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Jury selection starts for the trial of Westfall vs. Rutherford

A jury selection has begun early this morning at the Bannock County Courthouse. Over 20 people were present and lined up against the walls of the hallway of the third floor.

After the jury selection is made today, the trial will begin for a nine year police veteran accused of assaulting a man arrested back in July.

In July, former officer Steven Westfall told Idaho State Police he wasn’t angry or upset, he just felt the need to control the suspect. This comes after Westfall swiftly elbowed suspect, James Rutherford to the face, down onto the hood of a police car. A dashcam caught the entire footage.

But another officer says he thought Westfall was upset and said, “He didn’t want to hurt him, but he did make a mistake.”

Westfall claims he thought he saw Rutherford headbutt another officer who was trying to restrain him. As a result to Westfall’s strong actions, it broke Rutherford’s sunglasses and he sustained swollen marks on his left face.

Rutherford was arrested that day for trespassing the OMNI building, resisting arrest, and obstructing. Westfall was placed on administrative leave and later resigned in August.

This afternoon, Judge Steven Thomsen will begin the trial.

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