Police Brutality Charged

X-Rated Movie Theater to Close

By Jon Ure, Tribune Staff Writer
Salt Lake Tribune, 24 April 1976, page B15
The Palace Theatre, 65 E. 3rd South, will close, the X-rated theater's vice president announced Friday, due to what he called "police and court brutality" and violent protest with municipal blessings.

Lee Harper, Mini-Movies Entertainment Inc., made the announcement in a press conference where he bitterly criticized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City Police vice squad and City Judge Paul G. Grant as foes of free speech.

Mr. Harper told of legal policies and "harassment" since the theater opened a year and a half ago, zeroing in on Judge Grant and city pornography prosecutor Ted Cannon.

He accused Judge Grant of inciting an incident Wednesday in which he claimed his wife Deby was slugged by Vice Squad Officer Jim Harris.

He said his lawyers are involved in compiling several lawsuits against the judge and police in federal courts which he claimed would not be biased.

The alleged incident involving his wife took place when the judge and prosecutor, along with several vice officers, attempted to purchase tickets to view the X-rated films.

When his wife, who is four months pregnant, refused to sell the tickets, Mr. Harper said, Judge Grant "screamed 'Arrest her, tear the license from the wall.'"

He said his wife was then grabbed by the hair by the officer, who threw her headlong into a wall, slugged her in the stomach and handcuffed her, all in view of the judge and prosecutor.

"You tell me who's perverted," Mr. Harper exclaimed.

Almost as an afterthought, Mr. Harper warned that if Judge Grant ever causes any similar incidents to happen to his wife, "He won't take more than two breaths."

Judge Grant, contacted at his home Friday night, said of the threat, "It's all in a day's work for an underpaid judge." He said Thursday night alone he received 11 threatening phone calls.

Claiming the LDS Church "wants to remain anonymous" in regards to the picketing of the five theaters showing the X-rated films, he said they ride to the theaters in church buses and that the church is guilty of abridging citizen's rights to free speech and the First Amendment to the Constitution.

He also claimed the church has had dealings with perpetrators of the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luthar King and alluded to underworld connections in its dealings with the late Howard Hughes' Summa Corp.

LDS Church spokesman Wendell J. Ashton said Friday night, "Those comments don't deserve the dignity of a reply."

He said the church leadership encourages members as citizens to participate in democratic processes to improve the cultural and moral climate of the community, but only as citizens, not church members."