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Man Who Sucker-Punched Salt Lake City Police Officer At Airport Faces State, Federal Charges

Salt Lake City, UT – Police have released security and bodycam video of a bizarre attack on a Salt Lake City police officer inside the terminal at Salt Lake City International Airport (video below).

The incident occurred at about 8:40 a.m. on March 12 as two officers were doing a foot patrol on the lower level of the airport concourse in baggage claim, KUTV reported.

Surveillance video showed the two officers walking along and the suspect – later identified as 31-year-old John Baydo of Tacoma, Washington – approaching them from behind.

The video showed Baydo set down his backpack near a column in the Delta baggage claim area as he approached the officers, according to charging documents.

Then he walked right over to the officers and sucker-punched the one closest to him in the head, nearly knocking him to the ground, KUTV reported.

Authorities said Baydo immediately turned his attention to the other officer and appeared as though he was going to punch him, too.

“[The officer] was caught completely off guard and was unable to defend himself against the attack. At that point, Baydo turned towards [a police officer] and took a fighting stance,” according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) task force report.

But then Baydo put his hands up to signal surrender and got to his knees, the video showed.

The officers quickly took the suspect into custody and handcuffed him.

The FBI report said Baydo refused to talk with officers or answer questions after he was arrested, KUTV reported.

Authorities said they have no information about what motivated the attack on the officer.

Salt Lake City police said the officer who was punched in the head suffered swelling and bruising and required medical attention, but was not seriously injured, KUTV reported.

Baydo was arrested and initially held on a $500 bond, KSTU reported.

On March 14, he was arraigned in state court on charges of assault on a police officer and given a $2,500 bail.

Baydo is also facing federal charges in connection with the airport attack, KUTV reported.

He was charged on Monday in U.S. District Court with one count of interference with security screening personnel.

A detention hearing has been scheduled for federal court on April 1, KUTV reported.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below:

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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