Ogden High School use-of-force incident spurs investigation

Oct 4, 2023, 11:21 PM | Updated: Oct 5, 2023, 7:55 am

OGDEN — Ogden police are investigating a use-of-force incident out of Ogden High School.

A video shows the school officer grabbing and pushing a student into a locker and now that student’s family wants answers.

“This kills me to watch,” Melissa Zinsky said. “It absolutely kills me, I don’t want to see anyone manhandle my child like that.”

As Melissa Zinsky watches a snippet of video of her son, Zack, being pressed up against a school locker by an officer, she is outraged.

“I would like the officer to be held accountable for his actions,” Zinsky said. Minutes before the altercation with the officer, Zack was busted for vaping at school.

“I handed him the puff bar and he said, ‘OK, come with me we’re going to the office you’re getting suspended’,” Zack said.

Zack admits he wasn’t compliant at first.

“Yes, I probably should have been walking toward the office,” Zack told KSL TV. “Honestly I don’t like cops.”

Seconds before the camera rolled, Zack said the officer, who was walking behind him, tried to trip him. Zack fired back.

“I turned around and I was like, ‘Yo, that sh** ain’t cool, you know, that’s petty. Like, that’s not professional whatsoever, if you do that we’re really gonna have an issue’,” Zack said he wasn’t threatening the officer… and he continued.

“I told him it was a freedom of speech along with me saying if he did not have that badge, I would have slapped him up against his bald head,” Zack said.

That’s the moment retired deputy chief Chris Bertram said the issue turned from administrative to potentially criminal.

“That is a threat, so under those circumstances, the officer may react the way that he did,” Bertram said after he watched the video

The Ogden Police Department immediately opened a “use of force” case and said Zack may face criminal charges.

“We have to understand that a statement from a student that may not understand the realities of life, maybe he’s been given bad advice, watched too many YouTube videos, have to understand in the state of Utah whether he has his badge on or off, he is still a police officer,” Bertram said.

Zack’s family believes the officer’s actions were excessive and should be punished. “I think he abused his power. It breaks my heart to see this,” Melissa said.

Ogden police released this statement Wednesday on social media: “The Ogden Police Department is aware of a personal cell phone video that has been shared publicly regarding a student at Ogden High School and the School Resource Officer who is attempting to take the student into custody. At this time there are both internal reviews of the incident along with potential criminal charges for the student involved. This is an active and ongoing investigation and as such, there are no other details to be released at this time.”

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Ogden High School use-of-force incident spurs investigation