Quis custodiet ipso custodes? (Who then shall guard the guards?)
Ex-Ogden officer appears in court on charge
OGDEN, Utah — A former Ogden police officer who was decorated for actions that helped end a mall shooting made an initial appearance on a sexual misconduct count in court on Tuesday, but no details of the charge were released.
In December, Weber County prosecutors charged former patrol officer Ken Hammond with one third-degree felony count of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old. The allegations stem from a July 2005 report.
There were no details in court documents and Hammond’s defense attorney, Brenda Beaton, would not comment Tuesday.
Weber County Assistant District Attorney Sandra Corp also would not comment, except to say prosecutors will subpoena the alleged victim, now an adult, at the defense’s request.
A preliminary hearing for Hammond, who was accompanied by his wife in 2nd District Court on Tuesday, is set for March 2.
Hammond was hailed as a hero after intervening in a February 2007 mall shooting in Salt Lake City that left five dead and four injured.
Off-duty and having a Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife, Hammond engaged the teenage shooter, Sulejman Talovic, in a gunfight. Police said that prevented more shoppers from being shot or killed and gave local police time to arrive.
Hammond, 35, had been on paid leave, but resigned from the police department on Jan. 9. Beaton has said the decision came after they determined he would be fired.
Assistant Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt has said that decision had not been made because an internal investigation into the allegations had not been completed. Hammond had worked for the Ogden department for about eight years.
In a separate civil lawsuit, Hammond has been accused of using excessive force during a DUI stop in May 2008. Natasha Child’s lawsuit claims she and her husband were roughed up by Hammond.
Ogden police were also named in the lawsuit, which was filed in December in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court. In a court filing last week, attorney Allen Larson said neither the city of Ogden nor its police department can be held liable for the actions of a former officer.