A Utah man who pleaded guilty to nearly slicing an officer’s ear
off alleges police used “brutal, violent” force against him
A Utah man who nearly cut an officer’s ear off filed a lawsuit against the LEO and four other officers, alleging that they used excessive force against him.
The Desert News reports that 25-year-old Leon Dane Hall filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday against the Salt Lake City officers and said his constitutional rights were violated when officers used “brutal, violent” force against him. The suit alleges the physical altercation was
“instigated by one of the officers.”
On Feb. 2, 2016, police encountered Hall while responding to reports of a man banging on doors at an apartment complex late at night. Police said Hall refused to give them a name or personal information. When the officers tried to detain Hall, he shouted and resisted, according to charging documents.
Officers attempted to put Hall in a patrol vehicle when he started swinging and screaming at them. When Hall and an officer fell to the ground, Hall pulled out an 18-inch cast-iron lawn ornament with jagged edges and swung it at officers.
Officer Tyler Bang’s ear was nearly severed during the attack. It took five officers to take Hall into custody.
A bystander filmed the incident, which sparked public outcry over whether police used excessive force.
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“My little brother Leon Hall is in jail for cutting off part of a police officer’s ear during an altercation. Is what he did OK? Not at all. Did the cop excessively beat him? … Yes,” Hall’s brother, Eli Hall, posted on Facebook.
Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of assault on a peace officer in December.
Hall said it was police who escalated the situation and unlawfully detained him. The suit alleges Hall was already shaken up “in a violent hate crime inflicted against him because he is gay.” Hall said he suffered from PTSD.
Hall contends that the five officers haven’t received adequate training on dealing with people with the condition and that they wrongly assumed that the only explanation for his behavior was that he was on drugs.
The suit said officers struck Hall six to eight times with a baton and used a TASER on him three times after the officer’s ear was sliced. He is seeking $1.8 million in damages.
Salt Lake City police did not comment on the lawsuit.