Provo Daily Herald, UT
Recently released documents show Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy made plans to break up an August party in Spanish Fork Canyon days before he had officers raid the event.
The pages of documents, including police reports and memos from officers involved to co-workers and the sheriff's office, indicated Tracy knew about the party as early as Aug.18, two days before it happened, and contacted other law enforcement agencies for assistance in shutting down the event.
Several days after the raid, the Daily Herald sent a request to Utah County under the state Government Records Access Management Act for any documents relating to tactical planning received or sent by the Utah County Sheriff's Office. Chris Yannelli, an attorney in the Utah County Attorney's Office, told the newspaper at the time the documents didn't exist.
But those documents do exist, and indicate law enforcement's intent in advance to shut the party down. The Utah Department of Corrections has released memos it addressed to the Utah County Sheriff's Office detailing the raid planning, dated the day of the event. Those memos were obtained through the Utah Department of Corrections by Brian Barnard, attorney for party promoters Nick Mari and Brandon Fullmer and landowner Trudy Childs.
"What those records initially show me is the sheriff planned to do what he did substantially in advance," Barnard said. "He knew that this was gonna happen, and he wanted to come in and frighten the hell out of everyone."
The lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 2, alleges illegal search and seizure and violations of the plaintiffs' right to be secure on their property, due process, freedom of association and freedom of expression. It also asks a judge to declare Utah County's mass gathering law unconstitutional because it allows law enforcement too much discretion. The American Civil Liberties Union has announced it will act as co-counsel for the plaintiffs.