DA files no criminal charges in 3 non-lethal police use of deadly force
SALT LAKE CITY — Three different instances of police officers using lethal force, none of them fatal, will not result in any criminal charges against the officers who shot at suspects Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Friday.
Two of the three suspects were injured and all three face criminal charges, which Gill said prevented him from going into as much detail about the three instances of lethal force as his office usually does does but in all three cases. In all three cases officers involved will not face criminal ramifications.
“Our conclusions are, in these three matters, we would not be able to prosecute them (officers) and meet the burden of proof,” Gill said.
Gill said his office faces the responsibility to present his findings but also the potentially conflicting responsibility not to infringe on the rights of the citizens involved in the shootings who are facing criminal charges. Two of those shot at by police were injured.
“We believe our community has a right to know that whenever there is a use of lethal force but we have to balance that against the Constitution and due-process rights of individuals who are presumed to be innocent.”
Gill’s office typically shares video and explains the investigation and findings of officer-involved shootings at press conferences but presented far less detail Friday.
“People who have seen our briefings before would say ‘Where is the video, where is this, where is that. How come you are not sharing that?’ It’s because we want to make sure that we balance the Constitutional due process rights of individuals with also the responsibly to share what our findings are with our community.”
#BREAKING: @Sandy_Police spokesman just arrived on scene and confirmed to me an officer was shot. Suspect also shot. Officer expected to be okay, both injuries are expected to be non life threatening. We will have a live update on @KSL5TV now. pic.twitter.com/4C62zm1rM5
— Garna Mejia (@GarnaMejiaKSL) September 8, 2021
Gill said the more detailed findings will be available after the prosecution against the three individuals — who he stressed repeatedly are presumed innocent — are concluded in court.
In one case, Pedro Cortes-Villalon, was part of a domestic-violence call when he is said to have grabbed a gun from a truck when police shot him where a bullet entered one cheek and exited the other.
In a shooting in Sandy, officers entered a home with a no-knock warrant on suspicion of drug activity, where they exchanged gunfire with suspect, injuring him and an officer.
Gill said the suspect and a woman left the house after the shooting.
Gill said his office has been “very transparent” with the community in the cases of use of lethal force and said it has a right to know about such instances.
“We, unfortunately, as an office, review far too many of these cases but one thing that was common for all three is they were individuals against whom criminal charges have been filed.”
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