CLEARFIELD, Utah — Newly released video and audio gives a clearer idea of what happened the moments before and after a customer was punched during a confrontation at a Clearfield gas station, later passing away.
The surveillance video, 911 calls and police body camera audio outline the early April incident, involving Brandon Stufflebean.
In the video, the man police identified as Stufflebean walks into the Chevron in Clearfield, and can be seen talking to the manager behind the counter while holding a drink.
According to body camera audio, the owner of the gas station told an officer, “He started arguing with my manager about getting a free drink. So I came out, and he and I started yelling at each other, and arguing.”
At one point, Stufflebean is seen pointing at the manager. He walks to the back of the convenience store, followed by the owner. A second inside surveillance camera shows the two in the back of the store, before they return up front.
Stufflebean is seen extending his arms out at times, and at one point appears to throw cash on the counter toward the manager. The manager makes change, and gives it back to Stufflebean.
He grabs the drink and begins to talk toward the door.
“And as he was walking out, he threw his cup on the ground,” the Chevron owner recounted to the officer. “So, I came out to video his license plate.”
As the owner walks toward a vehicle at a gas pump, Stufflebean is seen on the outside surveillance camera walking toward the gas station owner.
The owner begins to walk past Stufflebean, who bumps into the owner. The owner throws a punch, knocking Stufflebean to the ground.
“As I was walking over, he walked over like he was going to hit me and I hit him,” the owner recounted to an officer, as the officer gave CPR to Stufflebean. “I punched him once.”
“Where did you hit him?” The officer asks, while he’s heard giving Stufflebean chest compressions.
“Right in the face,” the owner replies. “He was right up in my space.”
The owner called 911, and is seen on surveillance pulling out his phone while checking on Stufflebean.
“I just hit a guy that was trying to mess with me, and he’s out cold,” the owner tells dispatch.
“You punched him?” The dispatcher asks.
“Yeah, he’s out cold. We need somebody here,” he says. Then talking to Stufflebean, the owner says, “Wake up, man.”
“Did you punch him? Or what happened?” The dispatcher asks again.
“Yeah, I punched him,” the owner answers. “He came at me, though.”
The gas station manager behind the counter also called 911 from inside at the same time.
“He was making a ruckus inside the store, threw his soda pop on the ground, a bunch of other stuff,” the manager tells dispatch, about Stufflebean. “And he was threatening my owner and then– my owner did not throw the first swing. He threw one swing is all, and there’s an eyewitness that can attest to this.”
Stufflebean later died, in what would become the first of two recent incidents involving a person passing away following a confrontation with employees at a business.
Police said he died after a struggle and being tackled in the parking lot.
Ace Hardware said in a statement Wednesday that the man threatened employees and bystanders with a pry bar.
“The bystanders involved decided to detain the individual until law enforcement officers arrived on the scene,” the statement said.
Salt Lake City Police said according to the law, business owners and employees can use what force they believe necessary to defend themselves in certain situations.
“Every situation’s unique,” Detective Michael Ruff said. “If somebody does feel that they’re in fear of being harmed physically, they can use force to defend themselves like any citizen can.”
He said they often see cases where a store’s loss prevention team detains a shoplifter before calling police.
“If there is a theft occurring, they can detain that person if they feel they need to do that,” he said.
While the Ace Hardware case is still under investigation by Unified Police per officer involved critical incident protocol, the case in Clearfield has ended with no charges for the owner of the gas station.
The Davis County Attorney’s Office said they decided not to screen charges in Stufflebean’s death, but declined to explain why.