Teenagers Sneaking Soda Ends with Assault on an Officer

Three teenagers from southern Utah were arrested after one was caught sneaking soda and the others chose to intervene forcefully, one committing assault on an officer.

Those cups are for water only

Photo by: Bill Selak
Photo by: Bill Selak

An employee of a fast food restaurant in southern Utah contacted police after a 16 year old filled a cup of soda without purchasing it then knocked the employee down when the stolen drink was taken back and dumped. Officers located the teen at home, expecting to speak with the 16 year old and his parents. Instead they ended up calling over a dozen other officers for backup and arrested the 16 year old and two of his friends for an array of charges including assault on an officer.

Interfering and assault on an officer

Interfering and Assault on an Officer
Photo by: Chris Yarzab

When officer arrived at the home to speak with the teen, other people at the residence tried to intervene with the officer’s investigation. As the 16 year old was being led by police to the squad car, 19 year old Marcus Quiddam became agitated and chest bumped the officer. Not stopping there, Quiddam caused the officer to fall backward, resulting in minor injuries to the officer when he attempted to break his fall. The 16 year old and another aggravated minor were arrested for interfering with an arrest. Quiddam was also charged for his interfering as well as assault on an officer, a class A misdemeanor.

Rising tensions

Photo by: Kate Ausburn
Photo by: Kate Ausburn

With tensions rising between police officers and those they are sworn to serve and protect, many forget there are laws in place to protect the officers. Teens especially are at risk for crossing the line and facing charges as they can be emotionally driven as well as uneducated as to the specific laws regarding acting out toward law enforcement. It is important to teach children to continue to stand up for what they believe but to do it in accordance with the law.

Hate Crime against Police

A Utah teenager was arrested after drugging an officer’s drink and authorities are unsure if the act was a just a juvenile prank gone wrong or a hate crime against police.

Would you like drugs with that?

18 year old Tanis Ukena was working at a Subway restaurant in Layton, Utah when a police sergeant came to the drive through window in a patrol car. After receiving his lunch and drink from Ukena the police officer continued to the station for work when he began to feel a little off. Once at the station, other officers noted that the sergeant appeared to be high on drugs. The sergeant was taken to a hospital and a sample of his drink was tested for drugs; it came back positive for THC and meth.

Hate crime against police or a juvenile prank

Hate Crime Against Police
Photo by: torbakhopper

Thus far, there isn’t a known motive as to why Ukena would want to drug a police officer. With a young, impressionable mind being subjected to the multitude of vile stories in the media lately about police targeting others or being targeted themselves, some question whether or not this could have been a hate crime against police.

2nd degree felony

Whether or not the officer was targeted because of his profession, the young Subway worker was irresponsible and likely not aware that the actions he took could have such severe consequences. Ukena was charged with surreptitious administration of a substance, which is a 2nd degree felony. By spiking the officer’s drink he not only put the officer in danger but now may face up to 15 years in prison.

Parental education

When teenagers are being constantly subjected to social media posts that may encourage or condone a hate crime against police, it is important for parents to speak with their children about the consequences that can come from such actions. There are legal ways to voice concern and take a stand against the questionable activities of law enforcement officers that will not result in an 18 year old serving time in prison time.

Utah Law Enforcement and Understanding Kids with Autism

There was some recent law enforcement training concerning how officers can deal with kids who have autism and autism spectrum disorders.


What is Autism?

These disorders can be characterized in a variety of degrees; particular symptoms may include difficulties in: social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Autism spectrum disorder may also include intellectual disability, motor coordination difficulties and attention and physical health issues. Autism is more prevalent in boys than in girls and about 1 in 188 kids in the United States are on the autism spectrum.

Why Law Enforcement Needs to Know About Autism Symptoms

The point of the training was to help law enforcement officials understand some of the ins and outs of autism in order to help them better deal with youth they come in contact with in the field. It was pointed out that the skills you use with one autistic person may not work with the next autistic person you meet.

Autistic kids can suffer from sensory input issues, so it can be helpful for officers to turn off their lights and sirens. Using basic, literal language can be helpful too, as can avoiding using lots of hand gestures. When police officers have a more complete understanding of disorders like autism, they can hopefully deal more effectively with situations involving autistic kids.

Contact a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

If you have a child in the juvenile legal system, talk to an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney today. Any child with legal troubles can benefit from the services of an attorney.