ABC 4’s Chris Vanocur discusses polygamy and other issues on the record with attorney Brian Barnard. In this segment, Barnard talks about his UHP crosses lawsuit and police using excessive unnecessary force, such as tasers when they are not necessary.
In 2005, Barnard filed a lawsuit challenging crosses erected in memorial of United Highway Patrol troopers that were killed in the line of duty, claiming that it was an "improper mixing of church and state." The crosses donned the UHP logo and stood on government property.
Weber dismissed the trial from court but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reversed it, ruling that the crosses must be removed. UHP had asked the court to reconsider, but the 10th Circuit declined.
According to Barnard, Utah petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and that their response was recently filed, labeling it as "a case of not that much importance." The kinds of crosses utilized in the memorial are unique to Utah so Barnard believes the case likely won't affect other states, so the U.S. Supreme Court shouldn't weigh in when they emerge out of recess in October.
Barnard's client felt that the troopers should still be honored for their service and sacrifice, but that there is a way to do that without "a blatant church symbol", in particular, a symbol emphasizing Christianity to the exclusion of other religions. Barnard's case urged UHP to use a different kind of memorial.
A civil lawsuit filed by Barnard is going through federal court in Utah. The lawsuit was filed against a patrol officer for the excessive and unnecessary use of a taser.
"We have found that many people have come to my office where tasers were misused by police," Barnard explained. "In their continuum of force, tasers should be near the end... not the beginning."
It is unlawful for government officers to use excessive force or torture, or lawfully known as the improper seizure of a person.
There have been several cases where officers have used tasers and excessive force at the beginning instead of using lesser type of force against people. In one case from a few years ago, a man was killed due to taser use against him by an official in southern Utah.
Barnard's current client is seeking money damages in response to excessive force during a traffic stop. The case will be presented to a jury who will make a decision on whether the officer's action was excessive and/or unnecessary. Both video and audio of the traffic stop are being presented as evidence.
Unless a person threatens or takes physical action against the officer, Barnard believes a taser should not be considered a necessary response by government officials.