An aggravated assault charge was dismissed Friday against Granite School District Police Lt. Richard Todd Rasmussen, who shot and wounded an unarmed man after a chase in October 2004.
Newly elected Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller said it would be difficult to prove Rasmussen did not fire in self-defense.
It was Miller's first major decision as the new district attorney, and it drew immediate fire from her predecessor, David Yocom, whose office filed the charges against the officer.
"It should have been decided in a courtroom, rather than for political reasons," Yocom told The Tribune on Friday. "Let a jury make the decision. Especially when a law enforcement officer is involved, it should go to trial."
Here is the trust of his 'political reasons' charge
Miller said she reviewed the case - filed in January 2005 and set for trial next month - at the request of "a number of police officers."
One of Miller's campaign slogans was "Ask a Cop," and heading into the election, she had the support of the 700-member Fraternal Order of Police.
Dave Yocum was an awesome DA and I loved how tenacious he was. But I have to say there isn't much there there...unless you have built in assumptions. But I have no dog in this fight, I am just reporting it.
The worst part of the whole thing though, is that it puts Wally Bugden on the same side as Miller. Bugden is also currently representing former FBI 10 most wanted Warren Jeffs for a pretty penny (jetting to St. George etc.).
"These decisions are made in pressured circumstances," Bugden said. "They are split-second decisions made in dangerous and stressful circumstances.
"Sadly, people get shot with a Coke can in their hand," he added. "But the common denominator in officer deaths is an officer who hesitates."
How much do you want to bet that on another day, Bugden would argue the opposite thing for another client? Nah that's like betting on Payton Manning to choke during the playoffs. Too easy.