Utah Sheriffs’ Association Flaunts Photo of Officer that Killed Mentally Ill Man

The radical right-wing QAnon inspired and Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) affiliated Utah Sheriffs’ Association continues to flaunt the photo of a controversial Santa Cruz police officer who mowed down a mentally ill man in place of longtime member, Daggett County Sheriff Erik Bailey.

Editor’s Note: Lynn Packer has not only addressed the foundation and substance of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) disturbing ‘SATANIC PANIC’ criminal investigation, but evidence suggests that either this is nothing other than corruption and abuse of power by Sheriff Mike Smith, who serves as president of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association or it illustrates a mentally ill religious fanatic serving as sheriff, immersing himself in religious hysteria, Satanic Panic and is focused on the occult. It is important to note- that Lynn Packer contacted UCSO investigators and provided them with court records that included both victim, witness and expert testimony, perpetrator statements, along with evidence and rulings that are far more relevant, damning and significantly are closer in time. Lynn Packer served as an investigator during the child custody phase of Gordon Bowen’s divorce from his wife in 2009. These court records were believed to be sealed under court order and a series of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements (NDA) executed by Bowen and his attorneys. The confidentiality agreement does not apply to Lynn Packer because he refused to sign it due to the gravity of the allegations and overwhelming evidence against Gordon Bowen, who remains a powerful, well connected and influential individual with LDS Church authorities and Utah government officials. These allegations have been the subject of multiple criminal investigations, including the Department of Homeland Security that some involved with the investigation believe high level LDS authorities and Utah politicians derailed. We will be addressing the investigation in a separate report.

In a statement reported by FOX 13’s investigative reporter Adam Herberts, Utah County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Spencer Cannon, slammed Utah County Attorney David Leavitt for simply addressing suspected police exploitation of the mentally ill to further criminal investigations (a major problem in both sham investigations and wrongful convictions) in what appears to be nothing more than a smear campaign during an election cycle.

We know this, because Lynn Packer had far more evidence, including testimony by the victims under oath. He provided it to Utah County Sheriff’s Office investigators. There was substantially more evidence and the victims’ statements (under oath) were far more credible (and detailed) against Gordon Bowen than anyone else in the investigation. Longtime psychiatrist and friend of Bowen, David Hamblin, was arrested as a result of the victim’s statements, and their allegations against Hamblin were credible. It was Bowen who brought Hamblin in and participated in these “rituals”. Far more troubling, was their allegations against Bowen. How Bowen was not arrested or named as a suspect in this investigation, especially before Hamblin; is alarming. How UCSO investigators could avoid Bowen altogether and smear David Leavitt with these statements clearly demonstrates a political motive and corruption, unless Sheriff Mike Smith or Sgt. Spencer Cannon have a better explanation. Their only problem is, we know the cards they hold.

“Shame on (District Attorney David Leavitt) for doing that. It’s uncalled for, He said ‘tragically mentally ill woman’ five times… To attack their mental health status as a way to discredit them – and it was clear that that’s what he was doing – that’s just not okay.”

-Sgt. Spencer Cannon Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office

But “attacking the mentally ill” didn’t stop the radical far right, QAnon affiliated Utah Sheriffs’ Association from using the photo of Santa Cruz Police Department Officer Erik Bailey in place of longtime Utah Sheriffs’ Association member- Daggett County Sheriff Erik Bailey on their website.

Front and center of the MAGA Republican and QAnon affiliated Utah Sheriffs’ Association is president Sheriff Mike Smith, Spencer Cannon’s boss.

Today, we’re not going to touch just how painfully embarrassing and disgusting it is that Sheriff Mike Smith and his Deputy Spencer Cannon are- attempting to exploit the “mentally ill”, meth heads and Mormon fundamentalists (again, we want to make clear that we DO NOT mean the FLDS when speaking of Mormon fundamentalists/literalists) with forty year-old debunked myths, conspiracy theories- using “Satanic Panic” straight outta the Evangelist Deep South playbook in order to smear rivals and critics, for political and possibly financial gain. It is a story in and of itself, that perfectly demonstrates just how powerful, dangerous and influential the LDS Church is in Utah.

Santa Cruz PD Officer Erik Bailey’s cropped photo is used for Daggett County Sheriff Erik Bailey

Of course, it must be a simple mistake right? It’s no biggie– just making a mountain out of a mole hill again…

Except according to a reliable source at Utah County, this issue has been raised with the Utah Sheriffs’ Association and again when I sent in an email not just asking about the inaccuracy, but a request for comment over three months ago.

There has been no response or correction.

Regardless, it’s the same tired broken record excuse heard over and over again. This is an ongoing problem with far right groups, associations, local government agencies packed with political operatives and renegade cops that wish to make a subtle but ever-so-obvious statement. Soldiers, cops and even armed citizens who by their own admission are itching to shoot someone and spew typical uninformed right-wing ideology, hate and propaganda are often deified and honored by the mainstream American right, while their voters, moderates and independents alike claim it is just a “fringe issue” and makes the tired old “both sides” argument of the left-right political scale that has been irrelevant since McCarthyism.

Worse, it’s becoming more problematic among those with right leaning ideologies who often excuse or justify such behavior under the guise of:

  • Just asking questions
  • But people are saying
  • Need to hear the other side
  • The Cancel Culture myth
  • Free speech (yep, even Ivy League educated right-wingers are willfully ignorant of, or horribly fail to comprehend an 8th grade level education in the United States Constitution)

Taking it to the Libs

Let’s be clear on one thing. This wouldn’t be the first time far right organizations used photos of cops, soldiers or armed citizens who’ve shot and killed minorities, the mentally ill or homeless to promote hate or just to make a statement and “taking it to the libs”.

In fact, over the past decade the more outrageous and disturbing a maiming or shooting is that results in public outcry that can somehow be contorted into legally justifiable, the better- because they are “taking it to the libs”. Dozens of examples come to mind, yet each and every time we are first given a litany of excuses about the language and controversy around it being a “non-issue” and white males, especially rich white males who spew conservative and far right nonsense are “really the victims” in all this, until it becomes a punchline and truck decal- which was their intent all along. These individuals- especially those who used a gun are deified by the American right and used as some sort of a political statement, a new political accessory (and truck decal), something to rally behind and shove it to “these leftist Democrats”.

It’s as if the American right has been reduced to nothing more than angry isolated teenagers drawing marijuana leaves and slogans on their Trapper Keepers (yes, they are making a comeback) and strap up, wearing red hats to gatherings like they’re on a LA street corner in the nineties. They want attention and to make a statement, but just for attention’s sake. Their statement is lost in absurdity. It’s a smoke signal in a Facetime world. They’re desperate to attract a special, more specific kind of attention for their own disturbing agenda. It’s true, Fox News did to our parents what they thought rap music and video games would do to us.

Second and most important, the association has 29 members and every other sheriff’s photo who is available- is lifted from their respective county or sheriff office’s website. Even unprofessional photos such as Box Elder County Sheriff Kevin Potter were taken from their respective county websites. The few that didn’t have photos on their respect county or Sheriff’s Office websites, were acquired directly from those sheriffs without an issue or using other law enforcement individuals with the same or similar name (and there were several, some with impeccable careers and positive stories).

One sheriff, the photo wasn’t available and he didn’t provide one, so they used a shield (badge) and the association’s logo in place of one.

Here is Daggett County Sheriff Erik Bailey from Daggett County’s website:

Daggett County Sheriff Erik Bailey

Another important aspect often overlooked in these situations when these organizations downplay their “accidents”, mistakes and simple oversights, is the fact is somebody had to locate, crop and place the photo.

The photo used by the Utah Sheriff’s Association was lifted directly from an article reporting on Santa Cruz Police Department Officer Erik Bailey’s shooting of Sean Arlt. The photo is of officer Bailey with Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel. In the report, there were multiple photos of Bailey with several other Santa Cruz police officers at their swearing in ceremony. In order to identify Bailey, they’d have to read the subtitle, and in every one it is clear that he was just sworn in as a police officer with the Santa Cruz Police Department. He is in uniform, with Santa Cruz PD paraphernalia all over the place.

If you type ‘Sheriff Erik Bailey’, his professional photo from the Daggett County website would have appeared first. There never was a photo of SCPD officer Erik Bailey being used mistakenly for the sheriff until the Utah Sheriffs’ Association published it. Since they did, SCPD officer comes up in images as Sheriff Erik Bailey, following Daggett County’s photo and info about Sheriff Erik Bailey. Sadly, the photos of officer Erik Bailey misidentified as Sheriff Erik Bailey go directly to articles regarding the controversial shooting of Sean Arlt- which seems to be officer Bailey’s most defining moment in Santa Cruz, which was chastised by the law enforcement community.

The most damning of all, is the fact that the Utah Sheriffs’ Association was notified of this error at least twice in the past and it remains unchanged.

This could only mean one of three things:

  1. This was a deliberate act by the Utah Sheriffs’ Association
  2. They’re not really serious any longer outside of using the association as a propaganda tool to rile up the radical right and deceive voters by pushing 2nd Amendment myths, misconceptions and conspiracies’. A one trick pony. Which if the only real issue that the entire assembly of Sheriffs in the state of Utah see is “the main problem” and top law enforcement issue in the state is potential Federal legislation regarding gun control (that doesn’t or has not occurred in decades), if that’s all they have to worry about, then Utah needs new sheriffs. They need new top law enforcement officers in the county now.
  3. They’re incompetent, which in turn is dangerous (hence the Satanic Panic nonsense makes even more sense, much like the rural south in the mid-nineties who had task forces investigating “witches”)

Regardless, given their radical beliefs, history, close association with Richard Mack & the CSPOA and what they stand for, this is just another glaring example of their incompetence, commitment to the MAGA cult and political radicalization of members in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints better known as the Mormon Church who identify with components of the radical right

Ultimately, it disrespects their fellow peer and member, Sheriff Erik Bailey and undermines his service and credibility. Sacrificing him for a punchline or worse, through their gross incompetence and lack of integrity, they’ve forever tied him digitally, mixing his digital footprint with a controversial police officer who’s own peers view as a coward. It also disrespects the Arlt family and Sean’s memory, except they don’t care about them.

The Shooting of Sean Arlt

On the evening of October 16, 2016, a neighbor called 911 to report that “the crazy kid from next door” on Chace Street in Santa Cruz was “threatening to kill everyone outside”. Officer Erik Bailey was one of four Santa Cruz Police Department officers dispatched to the home of thirty-two year-old Sean Arlt, a man who suffered from mental illness and the alleged source of that disturbance.

According to multiple reports, earlier that week Arlt had been placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold at the Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Center. According to Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel, Arlt’s troubling behavior earlier in the week included describing two pens as “my keys to heaven”.

Outside the Chace Street home, Bailey and three other officers confronted Arlt supposedly holding garden rake in a threatening manner. Arlt then charged at the four officers and Officer Adam Baker deployed two Tasers in rapid succession with no effect. Officer Bailey fired two lethal gunshots just a couple of seconds later.

The entire encounter between Arlt and the officers lasted less than 20 seconds.

Arlt never made physical contact with the officers or anyone inside the house.

The shooting of Sean Arlt was caught on dashcam. Upon release of the dashcam video, it was criticized not just by mental health professionals and citizens who are often mocked and maligned for not understanding or knowing the dangers that officers face, but overwhelming number of law enforcement professionals who pointed out that these officers-

  • Didn’t use common sense
  • Failed to follow basic training and department procedure
  • Demonstrated a complete lack of awareness
  • Failed to use strategy and basic contain, control and detainment tactics when dealing with the mentally ill or aggressive suspect in general
  • Demonstrated a fear of physical confrontation and use physical force which is just simply part of the job

Many also criticized officers’ overreliance on Tasers in general- which can fail up to 40% of the time and then resort to deadly force instead of physical force when they fail.

Some officers went so far as to call the four officers “cowards” for not willing to get “hands on with a suspect” who armed with “a garden rake”.

Of course, the usual defenders of anyone who carries and uses a gun came to the four officer’s defense, especially Erik Bailey’s.

The dashcam video that shows the shooting of Sean Arlt can be found at the link below.

View discretion is advised.

Resources and Further Reading


Santa Cruz police knew Sean Arlt had mental illness, family says (ksbw.com)



City of Santa Cruz Settles in Sean Arlt Shooting | Good Times


What’s known about the ritual sex ring under investigation in Utah County (sltrib.com)

Satanic panic is making a comeback, fueled by QAnon believers and GOP influencers (nbcnews.com)

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