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Salt Lake County DA Not Filing Charges In October 2018 Officer-Involved Shooting

Sep 27, 2019, 5:18 PM
A man died Monday following an officer-involved shooting in Riverton. It's the sixth incident in Ut...
FILE: A man died Monday following an officer-involved shooting in Riverton. It's the sixth incident in Utah in recent weeks.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said his office will not charge a Unified Police officer involved in a fatal shooting from October 2018.

Gill announced the decision Friday and said Unified Police officer Barrell Broadhead’s use of deadly force on Oct. 22, 2018, does not warrant criminal charges.

Officers were called to a domestic dispute last year at a Riverton home. When they arrived at the scene, they said 26-year-old Jason Robert Whittle grabbed his mother and held a knife to her throat.

Whittle’s mother, Anne Esposito, said her son was schizophrenic and bipolar and was self-medicating with methamphetamine.

Police said Whittle refused to drop the knife; after several commands to drop the weapon were issued, police said Broadhead fired his weapon once, killing Whittle immediately.

Authorities said Broadhead and UPD officer Yates were not wearing body cameras at the incident and no home surveillance cameras capture video of the incident. However, audio of the incident was recorded on a witness’s home surveillance camera.

Esposito said she had a protective order filed against Whittle, who was living on the streets.

She said she let Whittle into her house on Oct. 22, 2018, after he began banging on an upstairs neighbor’s windows.

Esposito told police her son was not speaking coherently and was acting paranoid. She said he grabbed a butter knife and stuck it up his sleeve before she then called police.

Officials said Esposito told dispatchers Whittle had a butter knife but wasn’t threatening her with it. Dispatchers told her to exit the home when police arrived.

Authorities said dispatchers told officers Whittle was high on methamphetamine and had threatened to kill officers with knives.

When officers arrived on scene, they said Whittle yelled, “I can hurt her! I can hurt her!” and “I will kill her! I will kill her!” after grabbing Esposito and placing the knife at her throat.

Police said the officers did not know what type of knife Whittle had in his hand.

Esposito said she told police “Don’t do this. He is just mentally ill.”

Yates said he remembered Esposito screaming but could not recall what she said.

After Whitter didn’t comply with officers’ orders, authorities said Broadhead fired one shot at Whittle’s head from approximately 15 feet away. Whittle fell to the ground and died immediately, police said.

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Salt Lake County DA Not Filing Charges In October 2018 Officer-Involved Shooting