Retired truck driver Bud Grose, 76, sits on his 1959 John Deere tractor at his home in Glenrock, Wyo.AP photo
GLENROCK, Wyo. — Bud Grose seemed like the last person who should attract the attention of police when the 76-year-old retiree hopped on his antique tractor and rumbled through the annual parade in this small Wyoming town.
But what was supposed to be a day of fun at an end-of-summer festival ended abruptly when police shot Grose with a Taser in a dispute about where to end the parade route.
The incident nearly incited a riot as outraged neighbors rushed to his defense. Now residents of this tight-knit town of 2,400 are seething over what they see as police brutality, and town officials are scrambling to ease the tension.
The Glenrock Police Department has placed two of its seven officers on paid administrative leave and hired a consultant to conduct an internal review that began last week. Prosecutors have decided against filing any charges in the Aug. 1 confrontation, and Police Chief Tom Sweet acknowledged the situation has “highly inflamed the community.”
“To me it doesn’t matter if this was a town of Glenrock’s size or New York City. This kind of stuff can’t go on,” said Grose’s son, Mike. “It doesn’t matter if there’s 10 officers or a thousand, this is just totally unacceptable. We’re taught to respect the law, not fear it.”
The fracas at the annual Deer Creek Days arose from confusion over whether members of the tractor club could deviate from the parade route shortly before it ended.
Grose wanted to head directly to the town park for a tractor pull like in previous years. But the police department had a different plan, which apparently was not communicated to the tractor drivers.
As a result, Grose encountered a Glenrock officer attempting to direct the tractors along the regular parade route. Grose said he drove around the officer. The officer said he was struck by the tractor and injured his wrist, according to a state review of the incident.