LOCAL NEWS

Clinton police launch internal investigation after women report ‘concerning’ officer encounter

Mar 29, 2024, 9:00 AM

ROY — Two women are recounting an interaction with a Clinton police officer during a traffic stop in Roy that left them concerned. The department is now launching an investigation to see if what the officer did violated policy.

The women said they were pulled over in Roy by the Triple Stop, but their worries started well before they saw flashing lights in the rear-view mirror.

In a day and age when you can’t be too cautious, Tailor Butterfield explained how she quickly grew suspicious of a plain, white SUV that started following her Tuesday night as she and her girlfriend Virginia Jensen drove home in West Haven.

The two said the vehicle pulled up to a four-way stop at the same time as them and had the right-of-way. The women waited for the other vehicle to go, they said, and when it didn’t, they went instead.

That SUV then turned behind them, and Butterfield described how as they got closer to her home, the vehicle was specifically staying behind them.

Butterfield, who was driving Jensen’s car, said they drove past their house because they were nervous to pull into the driveway, not knowing the intent of the person behind them. They turned around in their cul-de-sac and started driving the other way.

Home surveillance from Butterfield’s home shows the white SUV stopped on the side of the road, then suddenly flipping a quick U-turn to keep following the women.

“As soon as he turned around and followed us, we were like, ‘OK… He’s following us. We need help,'” Butterfield recounted.

Jensen said they began to drive toward the Roy police station a couple of miles away.

“I was like, at what point do we like, call 911?” she questioned.

As the two approached the Roy Triple Stop near South 3500 West and West 4800 South, a hidden light bar in the SUV’s windshield lit up. Butterfield pulled over but only grew more scared.

Butterfield said two men got out of the unmarked SUV, but one man stayed behind Jensen’s car. The other approached the driverside window, flashing a flashlight, Butterfield said, and hitting her face with the light.

“He tells me to put my hands on the steering wheel. And then he tells Virginia to put hers on the dash,” Butterfield said.

She said the officer was dressed in all black, and not in a traditional uniform.

“He was in like full SWAT gear, like with like helmet, goggles, flashlight and with like headphones,” she described.

He asked them both for their driver’s licenses and as he went back to his SUV, the women started wondering why they were pulled over.

When he walked back up, they said he told them that Jensen’s license plate frame was partially covering the plate and it was hard to read.

“He said I was crossing a line when I was turning left,” Butterfield said, of what else he told her.

“We rolled past the stop line before completing our stop at a stop sign,” Jensen said, of the third minor traffic law the officer told them they violated.

“Like, it just seemed like nitpicky reasons,” Butterfield thought.

The officer let the women go, but they worried the two men were impersonating police and weren’t really law enforcement.

“I didn’t see any markings that he was like a police officer or like a cop, nothing,” Butterfield said. “And so, I just became really suspicious.”

The suspicions grew after the response they got when they went to Roy police the next day, where the department confirmed the main officer on the stop wasn’t one of theirs.

“He seemed really concerned, like all of this is just so weird,” Jensen said, of the officer at the department.

It turned out it was a Clinton officer, and the department said in a release it launched an internal investigation after receiving a formal complaint. Butterfield said her father made the complaint.

“The investigation will scrutinize the specifics of the traffic stop, including the adherence to department policies and protocols, and determine if any conduct or procedural violations occurred,” the release stated.

The statement went on to say that cross-jurisdictional enforcement is “not routine,” but that the department “maintains strong relationships with neighboring departments.”

The department declined to interview with KSL TV but explained in the statement that the officer was in full tactical gear on the “routine traffic stop” because of an assignment on the U.S. Marshals Violent Felony Apprehension Strike Team.

Even so, the couple feels the officer didn’t properly explain who he was and why he stopped them. They also plan to file formal complaints with the department.

And in a time when someone can’t be too careful, they expressed that they felt things should have been handled differently.

“Like, what were we supposed to do?” Jensen asked. “We didn’t think we were safe.”

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Clinton police launch internal investigation after women report ‘concerning’ officer encounter