Utah Man Impersonating an Officer Arrested For Making Death Threats

A Utah man impersonating an officer was arrested earlier this month after he made death threats against two men in Saratoga Springs.

Racial hatred

Photo by: HonestReporting

41 year old Jerred Martin Loftus of Eagle Mountain, Utah was arrested after he aggressively approached two men walking on a trail whom he accused of being in the United States illegally. Angry at the men for no apparent reason other than their ethnicity, Loftus told the men he was a correctional officer and threaten to shoot them and hide their bodies. The frightened men called police while Loftus fled the scene on foot, leaving his vehicle nearby with his firearm and ammunition inside. Loftus was later apprehended and charged with aggravated assault and impersonating an officer.

Impersonating an officer

Loftus told the men he was a correctional officer, and while it is unknown if he had been previously, at the time was not an authorized law enforcement official of any kind. Utah Code 76-8-512 defines impersonating an officer as when an individual:

(1) “Impersonates a public servant of a peace officer with intent to deceive another or with intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely upon his pretended official act;

(2) Falsely states he is a public servant or a peace officer with intent to deceive another or to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely upon his pretended act; or

(3) Displays or possesses without authority any badge, identification card, other form of identification, any restraint device, or the uniform of any state or local government entity, or a reasonable facsimile of any of these items, with the intent to deceive another or with the intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely upon his pretended official act.”

Impersonating an officer is a class B misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Threatening to kill someone while impersonating an officer is punishable as a second degree felony, with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Racial Hate Crimes

The FBI issued a 2013 report (the most current documented hate crime information) which states that racial hate crimes accounted for 48.5% of all hate crimes nationwide. The FBI defines racial and other hate crimes as a crime against a person “motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias“[…]

Victims of racial hate crimes

The topic of racial hate crimes brings to mind for many the numerous crimes against African Americans (presumably by whites or Caucasians). This is an understandable forethought considering that according to the FBI’s hate crime statistics, 66.5 percent of racial hate crimes ARE directed toward African Americans. Surprising to some though, the second highest percentage of racial hate crimes are against Whites at 21.2%.

It’s all about the ratio

The Department of Public Safety recorded that in 2013 67% of all hate crimes in Utah were recorded to be at the hands of the white man (or woman). This percentage seems high, and many are likely to make swift judgments based on that number alone. However, it’s important to keep in mind the ratio of race to offender. The United States Census Bureau documented that Utah consists of primarily white/Caucasian residents and not by a small amount either. The white majority of Utah dominates all other races at a whopping 79.7%.

Motivation and bias

With the rising number of hate crimes, those who have committed an offense against a citizen of another race will possibly be questioned as to whether or not race played a part in the crime. In order to be prosecuted for a racial hate crime though, motivation with racial bias has to be proven first. While many use broad statistics such as those stated to jump to conclusions, an educated criminal defense attorney will dig deeper to ensure that the offender does not have an incorrect racial hate charge added to their offenses.