Sawyer was being medically cleared at Valley View Medical Center so he could be booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility. Officer Thomas removed Sawyer’s handcuffs temporarily to assist with the process of the medical clearance. When Officer Thomas attempted to reapply the handcuffs, Sawyer became assaultive toward hospital staff and then Officer Thomas.
Officer Thomas quickly responded to the assault by trying to gain control over Sawyer. Sawyer was able to strike, kick, and bite Officer Thomas during the assault. At one point Sawyer attempted to obtain Officer Thomas’ handgun. Officer Thomas was able to successfully defeat the assault and gain control over Sawyer.
During the assault, Officer Thomas sustained contusions and abrasions along with a moderate concussion. He is recovering at home and expected return to work next week.
According to the FBI’s website, there were six hundred and eight reported incidents of assault on police officers in the State of Utah in 2011. This data includes assaults with minimal or no injury, up to and including assaults resulting in death. There were 54, 744 reported assaults on Police Officers nationally in 2011. Police acknowledge their profession is a dangerous one, but assaulting a Police Officer is a crime that should not be tolerated.
Sawyer was booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility on charges of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Methamphetamine, Intoxication, Assault by a Prisoner, Assault on a Health Care Professional, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Mischief and Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer.
The most serious of these offenses is First Degree Felony, Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer. A First Degree Felony may be punishable by a term of five years to life in prison.