The quiet life in Utah

I don't normally pay attention to tabloid-style news, but this story appeals to one's sense of comedy-drama. I should warn you that the account is a bit indelicate.

According to news reports and official documents, back on July 11, Deputy Sheriff TJ Brewer and his wife hosted TJ's father, Fire Chief "Corky" Brewer, for dinner, which TJ cooked. The meal was followed by drinks, which were followed in turn by some more drinks. At some point Deputy TJ realized that he was alone downstairs and went up to check on his father and his wife. In a bedroom he found his father lying on his back with his wife performing some sort of medical procedure that involved straddling Chief Corky's lap and hopping up and down.

TJ apparently took objection to this and for some reason became upset with his father, which strikes me as unfair. I mean, the guy was just lying there. Anyway, TJ allegedly began beating, as he later told officers, "the fuck" out of his father, which task he could more easily have left to the wife.

Anyway, at some point in all this commotion all three of those involved reportedly decided to go their separate ways. The wife went to her parents' place and Fire Chief Corky quite sensibly headed home. When he arrived, he apparently wished to obtain his gun, but his wife Cindy would not give it to him, so instead he borrowed a butcher knife from the kitchen. The details here are a bit unclear, but somehow Fire Chief Corky managed to stick the knife into himself twice, damaging his liver and one lung. It was decided that he should seek medical attention, and he wound up at Moab Regional Hospital.

Deputy TJ got word of this and went to the hospital to see his dad, but he was stopped in the parking lot by police officers who would not let him enter. Reportedly Deputy TJ was barefoot, shirtless, and drunk, and this presumably violated the hospital's dress code for visitors. Deputy TJ attempted to explain to his professional colleagues (who included Fire Chief Corky's brother Curt) that he would only be a minute, since he just wanted to "finish the job." According to the police report he also explained to the officers that they were "stupid" and "dumb asses" and needed to call "someone with a brain to come and talk to him." At some point thereafter Deputy TJ was arrested, possibly by the Departmental Brain Officer.

It transpires that the public safety agencies of Moab County and Grand County, where these events unfolded, are just full of members of Corky's and TJ's family, so it was decided that to avoid conflicts of interest, the investigation should be conducted by the sheriff of another Utah county, named Utah County. Curiously, TJ was jailed not in Moab County or Grand County or Utah County but in San Juan County, which I would have expected to be in Puerto Rico. It's of no matter anyway, since TJ is out of jail. (I'm not sure who paid his bail. Possibly Comedy Central.) His next court date is Friday, if I'm not mistaken.

This is all now public thanks in part to a freedom of information request from the Talking Points Memo website, where you can read more. I was interested to learn that Utah's equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act isn't called that but rather the Government Records Access and Management Act, or GRAMA.

(Amusing as all this may be in the abstract, there is clearly a family tragedy here as well, and it's very unfortunate that some young children are involved. I mean no disrespect to them or other innocent parties affected by this.)

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