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Amid record police shootings, family of teen shot by police wants answers

SALT LAKE CITY — A record number of police shootings in Salt Lake County means a family continues to wait for answers in the shooting six months ago of a 13-year-old boy with autism.

The reason? A use-of-force case backlog at the prosecutor’s office. 

“I just pray for justice”

Golda Barton’s son, Linden Cameron, now 14, was shot eleven times by officers responding to a reported mental health crisis as he ran away. She says waiting for the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office to determine whether the police shooting was justified has not been easy. 

“Feeling the emotions that have come with police shootings this last year for our family, I can’t ever imagine why they would not be held accountable,” she said. “I just pray for justice for all the cases.” 

The family sued Salt Lake City in the case. 

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: SLC police chief and former chief address shooting of teen with autism

Police body camera footage of the shooting shows the teen running away from officers before one of them opens fire. His family argues it was obvious he was not armed. 

That shooting sent Cameron to the hospital in September and resulted in nerve damage and lost function in his hand. Barton says after multiple surgeries, Cameron still deals with daily pain. 

Record police shootings in 2020

In a statement, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office told KSL TV the record number of police shootings in 2020 in the jurisdiction created the investigative logjam.

This is an ongoing investigation and we can’t comment on the specifics of the case. Our Office does a thorough review of each police shooting that occurs in Salt Lake County. Any time there is an injury or loss of life in our community it is a tragedy.  Each of these incidents deserve a diligent investigation that brings the truth to light. We follow the evidence and then present the facts to the public. Our objective is to err on the side of accuracy and not rush through these important issues.

The recent “unjustified” ruling for a police shooting that killed a Salt Lake City man in Taylorsville took roughly a year to come out, as just one example of the lengthy investigations. 

“We hope that he comes to a resolve soon (sic), because this really — it makes it so we can’t move on,” Barton said. 

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