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Ogden man apprehended in violent confrontation with police gets $15K

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 8, 2023
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In this screengrab from police body camera footage, Shawn Sims, in handcuffs, sits on the curb of Washington Boulevard in Ogden on Saturday, April 22, 2023, after a confrontation with police while an officer stands nearby.
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In this image taken from body camera footage, Ogden police wrestle with Shawn Sims while trying to arrest him on Saturday, April 22, 2023. The incident occurred in the 1700 block of Washington Boulevard and police held a press conference about the case on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.

OGDEN — Shawn Sims, involved in a violent confrontation with Ogden police last April, has received $15,000 stemming from the federal lawsuit he filed in the case against the police department.

Sims’ lawyer, Bob Sykes of Salt Lake City, said it was his client’s call to accept the offer. Sims had “recovered nicely” from the injuries he sustained in the April 22 incident, Sykes said, potentially boding against a larger settlement or no settlement had the case gone to trial.

“It’s the client’s decision,” Sykes said.

Sims — now facing criminal charges in the incident in 2nd District Court in Ogden — filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, also naming the four officers involved and the City of Ogden as defendants.

Heather Brown, the lawyer representing Ogden and the officers, described the payment as a means of resolving the case without having to go through a lengthy, expensive trial. She described the payment — outlined in federal online court records — as an “offer of judgement” not a “settlement.”

“It was an offer to have it resolved for far less than what it would cost to litigate it,” she said. Per the resolution, agreed upon by Sims on July 26, the police department and city admit to no liability or wrongdoing in the April 22 confrontation, caught on video and the focus of widespread media and social media attention.

Sims, 31, filed his lawsuit on May 8, charging officers with excessive use of force in the incident in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which governs police queries of people they deem suspicious. He said at the time that the incident left him with cracked ribs, a broken nose and a broken jaw, and Sykes still maintains that his client’s actions didn’t justify the force the police officers used.

“I don’t think he was resisting,” Sykes said. Sykes is to get attorney’s fees from the city and police department as part of the resolution of the federal case, but the two sides are negotiating the amount.

Notwithstanding Sykes’ contentions, the Weber County Attorney’s Office has determined that the use of force by officers involved in the April 22 confrontation was justified. The incident occurred in the middle of Washington Boulevard after Sims rebuffed officers’ commands to stop when they came upon him walking in the busy roadway, precariously close to traffic.

Weber County Attorney Christopher Allred noted in a letter explaining the decision to Ogden Police Chief Eric Young that Sims, apart from ignoring the officers’ commands, had reached into his waistband during the confrontation, as if reaching for a gun or some other weapon. The Standard-Examiner received a copy of the letter, dated July 18, after filing a public records request.

“Under the circumstances it was reasonable for the officers to believe that Sims had a weapon, possibly a gun, that could be used against them. Therefore, when Sims failed to comply with orders to show his hands, and in fact intentionally led officers to believe he had a weapon, it was reasonable for officers to use significant force to swiftly effect an arrest and to defend against bodily harm to themselves or others,” Allred wrote.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Ogden police had also noted Sims’ resistance to the responding officers and his suspicious hand movements as justification for their response.

Sims was walking in Washington Boulevard, close to traffic, when passing officers came upon him. After he resisted orders to get out of the street, four officers took part in apprehending him, tackling him to the ground, striking him several times and using a Taser on him twice.

A bystander filmed part of the encounter, spurring a quick and strong response from many. Police subsequently released footage of the incident from body cameras worn by the responding officers.


While the federal lawsuit may be resolved, by and large, Sims now faces new criminal charges in 2nd District Court in Ogden stemming from the April 22 incident.

The Weber County Attorney’s Office on Thursday charged him with possession of a controlled substance and failure to heed the command of a police officer, both class A misdemeanors. He also faces a count of interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor, and a count of improperly using a roadway as a pedestrian, an infraction.

Charging papers in the new case describe how police came upon Sims on Washington Boulevard and their efforts to apprehend him.

“Shawn fled west across Washington Blvd. where I then gave verbal commands to stop,” reads the narrative provided by the responding officer. “Shawn continued running and had to be forcefully taken to the ground, where Shawn continued to stiffen his arms and keep them under his person despite officers giving him verbal commands to provide his hands.”

Sims is being held in the Weber County jail. He has been there since his arrest last April in connection with a separate case.


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