Federal judge tosses part of lawsuit over Four Corners raid

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Federal Courthouse - Courtesy: The Downtown Alliance

Federal Courthouse - Courtesy: The Downtown Alliance

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has dismissed parts of a lawsuit filed over a Blanding man’s death following a federal raid for ancient Indian artifacts.

In a ruling handed down Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby dismissed a number of claims filed by the estate of Dr. James Redd, who killed himself following a government raid over Native American artifacts back in 2009.

The judge dismissed a BLM agent from the lawsuit, finding he was given immunity from such a lawsuit. However, the judge did find that excessive force may have been used and allowed that portion to proceed further in the courts.

“Given the nonviolent nature of the crime at issue, the lack of threat to the officers’ safety, and the absence of active resistance to arrest, the court finds that sending so many heavily armed agents, even to collect 112 boxes of evidence, violated a clearly established right against the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” Judge Shelby wrote.

Read the ruling here:

Dozens were arrested in the raid, dubbed “Operation Cerberus,” that cracked down on trafficking of ancient Indian artifacts. More than 80 federal agents were involved. Dr. Redd killed himself the day after being arrested.

A separate lawsuit against the U.S. government is also pending.