A Layton man has filed a federal lawsuit saying a Utah Highway Patrol sergeant assaulted him - and he gave television reporters copies of a videotape that he says shows the incident.
UHP spokesman Gary Whitney said the patrol could not comment on the allegations until an internal investigation is carried out. That could take a week or longer.Parry Dean Ward, 28, was injured in the back, shoulder and neck, says the suit, which seeks $500,000 in damages.
During a press conference Monday at the office of John Edward Hansen, Ward's lawyer in Salt Lake City, participants said that last December, Ward was driving when a friend allegedly fired a recreational paint-ball gun from the vehicle.
The UHP confiscated the device, which was a repeater type with a compressed-air chamber. In July, Ward tried to retrieve the paint-ball gun from the Highway Patrol.
He got a letter from the Davis County attorney's office allowing the release and took it to the UHP office in Farmington, says the suit. But he the UHP did not give up the paint-ball gun, it says.
On Aug. 9, Ward got an order from Davis County Judge Jerald Jensen authorizing release of the paint-ball gun, scope and gun case. Between then and the time of the alleged beating, Ward made two attempts to get the paint-ball gun but couldn't get it from the UHP, the suit adds.
On Aug. 13, at about 10:30 p.m., he returned to the Farmington office, says the suit. His father, David Ward, also of Layton, and a family friend, Lamont Sant, were also present.
At the press conference, participants said Sant videotaped the incident from the truck where he and David Ward waited.
The suit makes these allegations: Parry Dean Ward knocked on the UHP office's door and Sgt. Paul Webb and two UHP troopers answered. Ward asked for the return of the toy.
"Officer Webb exited the building, confronted plaintiff and responded by saying, `Get your - - back in your truck and leave now.' " Dean Ward presented Jensen's order and asked for the paint-ball gun.
Webb said he didn't have to talk to him and went back inside the building. Dean Ward "stood in front of the door holding the court order in one hand and said, `Why are you being such a jerk?' "
"Defendant Webb suddenly . . . unlocked the door again and charged at plaintiff, grabbing plaintiff's head and ears with both hands and forcefully pushing and carrying plaintiff backward approximately 20-30 feet down the sidewalk.
"Defendant Webb forcefully slammed plaintiff backward against a nearby vehicle, severely wrenching (his) back, elbow and head."
It also says Webb yelled at him and "continued to forcefully assault and batter plaintiff against the vehicle while two other Utah Highway Patrol troopers, whose identities are unknown, helped.
David Ward got out of the truck and asked the troopers why they were attacking the younger man. One trooper stood between him and his son and said, "I don't see nothing," the suit says.
When David Ward said the incident was being recorded on videotape, the unidentified trooper responded with an obscenity "and immediately proceeded to pull Officer Webb off of the plaintiff while explaining, `They have it on video.' "
Copies of Sant's videotape were given to representatives of four TV stations who attended the press conference, but Parry Dean Ward said not enough copies were available for print reporters.