Officers Cleared For Using Pepper Spray On Dancers

Published February 3, 2012 12:09AM (EST)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah prosecutors have cleared police officers of any wrongdoing after they used pepper spray and batons on a group of Polynesian spectators performing a traditional war dance at a high school football game.

Uintah County Attorney G. Mark Thomas said Thursday it was a mere misunderstanding due to cultural differences. He says no criminal charges are warranted.

Officers used pepper spray on about a dozen Polynesian men and boys who formed the Haka war dance in October after their hometown favorite lost a football game in Roosevelt, a city about 140 miles east of Salt Lake City.

Thomas opened an investigation in December at the request of the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union after an internal police investigation found the officers' actions were justified.

By Salon Staff

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