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Feud between 2 Salt Lake police officers sparks civil lawsuit

A bad falling out that led to a confrontation between two off-duty Salt Lake police officers and at least one being disciplined by the department has now culminated in a civil lawsuit.
A bad falling out that led to a confrontation between two off-duty Salt Lake police officers and at least one being disciplined by the department has now culminated in a civil lawsuit.
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Editor's note: All claims and counterclaims in this case were "dismissed with prejudice" by the Third District Court on Dec. 26, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — A bad falling out that led to a confrontation between two off-duty Salt Lake police officers and at least one being disciplined by the department has now culminated in a civil lawsuit.

Michael Lee Hardin, a veteran Salt Lake police officer of nearly 20 years, is suing the department, the city, Chief Mike Brown, Deputy Chief Terry Fritz, Lt. Tyrone Farillas, detective Hillary Gordon and Bernadette Gomez, who works for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Starting in the fall of 2013, Gordon began renting a residence in Kaysville owned by Hardin, who manages several properties, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in 3rd District Court. At the time, Gordon and Hardin were friends.

But by the summer of 2015, Hardin claims Gordon had complained to superior officers so much about his "actions related to the property" Gordon was renting, that Hardin was ordered to stay away from the property, the lawsuit states.

A confrontation between Hardin and Gordon occurred July 2, 2015, at Gordon's rental property. Hardin claims he was trying to access "crops/fields" behind Gordon's house, but Gordon would not let him on the property, the lawsuit states. Hardin attempted to access the fields by driving on a shared driveway.

Gordon called 911. Hardin says Gordon falsely reported that he hit her with his car.

Hardin was placed on administrative leave and superior officers came to his house "and confiscated his vehicle, guns, badges and any credentials plaintiff possessed related to SLCPD," the lawsuit states.

Hardin said prosecutors in Davis County declined to file charges. He claims that decision prompted a call from Gordon's wife, Gomez, a prosecutor with the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office, who tried to pressure Davis County into filing a criminal charge of aggravated assault, according to the lawsuit.

Hardin returned to work in November. But he says other officers now treat him differently than before.

In his suit, Hardin is seeking $300,000 in damages, claiming negligent supervision, breach of contract, the filing of a false police report, defamation, malicious prosecution, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A spokesman for the Salt Lake City Mayor's Office said Friday that the city was served with a notice of claim in February. They responded by denying the allegations but encouraged more information to be submitted. The next the mayor's office said it heard of the lawsuit was when it received a call from the Deseret News Friday.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam