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New Video Shows Suspect Pepper-Spray Utah Highway Patrol Trooper

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — New body cam video from the Utah Highway Patrol showed how a routine encounter quickly escalated to violence in Brigham City.

The suspect actually got away afterward, but police tracked him down the next day. Getting him into custody though, still wasn’t easy.

In September 2020, police surrounded a wanted man, 34-year-old John Mooney. The problem was, he didn’t want to tell officers who he was.

Body cam video from the night before the incident showed a trooper stop two pedestrians walking on the railroad tracks just off I-15 near Brigham City. That’s considered trespassing.

“You guys just passing through?” said the trooper.

One of the men was cooperative and allowed to leave, but the other, who turned out to be Mooney, refused to give his name.

“I really feel like this is an infringement on my rights,” said Mooney.

Mooney also claimed he couldn’t remember his birth date and declined to have his fingerprints scanned.

After about 17 minutes of talking, the situation escalated.

“Last chance, OK?” the trooper said to Mooney.

“Please, please leave me alone,” Mooney replied.

“Nope, you’re under arrest. You’re under arrest,” said the trooper. 

The trooper went to grab Mooney’s arm, but he wriggled out. It’s hard to tell from the video, but officials said Mooney also pepper-sprayed the trooper in the face.

Even though the trooper tried to deploy his Taser, Mooney got away.

The next day, officers tracked Mooney down at a park where they tased him because he was holding a knife.

“Get on the ground,” the officers said to Mooney.

“Shoot me,” replied Mooney as he threw his knife. 

That’s when all the officers got on him.

“His past pattern of behavior definitely showed that he would be a threat to police,” said Lt. Nick Street with the Utah Highway Patrol. 

When he was arrested, one of the officers could be seen kneeling on his shoulder, very near his neck.

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I’m being suffocated,” yelled Mooney.

Authorities said in this case, that type of force was necessary.

“In this situation, you know officers were presented with deadly force, and there was a reason to get this person detained quickly and in handcuffs quickly,” said Street.

Mooney was charged with assault against a peace officer and failing to stop at the command of law enforcement.

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