SALT LAKE CITY – The public is getting a better look at what happened during an officer-involved shooting earlier this month. The Cottonwood Heights Police Department has released the body-cam footage.
The shooting happened after a chase that started in Cottonwood Heights, but, ended under I-15 at 1300 South. Police say the sergeant saw two teens, a male and a female, running down the freeway off-ramp after a chase. After finding the male, the officer screamed things like, “Drop the gun!” and “Get on the ground, now, or I will shoot you!”
The video shows the teen saying he was going to stay still, but, investigators say the teen reached for his waist. Lieutenant Dan Bartlett says, “Absolutely, he felt his life was in danger.”
The teen was shot in the abdomen, and was conscious, breathing and alert while being treated. He was taken to a hospital for surgery, and was released about a week later. He has been booked in juvenile court of charges of fleeing and illegal possession of a firearm.
“The chief really wanted to get this out. He thought it was a great video to show how these things happen and the events that transpire,” according to Bartlett. He also says they believe the shooting will be deemed as justified, and the sergeant has been allowed to return to work.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill will decide if the shooting was justified, but, he says his office hasn’t been able to screen the video, yet. “[The police] going to be bringing it up to us in a couple weeks,” he says.
There may be a question about whether or not the police released the video prematurely. Gill says, “There’s a new law that went into effect, and, [the video] should have been classified as ‘protected,’ and it was not.” However, Gill says he’s not accusing the department of intentionally doing anything wrong.