By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Saratoga police officer was arrested this week and charged with a felony and three misdemeanor after threatening police officers tasked with seizing one of his dogs on New Year’s Eve.
Justin Micah Paul Brown has been charged with influencing, intimidating or impeding jurors, witnesses and officers — a felony charge that comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine — interference with a peace officer, a misdemeanor charge, and two counts of allowing a large dog to attack a person, also a misdemeanor charge.
Brown was arrested Wednesday, but posted a $5,000 bond.
Brown is a sergeant and one of three full-time officers at the Saratoga Police Department. He has been suspended from duty for the time being, according to Bigfoot99 radio station.
According to court documents, on July 23, 2021, Carbon County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Opfar responded to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County in Rawlins to investigate a report that Brown’s K9-in-training Shaw had bitten Brown’s young daughter.
Brown’s wife, Amanda Brown, told the officer that the family recently purchased property and kennels in Saratoga.
The Brown family was in the process of moving in, but took a break and during that time, the dog tackled and bit the young girl.
Brown confirmed that he was training Shaw as a K9, but he bought the dog as a personal pet.
On Dec. 19, 2021, another Carbon County deputy was contacted on a report of a dog bite, this time on Amanda Brown.
Earlier in the day, Amanda Brown received a total of 18 stitches for a laceration sustained to her left inner forearm. It was reported this occurred at her Saratoga home while she was attempting to break up a fight between her two dogs.
It was later determined that Shaw was the dog that bit Amanda Brown.
On Dec. 30, a warrant to seize Shaw was signed by a judge.
The next day, police attempted to execute the warrant. Opfar spoke with Brown and told him the dog needed to be seized for court disposition. Brown said that would not be happening.
Brown also accused Opfar of lying and that he had violated Brown’s Fourth Amendment rights. Brown was told there was a search warrant for seizure of Shaw, but he refused to comply twice and claimed Shaw had already been taken to Colorado.
Brown then threatened all of the law enforcement personnel on scene, telling them that if they attempted to take his dog, he would “break [their] necks.” He also claimed no one in Carbon County could “take” him.
Opfar told Brown that all further contact could go through his attorney, and that he could have a good night.