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CEDAR HILLS — The longtime contracted city attorney for Mapleton was arrested last week after police say he yelled at officers to stop speaking with his adult son as they investigated why a weapon turned up at Lone Peak High School.
Eric Todd Johnson, 58, told police “no” when they said they needed to talk with his son, then shouted at them in his driveway with his fingers in the face of one officer, a police affidavit says.
Johnson’s attorneys, Randall Spencer and Fillmore Spencer, said the allegations against their client, a lawyer of 25 years, are false, and that officers were aggressive and unprofessional at his home.
Lone Peak police said Johnson told them he was his son’s attorney and his wife stood in front of him Friday but he pushed past her to speak with his son, who had already agreed to talk with officers.
“Seeing that Eric was escalating in his behavior, I feared he was going to assault an officer,” the affidavit says. Johnson was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of obstructing justice and was released a short time later, jail records show.
Police reported they had responded to an incident at Lone Peak High earlier in the day where a weapon was used and was later spotted in a car belonging to Johnson’s son.
Johnson, however, denied pushing past anyone, saying through his attorneys he did not touch or threaten officers or obstruct justice.
He provided his account of the events in a statement, saying the officers were “aggressive” and demanded to search his home without a warrant, so he denied their request.
“Mr. Johnson, in his capacity as an attorney, did maneuver closer to his son to advise him of his constitutional right to remain silent and his constitutional right to counsel,” the statement says, in part because he had concerns about the “unprofessional conduct of the initial responding officers” and knew his son “is a good man and not one to possess a gun.”
Mapleton does not have a full-time city attorney but has long contracted with Johnson for legal services as the need has arisen, said Corey Branch, Mapleton city administrator.
“We’ve just barely been hearing about this incident, so I’m working with the mayor and council and keeping them posted,” Branch said. “At this point, we’re just getting information collected.”