DOJ clears sheriff of charges alleging he choked a suspect

Upper left: Department of Justice emblem; right: Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel, date not specified | Composite image, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – The Justice Department recently ended an FBI investigation of the Beaver County sheriff after finding no evidence to move forward with allegations that surfaced during a 2014 incident.

In a recent letter to his attorney Peter Stirba, the DOJ cleared Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel of all charges regarding claims he had assaulted a man at a homicide scene May 14, 2014.

“The DOJ’s decision is what we always hoped for and what we expected but until it actually happens you’re just waiting and you don’t know,” Stirba said. “This letter memorializes that there is nothing and has never been anything to the allegations against Sheriff Noel. He did not act with excessive force in any way. These allegations were completely without merit.”

Noel has been under investigation by the FBI since January 2015.

It’s been a long time and I’m just glad it’s over,” Noel said. “I have walked around with this cloud hanging over my head and had horrible things said about me in the media and I just am glad I have finally been exonerated of any wrongdoing.”

The FBI investigation was one of three investigations conducted since the 2014 incident in which former sheriff’s deputies Cody Allen and Steven Kline accused the sheriff of wrapping his hands around the neck of 28-year-old Timothy Scott Wilson.

State police regulators with Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training conducted an investigation into the allegations that same year. That investigation was to determine whether Noel should lose his police certification.

On Nov. 4, 2014, POST sent Noel a letter stating “there was not clear and convincing evidence” of assault against Wilson.

Davis County Prosecutor Tony Rawlings followed suit and began reviewing the case for the state Attorney General’s Office in December. He later found no grounds to bring formal charges against Noel.

It was after Rawlings declined to prosecute in January that the DOJ stepped in.

The incident in question occurred at a motel in Beaver. Wilson’s mother, Dorothy Louise Searcy, then 44, stabbed and killed her husband, 45-year-old Reginald Searcy. Wilson was in the next room during the stabbing. He was later handcuffed while deputies and a state trooper investigated the scene.

At some point, Noel told a deputy to transport Wilson to the Sheriff’s Office for an interview.

As the deputy walked Wilson to his patrol car, Wilson yelled at another deputy to get his mother’s medication.

Noel then yelled at Wilson to shut his mouth, police reports state. There was a verbal altercation between Wilson and Noel causing the sheriff to “take control of Wilson from the deputy,” according to the report.

Wilson continued to fight Noel in the vehicle allegedly head butting and biting him while the sheriff was trying to lock him into his seat belt.

He bit me, he assaulted me, he head-butted me and I was trying to stop him,” Noel said.

Allen was fired that following November from the Sheriff’s Office over allegations he was drunk at a Halloween party and threatened someone there. Allen claimed the termination was retaliation for his report about Noel in regards to his handling of Wilson.

He pursued a civil rights lawsuit in 5th District Court that was recently settled for a small amount, Stirba said.

Allen also testified on behalf of Wilson who also sued the county and lost his case over the assault allegations.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Jan.18, 2015, that Kline, the other deputy who filed a complaint against Noel, was later charged in 5th District Court in Beaver with a Class A misdemeanor for theft. However, court records do not reflect this charge.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • 42214 September 10, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Choke him, heck, shoulda shot him.

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