One month passes from the incident in Pocatello Idaho where Detective Steven Westfall brutally slammed his elbow into a fully detained suspect who had been detained for allegedly trespassing at the IRS building after refusing an illegal search of his person which would have violated his fourth Amendment rights.
First a little backstory. On July 10th 2015 a private citizen James Rutherford of Pocatello Idaho was at the Omni Building in Pocatello to do legitimate business with the IRS. While he was quietly seated in the waiting room of the IRS office, a security guard approached him, and asked him “do you have a knife” (which mind you, is perfectly legal anyway), and James Rutherford reports that he politely said “no”. The security guard according to Rutherford asked if “[he] could search him [James Rutherford]”, and Mr. Rutherford replied “no”. According to Mr. Rutherford, the security guard threatened to trespass Mr. Rutherford if he refused the search, at which point Mr. Rutherford got up to leave, and on his way out while approaching the door Mr. Rutherford at some point noticed the police, so he started to get his cell phone out of his pocket, which he intended to and partially did record the incident that was about to ensue. After the police notice Mr. Rutherford get his cell phone out, they grabbed him, and handcuffed him. On the way out of the building, Mr. Rutherford can be seen peacefully complying and walking with the officers. When the police officers get him to the car, they started pushing him around while trying to forcibly search him, without his consent. Mr. Rutherford states that the police jacked his arm up and hurt his wrist, so he attempted to gain balance and pushed back a little to get room to regain his balance. The police proceed to slam him on the hood of the police cruiser, and then while Mr. Rutherford is flat on his face on the hood of the car, Detective Steven Westfall obviously gets caught up in the moment, and comes from behind the other officers, then proceeds to push Mr. Rutherford’s face on the hood of the car, and then Detective Westfall then lowers his face to the hood of the car, and appears to make some insulting remarks to Mr. Rutherford. Mr. Rutherford replies with the like as it appears. This enrages Detective Steven Westfall as you can see in his facial expression. Within a second, Detective Westfall raises his elbow and slams it down on Mr. Rutherfords face, and proceeds to grind his elbow into Mr. Rutherford’s face, while at the same time another officer can be witnessed and heard saying “no, don’t”.
After a few weeks Detective Westfall gets a ticket for unlawful use of force, which is a misdemeanor. He did not get booked into jail, and did not have to post a bond. He was placed on paid leave, and appointed a lawyer which has recently been discovered that the Police Union will be paying for.
After another few weeks passed, on Monday August 10th, Detective Steven Westfall has been confirmed by a spokesman from the police department to have resigned from the police department.
My comments on this is that if his would have been the reverse, it would have played out a lot different if a citizen had assaulted a police officer. Even if the officer wasn’t incapacitated and detained, and someone would have assaulted the officer, they would have been booked into jail and charged with a serious felony that would carry up to 25 years in prison.
TITLE 18 CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS CHAPTER 9 ASSAULT AND BATTERY 18-915.
Also if this happened while a citizen was on the job, and perhaps they assaulted a customer or their employer, that person would immediately be fired from their job.
Finally, they would have to post their own bond, and pay their own legal fees.
But this officer got charged with a misdemeanor which carries up to 1 year in jail, rather than 25 years. He did not get booked into jail. He was given ample time to resign from his job rather than be fired. If that wasn’t adding insult to injury for the victim in this case, as he was booked and he is responsible for his own legal fees, and paid a $600 bond. The officer also gets his legal fees paid for.
When the insincere police Chief offered an apology, he apologized to “the community” and did not even so much as offer an apology to the victim.
At very least this cop lost his job. I doubt the prosecutor will attempt to do a good job prosecuting him. This will likely be the prosecutor’s poorest performance in his career, and it’s likely this corrupt and violent cop will get off scott free.
It’s no wonder people do not like and do not trust cops in general. The system is rigged against the average citizen, and to favor the corrupt enforcers of the law that often they aren’t even well versed in.
This is my video commentary on this today 08/12/2015