Subway Shop Sues Utah Town & Police After Employee Cleared of Drugging Officer’s Drink

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The owners of a Subway sandwich shop are suing the Layton City Police Department in federal court for waiting too long to publicly disavow false allegations that an employee drugged a police officer’s lemonade last year.

A Subway sandwich shop in Layton, Utah, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the town and police department on Tuesday, alleging they wrongly accused an employee of drugging an officer’s drink last year.

In August 2016, Layton officers accused Tanis Ukena, an 18-year-old employee, of lacing a sergeant’s lemonade with methamphetamine and THC, a psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

Moments after taking a few sips of his drink, the unnamed officer reported that he felt impaired and had trouble driving and answering questions. An ion scanner test later showed the presence of drugs in the drink, but the lawsuit claims that the test that was conducted has a “known high false positive rate,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Ukena was arrested and booked into the Davis County Jail on one count of surreptitiously administering a poisonous substance, a second degree felony. After that, Ukena received multiple death threats and Dallas Buttars and Kristin Myers, the franchise owners, said their business dropped 30 percent.

The story made national headlines, and Buttars and Myers said that several other employees quit after being grilled by police. In total, they claim their business lost $300,000 due to the incident.

“My life has been changed forever. It will never be the same,” Myers said, according to the Associated Press“It’s always going to be known as the store that drugged the cop.”

The state crime lab conducted several tests of the drink and said the “initial test results could not be duplicated,” according to Deseret News. The police did not find any evidence the officer was drugged, even after conducting searches with a drug-sniffing dog and testing the officer’s blood and urine.

After two months, the state crime lab concluded that there was nothing illicit in the officer’s drink, and Layton police announced Ukena would not be charged.

The lawsuit alleges that the police department told reporters that the officer had been drugged “before it knew whether any crime had been committed, and before it knew whether anyone had in fact been poisoned,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Robert Sykes, the attorney representing the franchise owners, claims the police had evidence that the officer was not drugged well before the tests came back from the state crime lab, yet they did nothing to clear the owners or employees.

“Don’t keep these people on the hook and don’t keep the public in ignorance for two months,” Robert Sykes, the attorney representing the franchise owners, said, according to Deseret News“They may have had probable cause to arrest him. But they didn’t have license to defame him or other people, especially in light of what they knew. Especially in light of what they knew when they defamed him. They knew that there were no drugs found.”

Layton City Attorney Gary Crane said the officers did nothing wrong and that he was “very surprised” by the lawsuit.

“We stand behind our police officers 100 percent. I’ve gone over all of the evidence and the officers did their jobs in protecting not only the public, but individual businesses like Subway,” Crane said, according to Deseret News.

Ukena is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The officer who became ill still works for the department. Police still do not know what caused the officer to become sickened that day.

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  • David E

    Even if pone extracts THC it would not be soluble in a soft drink. The whole proposition is a non-starter, no lab tests required.

  • dav1bg

    Sounds like the business pissed off a police officer so he got them back.

    • RMS1911

      They should sue him personally under 18 USC 242.
      As well as his employer.

  • Phil_Ossifer

    The cop knew that the department would take his side and nothing would be done to him when it was determined that the Subway employee had not roofied him. My take: this piglet was trying to set up a lawsuit against Subway and maybe LDS in the hope that a couple of deep-pocket defendants would settle out of court. Or, it could have been like dav1bg said – this particular Subway franchise pissed off the local cops and this piglet was looking for payback. In either case the piglet obviously wasn’t too smart (surprise, surprise). Hope this lawsuit burns the Layton PD to the ground. And file federal civil rights charges against the piglet and his department.

  • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

    Wait – what? Are you saying that pigs lie, and continue to lie even when their lies are discovered to be lies?

    Say it isn’t so!

  • aWhiteBoatCominUpTheRiver

    Subway Utah, that’s nothing:

    In Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing shot Sam DuBose point blank the head and alleged he did so because the training book says to stop the threat. Per an attorney, now he wants back pay, etc.

    Funny part was, it was a dialing for dollars traffic stop and so far off campus that the local prosecutor(Deters) had to do a media rug dance that’s lasted well over a year now.

    One question. Do the Utah Police get special training in Israel?

  • I am sure glad the the officer had his “ion scanner” handy to quickly test for illicit substances – couldn’t even type it with a straight face.

    But it is interesting that this magical device which scans ions is in use. Wonder why they would let that slip? – again have to laugh.

  • The cop had bad blood.

  • Kendo

    Was the officer in question driving a Ford Explorer?
    Maybe it was carbon monoxide poisoning…