Protesters Call For Law Change In Case Of Lauren McCluskey Photos
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Protesters took to the streets of Salt Lake City on Wednesday to demand District Attorney Sim Gill reverse his decision not to prosecute a former University of Utah Police officer.
The protest happened almost two years to the day that McCluskey was shot and killed.
Former officer Miguel Deras is accused of sharing explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey with his co-workers. However, there is no Utah law that would allow the DA’s office to prosecute the officer.
“We are truly disgusted and truly disappointed by his decision to not file charges against Miguel Deras,” said protest organizer Rebecca Hardenbrook.
Deras was assigned to McCluskey’s case after she reported her ex-boyfriend was harassing and blackmailing her with private pictures. She gave the officer the photos as evidence.
A Department of Public Safety report found that he showed them to three other officers and made “unprofessional comments.”
Protesters said they hoped their presence would get Gill to reconsidering prosecuting Deras. They also said they hoped it would encourage him to talk to lawmakers and change the law so he could file criminal charges.
It’s something Gill said he’s already working on.
“As much as we would have like to prosecute this, we just could not get to a statute in which we could file those criminal charges,” he said.
Gill noted that needs to change, and he’s working with Rep. Andrew Stoddard on the state’s revenge porn statute.
“No victim’s family should ever have to go through this kind of experience or this kind of injury without accountability,” Gill said.
Protesters said more needs to be done.
“It’s abhorrent that we are not using existing statute to actually properly prosecute folks,” said demonstrator Devon Cantwell.
“The real issue here is that this wasn’t a priority to him, and he is more concerned with protecting the police officer involved better than getting justice for Lauren,” Hardenbrook said.
The UnSafeU organization will be holding a vigil for McCluskey on Thursday evening in front of the DA’s office to mark the two-year anniversary of her murder.
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