The attorney for a Boulder City resident is asking the charges brought against his client by the city be dismissed due to misconduct by the prosecution.
Attorney Stephen Stubbs filed a motion to dismiss in Boulder City Municipal Court on Tuesday afternoon, in which he said that the either the city, the Boulder City Police Department or both had manufactured false evidence in the form of dash-cam video against his client John Hunt and given it to the defense.
“By manufacturing false and fraudulent evidence, the city attorney’s office, the Boulder City Police Department, or both have tipped the scales of justice so far that the scales themselves have fallen into a bog of eternal stench,” said Stubbs about Tuesday’s motion.
Hunt was arrested June 8, 2016, by Boulder City Police Sgt. John Glenn on several charges, including obstructing traffic and resisting arrest after he repeatedly walked back and forth in a marked crosswalk protesting a police-sanctioned pedestrian enforcement detail.
Stubbs was given the dash-cam video from the Boulder City Police car, and found surveillance video of the incident from a nearby business. In the dash-cam video, Glenn seemed to be aware that Hunt was protesting, and the surveillance video did not seem to support the charges brought against him.
The charges were dropped the later that month.
The alleged false evidence mentioned in Tuesday’s motion to dismiss includes dash-cam video of the June 8 incident that Glenn said did not match what he had seen in the system from that day.
It was given to the defense by the city on July 5 and is different than the dash-cam footage that Stubbs received in 2016.
Two forensic experts who analyzed the 2016 dash-cam video determined that the recording had been altered.
“Two separate audio forensic experts have confirmed that the video contains the wrong unit number … proving that, at a minimum the metadata was altered …. The defense does not know how much of the video was altered or if an authentic video even exists anymore,” Stubbs wrote in his motion.
New charges filed
Almost a year later, on June 5, 2017, the city brought five charges against Hunt for the incident. Less than a week prior, on May 30, Hunt’s attorneys brought a federal complaint against the city and the police department, accusing them of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, false imprisonment, negligence, assault and battery.
In his deposition Nov. 20 for that civil case, Glenn said the city attorney’s office had released that first dash-cam video and shortly after had their access to the video program restricted.
“There is a program that you have to have,” he said of how the footage is viewed. “It’s called VuVault, and you have to have a login to it. And then you have certain rights within that, with that login, and you can view video … At the time the city attorney’s office had access to that program, and they could view it and burn copies of it.”
Glenn said that he and the department’s information technology person, Ben Jurek, had administrative privileges within the video program and that the other sergeants could also view their dash-cam video and their officers’ videos.
Unit number change
In that deposition, Hunt’s other attorney, David T. Blake, showed Glenn the earlier dash-cam video of the event. The video, June 8, 2016, said that it was from Unit 277. The text of those items was in red print.
“As far as I know, our text is not in red,” he told Blake when asked if he’d seen that type of text overlay before. “It’s in white … It looks similar to the format that we use, but I don’t recall ever seeing any in red.”
Blake also asked him about the unit number.
In the deposition, Glenn said that his unit number the day of the activity on June 8 was 277. He also said that he had been assigned to that unit number since the vehicle was brand-new, approximately two and a half years.
Later in the deposition and in an email provided to the defense, Glenn said that although his unit number was 277, the camera in his vehicle was actually from unit 281.
“My vehicle number is 277 …. And the camera in unit 277 failed,” he said in the deposition. “It had to be sent back. There was another vehicle that wasn’t being used, which was unit 281. The camera out of that vehicle was taken out of that vehicle, placed in my vehicle and the device name was not changed when it was changed over. So my vehicle was being broadcast as 281.”
In the email Glenn added that the unit identifier was “mistakenly not changed” until around Aug. 4, 2016.
“We filed this because the evidence is clear that the city attorney’s office, the Boulder City Police Department or both manufactured false evidence and gave it to defense as discovery,” Stubbs said. “They cheated …. Justice requires all these ridiculous charges be dropped.”
Sue Manteris, spokesperson for Boulder City, said that the city had not seen the motion and could not comment on it.
Judge Victor Miller will make a ruling on this motion at a hearing Tuesday, Dec. 5, at which time he could deny it, grant it and dismiss the case against Hunt, or admonish both sides and give Stubbs all the investigative and personnel files for this matter.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.