This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A 74-year-old Korean War veteran was held at gunpoint and then tackled by Salt Lake City police officers after he refused to comply with orders to raise his hands above his head.
Miles Lund said he tried to tell the officers - who believed he was carrying a gun - that his war injuries rendered his right arm immobile.
"But they just wouldn't listen," he said.
Instead, according to witness accounts and a police report, at least three officers tackled the man, wrestling him to the ground at Liberty Park and wrenching his arms behind his back to handcuff him.
Lund said at least one officer also kicked him in the ribs.
When they found no gun - only a retired military police officer's badge - the officers let Lund go.
"They didn't even apologize," said Lund, who suffered strains to his injured arm along with cuts and bruises. Lund said he is now also suffering a twitch in his left eye that Veterans Affairs doctors have been unable to diagnose.
Police officials say an internal investigation is under way into the Nov. 25 incident. Spokesman Jeff Bedard said the investigation carried "potential disciplinary action" but said none of the officers involved has been placed on administrative leave.
Bedard said he was not sure when the investigation would conclude but promised that Lund would be informed when it did.
But Lund says the department will not even give him the name of witnesses who were present when he was attacked, so he wonders whose interests the police investigators have most in mind.
In a police report obtained by The Tribune under a state public records request, the police department blacked out the names of the witness and Lund.
The episode appears to have begun when Lund - a regular fixture at Liberty Park, where he enjoys feeding the ducks - got into an argument with a man whose dog was running leashless, in violation of park rules.
"The dog was startling the ducks, and I told him, 'Hey, you know, your dog is supposed to be on a leash,' " Lund recalled.
When the dog's owner argued back, Lund says, he reached into his coat to draw out a list of rules he'd gotten from a park manager.
The police report indicates the dog owner yelled out, "He's got a gun" before running away to his car, where he called police.
Lund said he and a woman who was standing nearby shared a chuckle about "the strange fellow" before getting on with feeding the ducks.
Minutes later, the report states, Officer Bryce Curdie arrived and put Lund at gunpoint.
"He told me, 'Put your hands above your head or I'll shoot you dead,' " Lund recalled. "And I said, 'I can't, I was hurt in the war.' "
More officers were soon on the scene.
"We also put the suspect at gunpoint," wrote officer Christopher Johnson in the police report. "The suspect was not complying with Officer Curdie's commands, at which point officers decided to go hands-on with the suspect."
Johnson wrote that Lund "was placed on the ground and handcuffed."
Which is not exactly how Kenneth Hall remembers it.
"They tackled him, two men at his head and two at his feet," said Hall, who was standing nearby that day. "They threw him to the ground and dragged him on the concrete. Then they grabbed his arms and yanked them behind his back. Then they stood him up and dropped him to the ground again. It was brutality."
Mayor Rocky Anderson - who as a civil rights lawyer was among the most vocal critics of a controversial 1999 incident in which police in riot gear cleared partyers at Liberty Park - did not respond to requests for comment on the Lund incident.
Anderson, who called the '99 incident a "show of force and terror," is in Washington, D.C., this week to speak at a rally to protest the Iraq war.
Lund, who is consulting a civil rights lawyer about the case, said he would make up his mind about what to do after doctors have had a chance to properly diagnose his injuries.
Hall, who also fought in the Korean War, said witnessing the incident involving a fellow veteran gave him flashbacks.
"The only thing missing was a Chinese bugler," he said.