Utah Forces Victim to Pay Huge Fee to Sue the Police

A man wants to sue the Police Department for killing his dog. To do so he is going to have to pay a lot of money.

When police were searching for a missing child they shot Sean Kendall’s dog and killed him. Kendall was not happy about the way his dog, Geist, died. Salt Lake City offered him ten thousand dollars as the going rate for having the police break into an innocent man’s backyard and shoot his dog. Kendall did not think that was right and he refused the settlement.

But it turns out that, in Utah, only rich people get to sue the police. According to The Week:

But if he wants to sue the cop responsible for Geist’s death, Kendall will need much, much more than $10,000. That’s because Utah law requires anyone who wants to sue the police to pay the officer’s court costs and attorney fees up front — a bill that could easily run into the tens of thousands, and which would only be reimbursed should Kendall win his case.

Kendall’s attorney, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, argues this requirement “severely undermines the rule of law, while letting abusive law-enforcement officers off the hook for their violations of the state constitution and other state legal protections.” Kendall currently awaits a court ruling on whether the legal fees law is unconstitutional.

[See also, “Million Dollar Settlement for Police Raid: Not Enough.”]

As I’ve already mentioned, it also sets up a two-tiered system. Rich people can take cops to court but middle- and lower-class people can’t afford that option. Of course, this doesn’t mean that rich people need to sue cops that often. What it probably means is that rich people get a different kind of treatment from police officers.

The rich will get respect and deference while the poor will get their dogs killed.

I hope Utah will change this law soon.