South Ogden police had an eye out for 30-year-old Scott Sanders, who was wanted for jumping bail on charges involving a stolen firearm.
Photo credit: South Ogden Police Department
SOUTH OGDEN, Utah -- It started as a normal traffic stop, but officers were prepared for the worst when they suspected that a fugitive may have been in the car.
On New Year's Eve, police in the area had an eye out for 30-year-old Scott Sanders, who was wanted for jumping bail on charges involving a stolen firearm.
Sgt. Trent Olsen and Officer Scott Brown pulled over a car at about 10:30 p.m., suspected to have Sanders inside, according to a probable cause statement.
"The thing that stands out in this case is the tension that was there," South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke said. "They're familiar with what he's capable of."
In dashcam footage obtained by the Standard-Examiner through an open-records request, Olsen and Brown are seen approaching the car and addressing the driver. The tension begins when the officers identify Sanders in the backseat along with other passengers, including children.
Sanders is well known to police for having a firearm close by and doing anything to avoid arrest, Parke said. The officers had experience dealing with Sanders, who would often flee by car or foot from police.
"They realized that there was a good chance that someone was getting hurt," Parke said.
Olsen, who was on the driver's side of the car, is soon seen shouting orders to the driver and reaching for his firearm.
"I've worked with that officer for 20 years and I've never heard him use language like that," Parke said. "That tells me that he must have been terrified of what could happen."
According to the probable cause statement, both officers saw Sanders reaching down under his seat. Suspecting that it was gun, the officers ordered Sanders to keep his hands up, but he did not comply.
Sanders also shouted at the driver to put the vehicle in drive and "go, go, go," according to the statement.
The officers are seen in the footage, yelling, "Don't do it! Don't do this in front of the kids!" and commanding the driver to take the keys out of the ignition.
Sanders jumped into the front seat of the vehicle and attempted to get out. Brown then pointed his Taser at Sanders and fired. However, the prongs of the stun gun did not stick and did not immobilize Sanders, who continued to try to flee.
He only got a few feet before he was tackled by the officers and brawled with them off camera. During this time, back-up officers arrived to assist in restraining Sanders, who continued to resist arrest until officers beat him into submission.
After Sanders was in handcuffs, officers searched the vehicle and his body and found a stolen firearm, heroin, meth, a glass pipe and syringes, according to the probable cause statement.
Sanders was booked into the Weber County Jail on suspicion of possession of meth, heroin and drug paraphernalia, assault on a police officer, avoiding apprehension, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm by a felon and endangerment of a child.
Parke said he's happy with the way the officers handled the situation and thankful that it didn't escalate to anything more than a fist fight.
"They were ultimately right about Sanders having a gun," he said. "There were a lot of folks trying to get him off the streets."
In the footage, after Sanders gets out of the car and fights with the officers, another man is seen getting out of the vehicle and walking away from the scene.
Police are looking to question that individual, who they believe to have multiple warrants, Parke said.
Parke noted that Sanders was heavily involved with gang activity and that when he was originally arrested he was in the process of seeking revenge on a rival gang that killed one of his fellow members.
"This isn't someone you want on the streets," Parke said.
Copyright 2014 - Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
McClatchy-Tribune News Service