Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is speaking out about the “Dirty Harry” tactics he says law enforcement agents used when they searched his house this week.
The Utah Department of Public Safety, along with the FBI, executed search warrants on Monday at the homes of both Shurtleff and his successor in the attorney general’s office, John Swallow. The agents were reportedly looking for possible evidence of bribery, obstruction of justice, and misuse of public funds related to the attorney general’s office. On Tuesday, Shurtleff said the agents’ actions at his home crossed the line.
“It was way overboard, a horrific abuse, an extremely improper abuse of force, given the nature of the alleged charge, the fact there were minors in the home — there was no reason for it,” Shurtleff told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Shurtleff, who was in Washington, D.C. when the search occurred, said that his teenage daughter had been ordered out of a bathroom by officers who trained a laser sight on her chest.
“To go in and point a gun at 5-foot-3, 117-pound minor who was coming out of the bathroom, for crying out loud, is absolutely wrong,” Shurtleff told the Tribune. “How do you get that out of the mind of a 17-year-old who is innocent of everything. I don’t care what you think of me or what you’re looking at me about.”
But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, one of the prosecutors leading the investigation, told the newspaper that the agents behaved properly.
“Nobody mistreated anybody. There were multiple witnesses down there and, in fact, all you have to do is look at the photographs” Gill said. “People are not in combat gear or rappelling down the house or anything like that.”