Police Officer Charged After Assaulting Detained Man on Video

Detective Steven Westfall
Detective Steven Westfall

A Pocatello Police officer has been charged with assault. Detective Steven Westfall is on paid administrative leave and is charged with one misdemeanor count of “unnecessary assault by an officer.” The incident started after someone called police claiming that James Rutherford was trespassing on IRS property and was possibly armed with a knife. As police were walking Rutherford back to the patrol car, a shouting match breaks out between Rutherford and the police. After another officer slams Rutherford onto the hood of the car, Detective Westfall grinds Rutherford’s head into the hood with his arm. Detective Westfall loses control after hearing Rutherford say “Your F**king done Motherf**ker”, then strikes Rutherford’s head with his elbow. After the strike is delivered, an officer looks directly into the dash cam with a shocked look on her face. James Ruchti, the attorney representing Westfall, says his client is innocent of assault and was only protecting his fellow officers. He claims that he thought one of the officers was going to be ‘head-butted’ by Rutherford. He goes on to say that Westfall was losing his grip on the suspect, which led him to bring his tricep down on Rutherford’s head. Of course, the video evidence contradicts Detective Westfall’s statement entirely. You can clearly see that Rutherford was not in any position to head-butt anyone. He was already pressed down onto the hood of the patrol car and detained by the two other officers prior to Westfall assaulting Rutherford. Detective Westfall claims that he ‘doesn’t remember doing that move’, but somehow claims he can remember that he was losing his grip on Rutherford. In another laughable statement, Westfall’s attorney states that the officer wasn’t angry and he wasn’t trying to hurt him. Rutherford was treated at Portneuf Medical Center for head pain as well as vomiting, all of which are signs of a potentially serious concussion. As far as the ‘possible weapons’ that police were concerned about, after a thorough search, they came up empty-handed. Badges don’t grant extra rights, or at least they shouldn’t.  Had Rutherford been the one who assaulted the police officer, he would have been charged with felony assault. However, because Westfall is a police officer, he is only being charged with a misdemeanor. Contact the Pocatello Police Department and let them know what you think of their employee’s conduct in this video:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PocatelloPD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pocatellopd
Website: http://www.pocatello.us/police/
Phone Number: Chief Scott Marchand 208-234-6100

DashCam Video of Steven Westfall Assaulting James Rutherford

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Full Raw Video of Det. Steven Westfall Assaulting a Man, Who Was Already Detained


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