Courtesy of Jay Redd

Family to appeal dismissal of artifact-looting arrest suit

By Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press  |  Posted Jan 14th, 2016 @ 5:50pm


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The family of a southern Utah doctor who killed himself a day after his 2009 arrest in a multistate artifact-looting investigation plans to appeal the dismissal of their wrongful death lawsuit.

Lawyers for the widow of James Redd filed documents on Wednesday giving notice of appeal in the case. Jeanne Redd argued that paramilitary agents overwhelmed her at gunpoint during his arrest on suspicion of taking an effigy bird pendant that prosecutors said was worth $1,000.

The family still believes that James Redd was treated unfairly and inhumanely during both his arrest and his interrogation, attorney Shandor Badaruddin said.

"They didn't let him the take off the handcuffs when he went to the bathroom," he said. Agents also threatened to remove his medical license, Badaruddin said.

The family plans to appeal all of the claims filed in the lawsuit in 2011.

Federal officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby dismissed four of the five claims two years ago. He tossed the final claim in December when he ruled that the family didn't prove that Bureau of Land Management agents violated James Redd's constitutional rights.

Though Shelby acknowledged there was no evidence that James Redd was violent or posed a threat, the judge decided the mere presence of federal agents in SWAT-like gear carrying machine guns didn't create an excessive show of force.

The ruling cleared Bureau of Land Management Agent Dan Love of wrongdoing. Love oversaw the execution of search warrants at the Redd house in the small community of Blanding, Utah, on June 10, 2009, capping a two-year undercover operation in the Four Corners area of southern Utah.

Federal attorneys have said authorities sent dozens of agents partly because there were 120 boxes of evidence that needed to be collected, including 800 artifacts to catalog and identify.

James Redd, who maintained his innocence, was charged with one felony count of theft of Indian tribal property. Both he and his wife were arrested along with 22 others.

Jeanne Redd pleaded guilty to seven charges related to the theft and sale of artifacts and was sentenced to three years of probation.

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