Freedom Discussions

He Cooperated with the Cops — and is Paying the Price: The Ordeal of Mark Byrge

b1f4d_spinal-cord-stimulation-179x300“Don’t tell me how to do my job – put your hands behind your back!” barked Gianfelice, instructing his trainee officer, Jennifer Nakai, to apply the cuffs. Before being shackled, Mark called his wife Tina to tell her he was being arrested.

“Shut up, or you’ll be put in the car next to him,” snarled Gianfelice. 

“This officer just assaulted me. Please call for a third party officer to investigate.”

“What the hell are you doing?” Mark exclaimed, his patience long since exhausted. “Let me f****ng go!”

Gianfelice cited Mark for “disorderly conduct,” listing the offended nurse as a witness. Predictably, his report didn’t mention his act of criminal battery against the handcuffed victim. That crime, however, was documented by the emergency room’s security camera.

Significantly, Gianfelice did not charge Mark with “resisting arrest.”

you sound like a city employee who’s worried about financial
liability,” Mark replied. 

didn’t talk to any of the witnesses or review any of my evidence,”
Mark plaintively replied. “How can you `clear’ him just by
reviewing his side of the story?”

American Fork officer showed up at our door – a really big guy I
hadn’t seen before,” Mark attests.


your name?” Mark asked. “Are you threatening me?”

Finch provided Gianfelice with a copy of his report “to refresh his
memory,” the officer changed his original story, admitting that he
did initially cuff Mark behind his back before transferring the cuffs
to the front.

This is the crux of the issue: Gianfelice
ignored Mark’s pleas to cuff him in front until after the damage had
been done, then he lied about doing so during the subsequent
. He did this despite clear and detailed warnings
about what this would do to the victim.

Finch said that this wouldn’t be necessary, because they were sworn
officers already under oath,” Mark informed me. “But all of my
witnesses were required to make sworn statements under penalty of
perjury. And then when I attempted to enter the officers’ statements
as evidence in my trial, I was told that they weren’t admissible,
because they hadn’t been made under oath. So I was deprived of any
opportunity to demonstrate that the officers had contradicted
themselves – which meant that I had no defense.”

(This is the first in a series of stories describing rampant police abuse in Utah.)

Dum spiro, pugno!

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