Victim of assault sues North Ogden police, claims they did not do enough to protect her

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NORTH OGDEN, Utah -- A North Ogden woman has filed suit against the city and police department after she was brutally beaten by her neighbor, and she claims police did not properly protect her from that neighbor.

Savannah Fuchs is the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and she said that if officers had done their job, then the assault she suffered could have been prevented. Fuchs spoke with FOX 13 News Wednesday and shared her story.

“I awakened, and there he was with a gun, bags, and duct tape--and he came in to rape me and kill me and my son... and I survived,” she said.

On the morning of April 1, 2014, Fuchs was held captive inside her own home. She was shot at and beaten for hours by her next door neighbor--all in front of her 6-year-old son.

“I heard, ‘mom, mom, mom’ he was looking down at me, watching bullets run past my face,” Fuchs said.

Her attacker, 54-year-old Todd Alan Barber, called the police. When they showed up, he shot and killed himself.

“Savannah is lucky she didn't die that day because he intended to kill her,” said Robert Sykes, Fuchs’ attorney.

Now Fuchs and Sykes are pointing the blame at police in North Ogden, saying she had reported numerous times that Barber was stalking and harassing her. Police argue they investigated her claims and assured Fuchs she was safe.

“Had the police done what they should have done, had the police been careful, this would have never happened,” Sykes said.

Sykes said police should have informed Fuchs that Barber had a criminal background, and done more to protect her. But North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor disagrees, saying his police did nothing wrong.

“I've reviewed the documents in their totality and feel that the officers’ conduct was very professional and appropriate," he said. "I think this idea of trying to turn a tragedy into a cash settlement by suing the police department--that's becoming more and more popular with attorneys like Mr. Sykes is outrageous,” said Taylor.

Taylor said he believes this lawsuit is just another baseless attack on police.

“I hope to see it get dismissed by a judge, and for somebody to say that these kinds of frivolous lawsuits from Mr. Sykes need to come to an end,” he said.

North Ogden says they will not settle in this case.

12 comments

  • No duty to protect or warn according to Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court has ruled that police have no duty to protect us. They could be standing right there while he was trying to kill her and do nothing and still not be responsible. She needs to understand that police aren’t obligated to protect her or her son and realize that there is no constitutional or legal right to receive police protection.
    An officerofficer could actually hide behind his car in safety and watch him kill her and be legally justified in putting their personal safety ahead of her life

    • bob

      You are correct, sir. Police officers have no legal obligation to protect anyone.

      Warren v. District of Columbia (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)

      Not a Supreme Court decision, but it IS case law unless and until it’s overturned……and it’s stood for 34 years so far. There are other Appellate level decisions that have ruled a police officer is under no legal obligation to intervene on your behalf. He might get fired for failing to do so, but there is no legal requirement.

      In the end, the only person you can hold responsible for your own protection is YOU.

  • Kdc

    I’m not sure anyone could have protected her. After all, a protective order is just a piece of paper, and it sounds like she did not even try to get a protective order on him. Regardless, If someone wants to harm you, they try. Remember, when seconds count, police are minutes away. People need to stop relying on someone else for their protection. Arm yourself with anything, but don’t bet your life on a phone call.

  • Mry G.

    I’m worried about the same thing with my neighbor. He keeps being an utter creep, looking in the windows of female neighbors, and the police keep buying his story that it’s a misunderstanding and there is nothing they can do.

    • miles (dave)

      in that case id wait till the next time you saw him then id go out to check the mail and exercise your right to open carry. start a conversation with him if you need to give him more time to notice your new toy.

      or wait till you saw him then go outside and clean and polish your new gun, if its not obvious then try waiving to him with parts of the gun in your hand.

      my point is advertise your now a gun owner. but do it in a very professional way.

  • penny

    I don’t think her suit is baseless. What u have r lazy cops not taking her seriously. They should compensate her and provide professional help for her and the boy. This is out and out lazy disregard for her safety. Blatant arrogance on behalf of the cops. Dirtbags.

    • Suzanne

      What exactly should the police have done? No crime had been committed until the day he actually attacked her. It’s unfortunate she was being stalked, but it’s not the responsibility of the police to guard her home 24/7. She could have requested a protective order, but then again, that IS just a piece of paper and doesn’t stop most people intent on doing harm. The police can’t win for losing anymore. If they act and someone gets hurt or killed, everyone is up in arms screaming police abuse/brutality. If they don’t act, they still face the same ridicule. So sick of everyone blaming the police for everything.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Sorry Penny but the police have no constitutional responsibility to protect you. That’s the dirty little secret the gun control crowd don’t want you to know about.

  • jenny

    What happened to her is horrible, but she should have done more to protect herself, if he was stalking and harassing her she should have moved or got an alarm system or took some sort of safety measure into her own hands.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    On June 27, 2005 the Supreme Court ruled day that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. In that case it was a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.

  • zrhettakers

    if only she had GUNS to protect herself and her boy. Police aren’t going to care. She needs to buy herself guns and ammo. And lots of knives.

  • yacope2254

    Oh honey, your mistake is thinking the police are there to protect you. The Supreme Court says there is no such duty. Cops are there to collect evidence and notify next of kin. IF they happen to be there then they can protect you, but in your home it is your responsibility to protect your family, self and property.

    That’s why many of us have guns and train with them. And yes I am also a woman and mother of three.

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