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North Ogden man arrested for putting teen in chokehold during 'citizens arrest'

By Spencer Burt,


NORTH OGDEN, Utah — A Utah man was arrested Saturday night for allegedly pushing a teenage boy to the ground and placing him in a chokehold, which he claimed to be doing as part of a citizen's arrest.

According to an arrest report, 57-year-old Michael Gary Larson caused injuries to the teen while detaining him because he saw the boy pick up a broken construction street sign and attempt to carry it home.

North Ogden Police say they were sent to Larson's home after multiple 911 calls about an altercation between a man and an underage boy. At least one of them was an "open line 911 call," according to a probable cause affidavit.

"I heard a young male repeatedly yelling for help while another older male repeatedly stated he was to be held there until police arrived," the arresting officer wrote in the report.

Officers arrived at the scene and found Larson holding the teen on the ground. They then spoke with both of them to find out what happened.

The boy told police that he was walking home from the skate park when he found a broken construction sign on the ground. He said he picked it up and wanted to take it home. He said Larson saw him and yelled at him to not steal from his street.

The teenager — whose mother emailed FOX 13 News and said he's 16 — said he then turned around and walked to put the sign back where he found it. Larson then followed him and told him he couldn't leave "until his father responded," the arrest report said, even though he returned the sign.

The teen said Larson then approached him and called him names, then pushed the boy twice and held him on the ground. He said Larson put him in a chokehold, and he was unable to breathe and thought he might pass out. He called 911 but said Larson took his phone from him and threw it.

Police said the boy had visible red markings and scratches on his neck and face, and he received medical attention for his injuries.

The suspect then told police why he was pinning the boy to the ground.

"[Larson] stated he was making a citizens arrest because he wasn't going to allow someone to steal on his street," the police report read. "It should be noted that Michael did not own the property that was stolen nor was it on his property."

He was booked facing one felony charge of aggravated child abuse, along with one misdemeanor of damaging or interrupting a communication device. His bail was set at $2,500.

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