Police arrest man at press conference announcing excessive force lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah)- Salt Lake City Police arrested 61-year-old Jackie Sanchez Wednesday for charges stemming from a July incident where police say he was threatening toward an officer. The arrest came while Sanchez and his attorney were announcing a lawsuit over the incident.

Back in July, officers say a K-9 unit responded to a call about two men causing a disturbance at the City and County Building.

When officers approached the men, one of the suspects, 61-year-old Jackie Sanchez, repeatedly threatened to assault the officer. Police say surveillance video and multiple eye witnesses corroborated the report.

"The officer warned Sanchez about his aggression but ultimately had to deploy his K-9 in order to prevent further assault and take the suspect into custody," a police report said.

Sanchez's attorney Robert Sykes contradicts that account and said surveillance and witnesses support his client's claim. Sykes alerted the media Wednesday of a civil rights lawsuit. He claims the officer ordered the dog to attack on Sanchez when it wasn't warranted.

"[He] was sitting at a bus stop in front of the Matheson Courthouse, minding his own business. He was inebriated, but not making a public spectacle," Sykes said.

Sykes claims the dog injured Sanchez's leg and the "attack almost resulted in loss of the end of his thumb". He says medical bills wer $30,000.

Sykes admits his client was drunk, but never moved at the officer in a threatening manner.

During the press conference they were alerted that the police were downstairs and there to arrest Sanchez.

Officers said this wasn't about retaliation, but just serving the warrant.

"We were advised that we had this individual down here doing a press conference and we responded to this address and took him into custody," said Detective Robert Ungrich of Salt Lake City Police Department.

According to court records Sanchez was charged over the July incident and told to show up to court on September 11. When he failed to show a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sanchez's attorney questioned the timing of the arrest.

"They offered upstairs to just have himself surrender, so it can't be very important," said Sykes. 


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