In 1975, as the elected sheriff of Utah’s Davis County, William “Dub” Lawrence helped organize one of the state’s first SWAT teams. On September 22, 2008, his son-in-law, Brian Wood, was killed by that SWAT team outside his home following a 12-hour standoff.
After suffering a breakdown of some kind, Wood called 911 to report (falsely) that he had beaten and raped his wife. SWAT operators used chemical weapons to force Wood from the pickup truck in which he had taken refuge, then treated him to a barrage of rubber bullets, projectile bean bags, and pepper-spray rounds, in addition to tear gas and flash-bang grenades. While Wood was prone and helpless, he was shot with a Taser at least eight times by one officer, and an unknown number of times by a second — before being shot at point-blank range by another officer wielding a .308-caliber rifle.
One witness described the onslaught as “horrible — just like someone tormenting an animal in a cage.”
Lawrence, who served on the Bountiful Police Department and in the US Marines before being elected sheriff, was the closing speaker at a rally held yesterday outside the Scott Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City. The event attracted hundreds of people, many of whom have lost family members to the Police State’s war on the American population.
Invoking the theme of the protest, Sandy resident Edward Peltekian, a former civilian police volunteer, declared: “`Comply or die’ is not the law. We are not subjects, we are citizens.”
Unfortunately, as Lawrence points out, in recent decades law enforcement officers have been marinated in the conceit that they are a caste apart from, and superior to, the population they supposedly serve. While his speech evinced unwarranted optimism regarding a preponderance of conscientious people in contemporary law enforcement, and misguided confidence in the efficacy of electoral politics as a solution, it offered a detailed and compelling indictment of the system we now endure, and the privileged dispensers of violence that defend it.3:37 pm on October 5, 2014 Email William Norman Grigg