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Man accused of slicing officer's ear ordered to stand trial

Man accused of slicing officer's ear ordered to stand trial

(Salt Lake County Jail)


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SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of nearly severing an officer's ear with a metal lawn ornament has been ordered to stand trial on charges of assaulting and interfering with police.

Following a preliminary hearing Tuesday, 3rd District Judge Mark Kouris bound over Leon Dane Hall, 23, for trial on two counts of assaulting a police officer, a second-degree felony, and interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor.

Arraignment is scheduled for May 13.

Hall was arrested Feb. 2 after police responded to reports he was banging on doors at the Pauline Apartments late that night. A video of Hall's altercation with police raised questions about officers' use of force.

As police approached and began talking to him, Hall refused to give them his name or any personal information, demanding instead to see the officers' identification, according to charging documents. When they attempted to take Hall into custody, Hall allegedly resisted and shouted for the officers to stop touching him.

Police said they attempted to push Hall to their patrol car and Hall began swinging at them and screaming. Charging documents say the officers then "attempted to gain control of Hall's upper body" by striking his thigh and lower leg. Hall continued to resist, shouting "Stop!" and "Help!" as officers used the baton again.

The officers had wrestled Hall to the ground when he pulled the cast-iron lawn ornament out of a bag and swung it, striking Salt Lake police officer Tyler Bang in the head, charging documents state. The lower part of Bang's ear was nearly severed.

Hall is listed in court records as being both from Salt Lake City and being homeless. Shortly before his arrest he had been released from the Salt Lake County Jail after serving time for being convicted of violating a previous jail release, according to state court records. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 27 for failing to appear in court on a charge of criminal mischief.

In 2014, Hall was convicted of interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to DUI and no contest with failing to remain at the scene of an accident involving an injury.

Hall also pleaded guilty to public intoxication in 2011, according to court records. It was a few weeks later that Hall was in the news after allegedly being assaulted by a group of men shouting what he said were gay slurs at him as he walked home from Club Sound, 579 W. 200 South. The group punched him and kicked his head into a curb, resulting in serious injuries that required jaw surgery, he said.

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McKenzie Romero

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