Wow… what a show. District Attorney Sim Gill announced that the fatal shooting of Dillon Taylor was justified by a Salt Lake City police officer. The body cam footage from the shooting was released. The phone lines were super busy during this show. We had a ton of great callers, two of which were former police officers. This show is VERY worth listening to, just to hear their perspectives.
Here are a few links that were mentioned during the show:
- CSPOA.org Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association
- You can see the body cam footage of the incident here: http://fox13now.com/2014/09/30/graphic-did-officer-shoot-too-soon-in-south-salt-lake-you-decide/
- For those interested, here is the Utah state law that allows this kind of thing to happen: http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE76/htm/76_02_040400.htm
I was hoping we could channel our frustration into some actionable suggestions, but it seems that people are not done blowing off steam yet. That’s okay. Just know that it’s not enough for me and you to just be pissed off about this. We must DO something about it. I propose that we contact a member of the Utah State Legislature and find one who will be willing to sponsor a bill that will
- Require all officers to wear body video cameras that operate from the time they strap on their firearm, until the time they take if off. This includes any off-duty “rent a cop” activities. Officers are personally responsible to ensure that their body camera is in good working order. Failure to do so will deprive them of legal and union protections for any activity they engage in during the camera’s off time.
- Dash video cameras are to be running at all times, with the same consequences as mentioned in item #1
- Officers who are found to have used lethal force when it was not needed will be discharged from their employment and will be ineligible for public employment for life.
- Officers who are found to have used unjustified lethal force will be criminally prosecuted
- A legal distinction must be made between “justified” use of force and “necessary”. An assessment of “justified” use of force will refer to the frame of mind of the officer up to the point of using lethal force and consider’s the officer’s feeling of impending threat. An assessment of “necessary” looks at all of the facts, post mortem, and considers whether an actual threat existed. The intent of this language use is to encourage improved use of judgement on the officer’s part when assessing a threat level. In the case of Dillon Taylor’s killing, Officer Cruz claims that he felt threatened by Taylor. The reality is that Taylor was unarmed. This was an error in judgement on Cruz’s part and he should be held accountable for it, just like any other citizen would be held accountable for an error in judgement.
Do you have any other suggestions for how 7 – 2 – 404 should be amended? Leave your comments below.