The Salt Lake Tribune just dropped an op-ed about how Utah police are shooting citizens. If you haven’t had a chance to read this propaganda-loaded, anti-police ramble, I suggest you avoid it…. unless you like getting angry.

The first sentence leads off like this:

“People were killed in the streets. In vehicles. In homes. Unarmed, and as they held weapons, and as they held something — a cellphone, a toy gun — that officers thought were weapons.”

This initial sentence immediately convinces the reader that basically everyone whose life was taken by Utah law enforcement was innocent. They almost completely glance over ‘weapons’ and paint the picture of an unapologetic force looking for blood, instead of officers of the law ensuring that they and their partners went home safely to their families.

Officers are scared to protect themselves for fear of criminal charges.

 

Let’s go to the facts.

19 people were shot and killed by police in Utah during the entirety of 2018.

30 people were shot by officers in total. 

Of the reported weapons found on the suspects involved in the shootings, only one was labeled as unarmed. 

8 suspects were carrying guns.

7 had knives.

Others were armed with vehicles, screwdrivers, replica guns, rocks and more.

And yet the Utah ACLU swears there’s a problem with the officers – not the suspects.

Ogden police officers

Richard Galvan, 37, was shot and killed after engaging police in gunfire. (Ogden City Police Department)

 

So far this year, there has been only one fatal officer involved shooting.

But the ACLU isn’t celebrating that sharp drop.

“If we don’t examine why 19 people died in police-involved shootings in 2018,” the report said, “we won’t know how to respond if the trend starts to repeat in future years,” a recent publication from the group said.

But in 2018, only one of the shootings was found to be ‘unjustified’, and it was one where a woman armed with a screwdriver was shot in the leg. She survived. 

The Utah Attorney General’s office is reportedly investigating into why the 2018 numbers were higher than in previous years.

The AG’s office will try to determine whether the number of shootings is part of a trend that is at all preventable, or if 2018 was simply an anomaly, said Scott Carver, a member leading the project.

TUNE INTO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT TODAY RADIO SHOW

 

A police officer in Utah, who wished to remain nameless (for obvious reasons), commented on the situation in an interview with Law Enforcement Today earlier Friday morning.

“Carver is a moron,” the officer said. “and the Salt Lake County DA, Sim Gill, wants to charge every officer involved in one of these instances with murder. He thinks that’s what gets him elected for office. He hasn’t once won an officer involved shooting case that he’s filed charges on.”

The officer said that the investigation is putting pressure on police, making them afraid to trust their instincts and training for fear of what might happen after.

“Guys are afraid to do their job and trust me, those shootings came with the thought, ‘If I pull the trigger, is Sim Gill going to charge me criminally?’ Instead if acting fast, we are scared to death we are going to be looked at as the criminal in what should be a no brainer, justified shoot.”

The ACLU executive director alleged that the shootings are completely preventable. 

“We need to examine likely causes, including how law enforcement responds to individuals experiencing mental health crises,” she said.

Body-cam footage shows an officer engaging a suspect after a car chase. (Newark PD)

 

The article goes on.

“There are two ways to look at the number of police shootings, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill often says. On one hand, the acceptable number of shootings in society ought to be zero. On the other hand, if Utah officers find themselves in situations that warrant lethal force — say, six times in a year — then six is an appropriate number of shootings, Gill reasons.”

So… thanks for proving the point?

The officers who fired their weapons were authorized to do so when they felt an imminent threat to their life. So whether it’s six times a year… or 19, that’s it. That’s the number it will be.

“Police officers react to the threats in front of them,” Utah Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director Ian Adams said. “Nobody goes out looking to be in a shooting. And so when they’re presented with the threat of deadly force or serious bodily injury, then they react as they’re trained and expected to, sometimes that includes the use of a firearm.”

Let’s also not forget that Utah has lost two officers in the line of duty in the last 6 months while responding to calls.

“Frankly, I don’t think people are talking about the increasing crime rate enough,” Adams said. “I just don’t see it as part of the state-level policy conversations that are taking place, and that’s concerning. … Officers can tell you before any kind of academic study can what’s going on at the street level, and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.”

Let it be clear — this is not the fault of the officer. 

It is the fault of every suspect who decides to reach for a gun, lunge at a cop or make that officer fear for their life.

“Police do not control the number of shootings,” a state representative in Utah said. “That’s controlled by the individual being shot and [their] compliance.”

Let’s stop blaming the protectors and instead look at why certain people in society think it’s okay to break the law and threaten others.

The AG’s office will continue to investigate into the past few years of officer involved shootings.

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