Update: Charges filed against man, woman who allegedly assaulted UTA, SLCPD officers, bystanders

James Morrissey and Taylor Smith. Photo: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 15, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Initial charges have been filed against two people police say assaulted an officer of the Utah Transit Authority Police who tried to intervene in an altercation.

The male and female suspects are also accused of fighting officers of the Salt Lake City Police Department and bystanders who tried to help the officers, their probable cause statements say.

The incident happened in the 300 south block of Main Street, in Salt Lake City.

James Morrissey, 31, was charged on suspicion of:

  • Assault on a peace officer in uniform, a class A misdemeanor
  • Two counts of assault, a class B misdemeanor
  • Two counts of interference with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor
  • Intoxication, a class C misdemeanor

Taylor Ann Smith, 30, was charged on suspicion of:

  • Assault, a class B misdemeanor
  • Interfering with an officer, a class B misdemeanor
  • Intoxication, a class C misdemeanor

Morrissey’s probable cause statement, filed by an officer of the Salt Lake City Police Department, says the UTA officer was on scene for a TRAX-related call, saw an altercation involving four people, and crossed the street to intervene.

“The UTA Officer went to separate the fighting parties and the A/P (accused person) swung on the UTA officer. The A/P hit the UTA Officer in the face and they went down to the ground in a struggle.

“Several citizens observed and rushed to assist the UTA Officer. The A/P kicked the UTA Officer in the face and legs several times. The A/P bit one of the citizens helping in the hand and then kicked him in the head.”

The suspect then punched another citizen attempting to help the officer, and kicked that man in the face and pulled his hair.

Salt Lake City Police officers then arrived at the scene, responding to the UTA officer’s emergency call for help.

“The A/P kicked and thrashed at two SLCPD Officers while they were trying to place him under arrest, interfering with their ability to complete the arrest. The A/P was heavily intoxicated as was evident by his throwing up several times and witnesses in the area saying he had been drinking.

“SLCPD was called on the A/P potentially fighting individuals in the area twice within a 10 minute span, showing his intoxication was causing
an undue disturbance to the public.”

Taylor’s probable cause statement was filed by another member of the SLCPD.

“I was advised I would be the transporting officer for the AP (referring to Smith). I was advised the AP was in the area where police were dealing with a drunk individual. The AP then began interfering with UTA police as they were trying to place a male individual in handcuffs.

“A bystander at the nearby bar attempted to remove the AP from interfering with the police. The AP kicked the male in his genitals and then was placed in handcuffs by police. The AP was very combative and began kicking at police when she was being placed in the patrol vehicle. The AP was put in a WRAP and then placed in the back of my patrol vehicle.”

A WRAP is a police tool used to restrict the movement of a suspect.

Both Smith and Morrissey were released after agreeing to conditions, including attending upcoming court appointments. Morrissey’s conditions were more restrictive, and included daily phone check ins and electronic monitoring.

The UTA officer who was assaulted was on scene across the street investigating after a car hit a catenary pole, a pole used to connect Utah Transit Authority’s TRAX trains to their source of power.



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