SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) -James Tobin, 67, of Salt Lake City says he was taking pictures with his digital camera when he encountered an armed Salt Lake City Police officer.
“I thought they were just coming down the street and all of a sudden they came charging at me,” he said.
It was during Saturday’s riot in downtown near the intersection of 400 South and 200 East.
“Ten minutes before the armored vehicles showed up that’s when I got there,” said Tobin. “When I went down there to take pictures there was no mob scene. It was just a bunch of people standing around taking pictures. I was at the end.”
Tobin says when he saw the officer approaching he quickly tried to move out of the way, but walks slowly and with a cane.
“He came charging at me with the shield, saying ‘get back, get back, get back.'”
The end result was Tobin falling face first onto the ground losing his cane. Other officers who witnessed the encounter moved in to help.
“I asked them to pick up my glasses, and they helped me up,” said Tobin.
Afterwards, Tobin says a group of people then came to his aid trying to call an ambulance, but one couldn’t get through.
“They stayed with me,” he said. “Bandaged up some of my cuts on my arms.”
Frustrated, Tobin went home. The next morning, he says he received a call from Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown.
“He said that’s not the way the police are supposed to act, and he was going to look into it with internal affairs and the review board, and take action,” said Tobin. “I told him whatever you’re going to do is fine with me.”
Tobin, who has Leukemia, has a visible scratch on his head from his fall.
“My shoulder still hurts a little bit,” he said. “My rib on the back is still sore, but the main problem is my knee.”
If given the chance, Tobin shares what he would tell the officer who knocked him down.
“I’d just say, I hope you don’t do it again.”
Tobin says he is satisfied with his conversation with Chief Brown, and he doesn’t plan on taking any further action.
You might also be interested in this story: A police officer has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted into his use of force during riots in Salt Lake City.