On July 10th 2015 a private citizen was patroning the IRS office in Pocatello at 275 S 5th Street. The IRS office is considered a public facility where the public can do business with the Internal Revenue Service. According to private citizen that was doing business with the IRS that day James Rutherford was sitting in the waiting room minding his own business and not causing any disturbance, when a private security gaurd approached Mr. Rutherford and asked if he would consent to a search. Mr. Rutherford asserted his fourth amendment constitutional rights and declined the search. The private security gaurd then attempted to coerce the private citizen into consenting to the search by threatening to have him trespassed from the property and escorted out of the building if Mr. Rutherford did not consent to the search. According to Mr. Rutherford he got up to leave, and acquired his phone from his pocket to record the incident, at which point the police that had just arrived to the scene grabbed him, and started to restrain him with handcuffs. Watching the dashcam video showing Mr. Rutherfod leaving the building with the police, shows Mr. Rutherford complying with the police and not resisting. However, when the police started accosting the private citizen and according to Mr. Rutherford, they were hurting his wrists while he was thoroughly restrained, he tried to “right himself” from being off balanced, with the force that was being used against this private citizen. One of the officers that witnessed Mr. Rutherford attempting to regain balance, got angry and apparently thought that Mr. Rutherford was resisting. The other officers put Mr. Rutherford’s face on the police cruiser and put their weight on him. At this point Mr. Rutherford was clearly restrained. When Detective Steven Westfall curled his arm, and came down on Mr. Rutherford’s face with what appears to be a serious amount of force. This was a complete surprise to the other officers around Detective Steven Westfall as can be witnessed on the dashcam video and audio. One officer that is already holding Mr. Rutherford when Detective Westfall comes from behind appears to scream “No!”, and a female officer that is also holding down Mr. Rutherford looks directly into the dashcam, and the look on her face is priceless, likely thinking to herself “oh no, it’s on film”.
The events that follow are almost as disturbing. The police are informed by Mr. Rutherford that he needs “IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION”, and instead of receiving that medical attention, the escorting police officer takes him to the jail to be booked in.
While at the jail Mr. Rutherford gets cleared by the nurse at the jail to be taken to the Portneuf medical center, where the police officer then took him. While in route to the jail, Mr. Rutherford commences throwing up, because he apparently has a major concussion from the devestating blow that Detective Steven Westfall had launched into his head about 20 minutes earlier.
When Mr. Rutherford was at the hospital he was offerred an anti-nausia pill and was not treated any futher. The lack of medical treatment is concerning, as a concussion is a serious medical condition and there probably should have been x-rays or scans of the victim’s head.
He was taken back to the jail and released a short time later, where he bailed out, and shortly after getting home to recover, decided to file a complaint about Officer Steven Westfall.
It is my opinion that even though the Chief of Police apologized to the community (not to the victim as of yet) that the prosecutor has no intention on bringing justice to Detective Steven Westfall, and will poorly prosecute this man as to not cross “the thin blue line”. I have been jaded by my recent experiences with Pocatello Police and it seems to me that they are not guided by the rule of law, justice or their oath to protect and serve, and that goes for the prosecutor’s office as well. We shall see.
In my recent case from February 16th 2015, I was attacked in my own home by someone who was told to stay away from our house. My three year old son was hurt by the attacker. When the cops came, I had the man trespassed, but I refused to press charges because this was family. The next day the same man called the police to report the email that I sent him, offering to box him in a regulated sport boxing match. Despite that I was doing everything within the legal parameters that even the police officer (Tyler Evans) had advised me on the day before. The police decided to go along with the harassment and be used by this citizen to further harass my family. See my complaint against Officer Evans here.
The police are becoming more and more corrupt in Pocatello, and I honestly believe that this is a huge factor in the reason for the declining population, and the decline in companies moving to the area to offer jobs in Pocatello.
By Ryan Thompson
Read the Summer 2015 Edition of the Clovis Star Print Newspaper