Utah Prosecutor Upholds Police Fatal Killing Of Man Who Had Knife


Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, in his first use-of-force ruling, said a West Valley City police officer was justified by law in shooting Brandon Chief to death, says the Salt Lake Tribune. The family attorney is calling for more oversight of officers and prosecutors who investigate fatal police shootings. “They wouldn't tell us anything,” said Etta Chief, Brandon's mother, who arrived at her home Dec. 17 to learn her 21-year-old son had been taken to a hospital.

Gill said police were called to the Chiefs' house, Brandon threatened them with a knife, and an officer shot him three times. Brandon’s niece, 15, said,
“it took 3 seconds” for the gunfire to start, she said. Jim Slavens, the family's attorney, said police could have done more to assess or de-escalate the situation before going into the house. “Nobody asked if he had a weapon, if anyone else was in there with him, what room he was in, what he had done,” Slavens said. “Nobody tried to talk to anyone first.” In large counties nationwide, it is the norm for prosecutors to review uses of force by police within their own county, said Scott Burns of the National District Attorneys Association, a former prosecutor.

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