Salt Lake City police officer charged with domestic violence

Matthew Robert Collins | Photo courtesy Davis County Sheriff’s Department. Matthew Robert Collins | Photo courtesy Davis County Sheriff’s Department.
He allegedly choked, struck and handcuffed his then-spouse.

A Salt Lake City police officer has been accused of choking, hitting and handcuffing his now ex-wife.

Matthew Robert Collins, 24, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and two counts of third-degree felony aggravated assault.

An initial court appearance is set for Wednesday. He is being held at the Davis County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Collins plans to enter a not guilty plea, according to his defense attorney, Rebecca Skordas, who confirmed he had self-surrendered on Friday.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill confirmed that Collins had been employed by the Salt Lake City police department.

Although Salt Lake City police wouldn’t confirm that Collins was an officer, Sgt. Brandon Shearer said that on March 23, the department placed an officer on paid administrative leave. That unnamed officer had been employed by the department for less than two years, Shearer said.

Collins filed for divorce in mid-March 2017. The divorce was finalized Monday, court records show.

According to charging documents, the violence started just after Collins and his wife married in Washington in 2011.

“The physical abuse intensified where Matthew Collins would push, hit and strangle her repeatedly,” charges state.

One of the incidents occurred in 2016 in West Jordan, while Collins was completing his Peace Officer Standards and Training Committee (POST) training to become a police officer.

During an argument, Collins told his wife to get out of his way, and when she didn’t move, he choked her with one hand while pressing on the back of her neck with his other hand, charges state. He then forced her onto her stomach and handcuffed her, charges state. When he took the handcuffs off at least an hour later, her wrists were bloody and bruised, charges state.

A friend of the couple said Collins told him he had handcuffed his wife and left her for 20-30 minutes because she was suicidal, charges state. The friend said Collins realized he should have called the police, charges state.

Collins also choked his wife until he bruised her neck and she blacked out in the early summer of 2016, while the two were living in Bluffdale, charges state.

The victim had called a friend on June 10, 2016, asking for a place to stay, stated the documents. The victim sent text messages to her friend’s husband that said, “Don’t tell Matt I told you, he just gets more angry and more mean when I do tell people,” charges state. The two spoke on the phone about the alleged abuse, and the victim showed him bruising on her neck, charges state.

In addition to the choking, the victim reported incidents where Collins had held a gun to her head, and had threatened to kill her if he lost his job in law enforcement, charges state.

The victim spoke to Bluffdale police on March 22 and reported the alleged domestic violence, charges state.

tfrandsen@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tiffany_mf