Wrongful arrest lawsuit against West Jordan police moves to federal court
Jan 30, 2024, 3:33 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2024, 1:57 pm
WEST JORDAN — A lawsuit accusing the West Jordan Police Department of wrongfully arresting a woman and violating her Fourth Amendment rights is moving to federal court.
According to court documents, 54-year-old Sheri Meyer was arrested by West Jordan police officers on Sept. 26, 2022, for felony charges of assault by a prisoner and misdemeanor charges of assault on a police officer, refusing to provide information, and interference with an arresting officer.
The knock on Meyer’s door
Court documents state that West Jordan police officers responded to the MyPlace Hotel on 7424 S. Campus View Drive in West Jordan at approximately 3:50 a.m. after a call for a domestic disturbance that was in progress.
The person who reported the incident told police “that people in the neighboring room (and possibly a child) have been yelling and screaming at each other since around 10 p.m.,” the lawsuit stated.
In body camera footage obtained by KSL TV, four West Jordan police officers knocked on Meyer’s door until she answered, wearing only a shirt. Meyers repeatedly asked the officers if she could close the door and put pants on, but officers asked her to keep the door open while she did.
Meyers attempted to close the door on officers multiple times, but they prevented her by holding it open with their hands and putting a foot in the doorway.
Accusations of assault
According to the police affidavit, “(Meyer) brought her hand up in a balled up fist and swung her fist toward my face in a straight jab motion,” but the alleged punch did not hit the officer’s face.
In the lawsuit, Meyer’s lawyers claim she “told the officer to get her ‘foot out the (expletive) door, now ‘and then pointed her finger at the officer saying, ‘You don’t have a warrant.'” The lawsuit claims that the police body camera does not show her making physical contact with the officer.
According to the lawsuit, the officers entered Meyer’s room, grabbed her, and placed her in handcuffs while she was still half-naked.
According to the affidavit, police alleged that Meyer tried to pull away and “throw her body around” from the officers during the arrest.
“Officers made (the) suspect sit on a bed, and she kicked the first officer. The suspect was given an order not to kick at officers, and she then kicked the second officer,” the affidavit states.
In the body camera footage, Meyer tells officers multiple times she will sue them and the whole department.
“The officers realized they had no legal justification for their actions and were worried about (Meyer’s) threats of litigation. The officers promptly called for their supervisor, Nicholas Dailami,” the lawsuit states. “Officer Butler and Taylor then turned off the audio on their body cameras, left the room, and had a two-minute discussion outside.”
A ‘cool little restraint device’
The lawsuit states the two officers returned to Meyer’s room and told her she was going to jail. Officers wrapped Meyer in a bedsheet to cover her body and walked her outside to the hotel while leaving Meyer’s dog in the hotel room.
In the body camera footage, officers attempted to place Meyer in their patrol car and decided to place her in a WRAP body suit on the grass.
“When (Meyer) asked about the device, Butler responded it was a ‘cool little restraint device,'” the lawsuit stated. “The officers laid the device on the grass outside the hotel, then had the butt-naked, (Meyer) lay down on top of it as three officers tied the restraints.”
While being placed in the WRAP body suit, Meyer repeatedly asked officers why she was being arrested. Officers told her that she assaulted one of them.
In the body camera footage, Meyer complained about the tightness of the restraints and how they were hurting her. The West Jordan police officers placed her in the back of the patrol car around 4:30 p.m.
Taken to jail
While in the police car, Meyer repeatedly asked the officers to speak to her husband, who she claimed used to be a part of a police SWAT team in Salt Lake County.
The lawsuit claims officers repeatedly lied to her about contacting her husband, telling her they were on the phone to try to gather information. Later on, police body camera shows officers telling Meyer they never contacted her husband.
Meyer’s lawyers also claim officers told her that her dog was going to be picked up by her husband, but the dog was taken to a shelter instead.
In the body camera footage, Meyer was kept in the patrol car complaining about her back pain, asking to go to jail, and wondering why she was being arrested for approximately 15 minutes before being transported to the Salt Lake County Jail.
While being taken to jail, Meyer passed out twice in the patrol car and was unresponsive to repeated touch. Officers were able to wake her up, called for EMS and loosened her restraints before continuing to the jail.
Meyer arrived at the jail at approximately 5:30 a.m., was booked and let out on bail a few hours later, the lawsuit states.
According to court documents, on Feb. 24, 2023, the state of Utah dismissed all charges against Meyer. On Dec. 8, 2023, Meyer’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against the West Jordan Police Department in Utah’s 3rd District Court.
On Jan. 26, court records show the lawsuit moved to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
West Jordan police detective Dirk Petersen told KSL NewsRadio the department cannot comment about the case since it is ongoing litigation. He also said they are formally reviewing the case and that they believe their officers acted within procedure and protocol.