Update: Pocatello Detective Caught Assaulting Man on Video Has Resigned

Detective Steven Westfall
Detective Steven Westfall

In July, CopBlock Network Contributor Steven Thomas posted the dash cam video of Pocatello Idaho Detective Steven Westfall smashing his elbow into the head of a man, who was already handcuffed and being held by two out of the four other officers present. Det. Westfall was subsequently charged with “unnecessary assault by an officer,” a misdemeanor. Westfall has since resigned and is no longer with the Pocatello Police Department after nine years.

James Rutherford the man being assaulted on that video was being arrested for trespassing at the time. He also contends that the real reason for Westfall’s use of force against him was that he was attempting to record him at the time:

“I’m glad that he won’t be out on the street doing this to anyone else,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford said he’s retained an attorney and has not ruled out taking civil action against Westfall. 

But first, Rutherford said, he has to face the charges that resulted from the July 10 incident. He was cited for trespass and resisting arrest.

“I believe that the video from the building is going to show that I was cooperating,” Rutherford said. “I just wanted to record the incident.”

He came contact with Westfall after Rutherford refused to submit to a search and was asked to leave the IRS office in the Omni Building.

The security guard notified Pocatello police, who responded and escorted Rutherford out of the building. He claims that he was placed under arrest when he attempted to record the incident using his cellphone.

Video from a police dashboard camera shows Westfall coming down hard on Rutherford’s head with his elbow. 

Rutherford was handcuffed, bent over the front of police cruiser and in the custody of at least two officers when Westfall struck him.

Prior to resigning Westfall, whose legal bills are being paid by the local police union, was on paid vacation. According to his attorney, James Ruchti, the resignation won’t have any bearing on his charge for the excessive use of force against Rutherford.

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DashCam Video of Steven Westfall Assaulting James Rutherford

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


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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you appreciate Kelly's contributions to CopBlock, consider donating to the CopBlock Network and/or visiting the CopBlock Store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.