Pocatello police officer Steven Westfall has received new charges in relationship to the attack that he made against a detained civilian in July 2015.
I was not surprised to see such little charges given to the officer by his comrades in the Pocatello police department, however I had said from the beginning (look back and other blog posts about this here at Clovis Star), that he deserved some assault charges. The special prosecutor assigned to this case from Minidoka County, Prosecutor Lance Stevenson made the decision to give the officer increased charges for the assault, the new charges are “simple battery”. As I said, I agree with this, and have been blogging about this since the incident was released in July. “Westfall is currently facing a charge of unnecessary assault by a police officer stemming from an incident on July 10.”
It still puzzles me why they are still pursuing charges against James Rutherford. It was clear that he was complying with the police, despite that what they [the police] were doing and what they were charging him for was not proper use of the law. James Rutherford had every right to be at the IRS building. He had every right to refuse a warrantless search (4th amendment), and even though he was being accosted, he still complied with the officers. He did get somewhat verbally aggressive after being assaulted by Detective Westfall, but we have 1st Amendment rights that defend that speech.
I hope that someone sues the Pocatello Police department over this. They need to learn what their oath means.
I am not someone who typically wishes for the state to get involved. However, if those who swear an oath to the constitution, and who’s duty is to protect and serve, and when they pursue people for completely weak (victim-less) crimes, and often abuse their power based on using ‘the color of law’, then they should be accountable when they abuse those who they are sworn to protect and serve, when they could be paying attention to ACTUAL crimes. The police should be defending this man’s right to refusing a warrant-less search, and should be defending his constitutional right to not be searched. They should also be defending his constitutional right to free speech. The police have nothing on this guy. It only continues to show how the Pocatello police continuously violate the constitutional rights of the citizens in their jurisdiction.