Lawsuit alleges West Valley police violated civil rights

Posted at 9:22 PM, Jan 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-16 23:22:29-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – A lawsuit alleges that members of the West Valley City Police Department’s now disbanded narcotics unit violated a couple’s civil rights.

Members of the unit entered Terry and Brandy Christiansen’s residence in 2012, and, according to information from police, Terry allegedly tried to flush methamphetamine down the toilet and fought with officers and even pulled out a knife.

However, a civil rights lawsuit filed this week claims officers slammed Terry’s head into walls, which knocked his teeth loose. They further claim officers choked him until he was unconscious. The lawsuit also alleges that officers searched Brandy illegally four times and that one of those searches was performed by a male officer who touched her genitals.

Mark Geragos, an attorney from Los Angeles, is representing the Christiansens.

“It shows, once again, the breadth and depth of the corruption in that particular unit of that police department, and we plan on holding them accountable in the department for what we consider just outrageous actions,” Geragos told FOX 13 News over the phone.

Geragos said he is also representing others who have had cases involving the department’s narcotics unit.

The lawsuit names former West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Neilsen as well as Lt. John Coyle and other members of the disbanded unit.