LOCAL NEWS

Person arrested after Orem city council meeting for assault, spitting

Sep 20, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2023, 12:04 pm

OREM, Utah — A person was arrested Tuesday night after 911 calls that Orem’s mayor had been spit on and assaulted.

An affidavit of probable cause shows that Linnea Pugmire was arrested and taken to the Utah County Jail for assault, disorderly conduct, propelling a bodily substance and threatening elected officials. Pugmire is a child of a writer for the Daily Herald, who was mentioned by name by Orem City Mayor David Young multiple times during the meeting while he took issue with her articles.

The Daily Herald confirmed the relationship but offered no further comment.

According to documents, police arrived, detained and interviewed Pugmire. The suspect confirmed the confrontation with the mayor and “may have” slapped him and spit at him. Officers said in the court documents they learned there was also a second person who was hit and spit on.

“During the investigation officers recovered cell phone video from one of the victims which clearly shows Pugmire’s criminal actions,” police stated.

Michelle Lee was one of a few witnesses Tuesday night when Pugmire is said to have attacked the Orem mayor. Lee said it was scary.

“All of a sudden a car comes careening toward us, slammed on their brakes, the person jumps out, gets right in the mayor’s face, starts screaming at him,” said Lee who added, at first it wasn’t clear who Pugmire was, but the mayor figured it out.

The exchange happened moments after Young said this in council chambers:

“I’ve been told by public relations folks that I probably shouldn’t go down this path but it’s gotten to a point where it’s overly ridiculous,” that was during the Orem City Council meeting. He then took the next 20 minutes to outline what he believes are grievances against the Daily Herald newspaper, and specifically Linnea Pugmire’s mother, Genelle Pugmire, a reporter there.

“My intent was to point out to point out the articles, to make the points, and then let people make their own decision and ask the questions, is this fair, is this right?” Young told KSL TV.

Lee is friends with the mayor, her father is a council member.

“It was terrible and super scary” Lee said.

A video circulating on social media appeared to show the confrontation outside, away from the official recording of the meeting.

The last 20 minutes of the meeting featured Orem City Mayor David Young speaking about reporter Genelle Pugmire’s coverage in several articles. Young took issue with previous stories about the city’s library, headlines about the city’s budget and most extensively, a story stating there is a $1 million judgement involving his business and son in an Alabama court.

Young questioned the timing of the story, nine months after the Alabama court ruling. He also questioned why she would speak with the opposing attorney in the case.

“So my question is, why would Genelle Pugmire work with Danny Evans, the attorney representing the other side in this case, and write this article?” Young said. “So … the attorney we have been working against for the last 16 months, is in cahoots with Genelle Pugmire, writing an article in Utah?”

“Who on earth works with an opposing attorney if you are trying to find the truth?” Young asked.

people at a table and podium

Orem City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. (Orem City Council via YouTube)

Before publication of the article Young was asked to respond in an email but he said he didn’t see the email until the following day. The print version did not have his response while the digital version did. In the meeting Young also questioned council member Tom Macdonald about his knowledge of the reporting.

“I am not going to carry this on … but in the article that she printed last weekend, I’ve got 13 issues regarding items stated as facts. I want answers from her as to why these inaccuracies were printed and spread throughout Utah.”

Young said during the meeting that the court judgement is on appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court, as reported in the Daily Herald. He also mentioned a previous article by another writer that initially reported on court’s judgement and includes a writ of garnishment that names the mayor.

“The bottom line is that it’s sad when people work so hard to increase contention and divide our community for political gain. It’s pathetic and we should all push back against it,” Young said. “In the real world — in the real world — there are great things happening in Orem. Orem is a model for the state. I talk to my friends in different cities all the time and everyone is looking at Orem because Orem is a model … Orem is better than this. Let’s work together to end the misinformation and division and with that, I am going to close this meeting. Thank you.”

Council members mostly gave Young a standing ovation after the remarks. The full city council meeting can be watched below.

Young released a statement Wednesday afternoon:

When it comes to advocating for Orem families and safeguarding our city, I will not be bullied or intimidated by radical groups who want to push their high-density, anti-family, and anti-police agenda. We will continue to stand against these radical proposals in Orem, and I will not allow this unfortunate incident to divert our focus from our crucial Council agenda. Our goal remains steadfast: creating an environment where families can thrive. We will continue to fight against the effort to bring the  proposed 10,000 apartments on State Street back into the conversation, while maintaining low taxes and fees and supporting our dedicated law enforcement

My intention in bringing to light the long-standing issues with the Daily Herald’s reporting was to encourage people to rise above the divineness (sic) and misinformation that is overshadowing the amazing work of the City Council. As a community, we are better than this and I hope this incident will further serve as a wakeup call for the need for more responsible journalism and for each of us to work together with greater civility and unity.

The city of Orem released a statement:

We are deeply troubled by this incident because City Hall should be a place for civil civic dialogue where everyone feels safe and protected. The security and safety of our public officials is a top priority. The City of Orem will continue to promote civility at all times and ask for the public to join us in this effort.

 

 

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Person arrested after Orem city council meeting for assault, spitting