The State of Utah has settled for $40,000 with Ryan Jones, who sued the state after the Utah Highway Patrol's 2007 Trooper of the Year Lisa Steed tazed him on State Street more than two years ago. ---
Steed pulled Jones over in South Salt Lake in March 2009. Despite his polite, repeated requests for an attorney, Steed demanded he get out of the car. When he did not immediately comply, she "drive-tazed" (akin to using a cattle prod) him twice in the shoulder.
The settlement follows on the heels of District Attorney Sim Gill confirming long-held rumors that his office has been investigating numerous Steed arrests after concerns were expressed by defense attorneys.
Several cases where Steed was the arresting officer, defense attorneys say, have been dismissed based on her involvement alone. Now, dozens more have apparently been reopened as part of a wide investigation by the D.A. into Steed's voluminous arrests.
Here's a video of the incident that cost Utah $40K:
Jones was represented by local attorney Brian Barnard, who described Jones' arrest by Steed as "a case of excessive and completely unnecessary use of force." He continued that while Tasers are "useful tools for officers," there had been many instances recently where it had been employed improperly, "with potentially lethal consequences." Steed's use of the weapon "was a case of a trooper acting unprofessionally, irresponsibly and maliciously."
A Utah Highway Patrol spokesman said that Trooper Steed "is still working, functioning" at the UHP, but referred questions regarding the settlement to the state's risk management department.
City Weekly first raised questions about Steed's approach to DUI enforcement in the 2010 cover story Super Trooper.