West Valley police officers sued by 2 ex-drug suspects


Two people who were arrested by West Valley Police officers have filed a civil complaint against them for violating the couple’s civil rights. The criminal case against them is already dismissed in April.

On Oct. 26, 2012, Members of the disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit rushed into Terry and Brandy Christiansen’s house, and, according to records, Terry tried to flush methamphetamine down the toilet and struggled with officers and even drew out a knife.

However, a civil right lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims, officers banged Terry’s head into walls, resulting in a tooth loss. They further specify that the officers throttled him until he was unconscious. The lawsuit also charges that officers searched Brandy illegitimately four times and that one of those investigations was performed by a male officer who laid a hand on her genitals, in search of drugs.

The lawsuit included,  West Valley City and police officers Barbara Lund, Steven Beard shall, Sean McCarthy, Kevin Salmon, former Lt. John Coyle, and former Chief Thayle “Buzz” Nielsen.

Terry, 41, was in the jail for six months. Brandy was in the jail for five days, but was not charged against any crime.

He was charged in 3rd District Court with forced assault and possession of a dangerous weapon by a constrained person in addition to drug possession, when he got into a fight with the officers trying to arrest him and also attacked one of the officers with a knife. The officer got minor injuries.

Mark Geragos, an attorney from Los Angeles, is in lieu of the Christiansens.

“It shows, once again, the breadth and depth of the corruption in that particular unit of that police department, and we plan on holding them accountable in the department for what we consider just outrageous actions,” Geragos said.

Geragos said he is also representing those who have had cases pending related to the department’s narcotics unit.

Geragos, from Los Angeles, has represented such high-profile clients as Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and Scott Peterson.