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Body cameras show police arresting hotel owner; attorneys claim use of excessive force

Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 09:14:36-05

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — It started as a call for help from a hotel customer locked out of his room, outside of the hotel he was staying at in Washington County.

Two officers with the Hurricane Police Department responded to the "My Place Hotel" where the man was waiting for them outside.

One officer wearing a body camera recorded the entire exchange. The date stamp in the right corner of the body camera footage shows January 2020.

The footage shows the man explaining to the officer he left the hotel to smoke a cigarette, then realized he was locked out. Eventually, officers went into the hotel with the man.

Danyale Blackmore, who owns the hotel with her husband said the man broke the front door in an earlier attempt to get back inside.

Using the phone in the front lobby, officers called Blackmore. She said she thought it was a prank call.

"It could have been anyone in my lobby," said Blackmore.

Minutes passed by before Blackmore walked down to talk with police.

The video shows Blackmore upset with the man, saying "he kicked the door open. I want him out."

Blackmore is seen walking away from the officer and lobby, down a hallway and the officer follows.

The video shows the officer asking Blackmore to stop, then appears to push her back before arresting her.

"Do not touch me," said Blackmore.

Once handcuffed, officers took Blackmore to their truck, all the while Blackmore continues to ask why they are arresting her.

No response is given, then the officer mutes his body camera for a conversation with his colleague.

About four minutes later, the other officer is seen telling Blackmore she's, "acting like a child."

"The problem is that you're so damn drunk that you're acting stupid," one officer said. "That's why you're in a cop car right now." Blackmore was later taken to the Washington County Jail.

Before leaving, one officer walks around the building to help the man go through his hotel room window, which the man left open.

In a probable cause statement, Officer Jared Carlson wrote, "I observed the very strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from Danyale's breath when she yelled. She also admitted to consuming alcoholic beverage [sic] after work. I determined based on Danyale's behavior there was probable cause [sic] Danyale's actions were disorderly and caused alarm."

Officers charged Blackmore with disorderly conduct and interfering with an arresting officer.

The body camera was turned off once the officers reached the Jail. It was there that Blackmore said she was put into a holding cell and asked to be a part of a strip search.

Blackmore said she was with a female officer, but that multiple male officers watched.

"There’s male guards standing outside, while I’m stripping down all of my clothes," said Blackmore. "That was so humiliating to be exposed like that and to have to take off my clothes in front of men for no reason at all."

A night that Blackmore said has left her emotionally scarred.

"I hate working at the hotel at night," said Blackmore.

Blackmore and her attorney filed a lawsuit claiming the officers used excessive force for an unlawful search and seizure, that the arrest was unwarranted with no probable cause and that the strip search was employed illegally.

FOX 13 reached out to Hurricane Police who said they would not comment at this time.