SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) – A federal jury has determined a former West Jordan police officer was the victim of malicious prosecution and awarded him $2.77 million dollars in damages for having his civil rights violated.
Former officer Aaron Jensen was accused to stealing drugs and money from the West Jordan Police Department but the criminal charges were later dropped. He says it was retaliation for a sexual harassment settlement he won against the City 2009.
On Thursday, Jensen described his reaction as “complete shock.”
“Just was shocked that there was a final vindication,” Jensen said. “My second response immediately after that was I would have traded every bit of that money that I had just been awarded to not have gone what I had gone through and to even go back and have my old career in law enforcement again.”
April Hollingsworth is Jensen’s attorney.
“Aaron deserves every bit of it and West Jordan deserves every bit of it,” Hollingsworth told reporters. “It started as an internal affairs investigation that morphed into ultimately criminal charges against him that were baseless and they knew all along they were baseless…This was obviously done by people who had it out for him who couldn’t stand that someone had stood up to them about chronic misbehavior and called them out on that.”
West Jordan City Attorney David Brickey says this is not a done deal. On Thursday afternoon the City filed a Motion for Judgement to have Judge Dale Kimball overturn the jury’s verdict.
“We disagree with the verdict and there are processes and a way to challenge that verdict,” Brickey told ABC4 Utah News. “The facts don’t support the jury’s verdict that’s what we’re going to argue to Judge Kimball.”
Attorneys say this case could stretch on for months of possibly, even years.