Family Of Man Shot By Police Files Motion Seeking Body Camera Video
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Demonstrators demanded answers during a rally in Cottonwood Heights Thursday over new allegations of a police cover-up in the shooting death of Zane James.
James’ parents accused the city of lying about the existence of police body cam video and the family wants a judge to force the city to produce the video.
“We don’t want to say anything false. We don’t want to ruin anyone’s reputation,” said Zane’s mother, Tiffany James.
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) August 14, 2020
The allegations are in a motion the family filed Tuesday.
“We recognize that, we learned of this, the day of the rally was the first time we had heard about it on Aug. 2,” Tiffany said.
The James’ filed a civil lawsuit against officer Casey Davies and the city of Cottonwood Heights in May 2019. The city moved to have the case dismissed.
The new motion requests a default judgment in the James’ favor or that the case move forward and the city produce the video.
The motion claims there is evidence to show Davies was wearing a body-camera in 2018, when he shot and killed 19-year-old Zane James.
“It is the video of our son being shot by officer Davis on his own camera,” Tiffany James said. “He immediately started covering up the crime.”
It’s a direct contradiction to statements from Cottonwood Heights police, city leaders and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill that Davies was not wearing a body camera and no recording of the actual shooting exists.
Police previously stated Davies did not have a body camera on him because he was on his way to work when he spotted James, who fit the description of a suspect who robbed two grocery stores and fled.
Gill ultimately ruled the shooting was justified. Gill’s office only took into account body camera video from officers who arrived on-scene shortly after the shooting.
The James’ said the alleged body cam video corroborates a witness account.
“The footage appears to be the officer … shooting our son and rifling through his pockets looking for a gun not rendering any aid,” they said.
They said their sources are credible. “It’s two council members,” Tiffany James said.
The James’ declined to name the council members but said the members are planning to come forward and are not the only ones who saw the video.
“The entire city council, mayor and city manager sat in a room and watched it together with the county attorney,” Tiffany James said.
KSL made multiple attempts to reach Heather White, the attorney who speaks on behalf of the city and police department but did not receive an immediate response.
However, White reportedly denied the existence of a video to the Deseret News.
“The city is not aware of any video footage of the shooting of Zane James. To the city’s knowledge, no member of the ‘Cottonwood Heights City leadership’ saw any such video in 2018, or any time since, or has ever heard of its existence,” she said.
According to the Deseret News, White said the alleged video seen by a council member may have been related to a different incident.
Zane James’ parents said they are sending a letter to Gill’s office demanding a criminal investigation.
Anna McNamer organized Thursday’s rally. She said, “Our goal is to demand our civic leaders to pass policies that would hold officers accountable for unnecessary force. Some of these demands include increased de-escalation training, a requirement to turn on body cameras, periodic review of body camera footage by our city manager and a citizen review board.”
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