Officer Charged with Assault

Officer Charged with Assault

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Samantha Hayes Reporting A Granite School District police officer is facing serious charges stemming from a shooting last October. Court papers released today say the officer intentionally assaulted an unarmed man during a pursuit.

It's not often a member of law enforcement is charged with a felony. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's office says in this case the officer, who happens to be assigned to the Granite school district, was in the wrong and should not have fired.

When the high speed chase ended in a crash on a Salt Lake City street, officer Todd Rasmussen pursued Anthony Chavez on foot.

From there, court papers say Rasmussen "said he saw a bulge in Chavez's white sock...he did not believe the bulge to be a gun or dangerous weapon. He said the suspect lunged toward him. It was at this time that he fired one round..."

Robert Stott, Salt Lake Co. District Attorney's Office: “In this particular case the officer was not justified in shooting. And so we filed a second degree aggravated assault charge against the officer.”

Rasmussen is employed by the Granite School District. On the night of the shooting he was reportedly chasing robbers from a staff member's South Jordan home.

Martin Bates, Assistant Superintendent Granite School District: “We've had a police department work very well providing safety and security for our school, it has worked very well we've never had an officer charged before, this is very concerning.”

Rasmussen is on paid leave while the school district conducts its own investigation, and the court decides whether he is guilty.

Martin Bates: “At that point a further employment decision will be made.”

If convicted, aggravated assault carries one to fifteen years in prison. Rasmussen is scheduled for a court appearance in March.

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