with batons, fists and flashlights.

The suit alleges that the city of Murray administered practices and policies that allowed police to use excessive force, and was grossly negligent in training, supervising and disciplining the three officers.