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Mother of man who severed SLC cop’s ear during struggle claims police used excessive force

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Posted at 9:28 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 09:42:25-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Police are investigating an arrest in which an officer had part of his ear severed, and they are trying to determine if the officers involved used excessive force.

Leon Hall, 23, was arrested outside the apartments on 120 South 300 East in Salt Lake City late Tuesday night.

According to police, Hall resisted arrest and got into a scuffle with officers, during which time he used a glass ornament to sever part of an officer's ear. Police then used a baton and Taser to subdue Hall. Part of the arrest was caught on home video.

Hall's mother, who chose not to be identified, said she watched the video, and believes police used excessive force.

"They just kept beating him, boom,boom, boom," she said. "The excessive force from the Salt Lake City Police department, it's really obvious, if you watch the video you can make that decision yourself, I don't have to convince anybody, and I couldn't watch it as his mother, I couldn't see it. I'm heartbroken, I'm angry, a parents' worst nightmare to see something like that."

FOX 13 also showed the video to a Utah criminal defense attorney, who said you could make a case for the suspect and the police.

"The individual is saying stop, so it seems like he is acquiescing to the police authority," said attorney Clayton Simms. "It looked like he was not moving and subdued at one point."

Simms also acknowledged police have the right to use force if they feel it's necessary.

"Severing a body part, so that's obviously a very serious offense," Simms said. "Was he engaged and continuing to fight? And so some of that will just have to be determined later on."

Salt Lake City police are investigating.

"Anytime an officer uses force on the Salt Lake Police Department they have to document the level of force they used and why they used that level of force," said Detective Cody Lougy.

Hall was taken to the hospital for a few hours the night of the arrest before he was booked into jail, where he remains without bond.