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Cottonwood Heights settles case involving shooting death by a police officer

Posted at 9:07 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-02 00:20:27-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Cottonwood Heights has settled a case brought by a family whose son was shot by a police officer after allegedly hitting him with his patrol car, according to findings from the Salt Lake County DA's office.

Through Cottonwood Heights' insurance provider Utah Local Governments Trust, the civil case brought by the family will be settled for over $4 million.

On May 29, 2018, 19 year-old Zane James was a suspect in two armed robberies and was fleeing on a motorbike when a police office allegedly rammed him and shot him when he believed Zane was reaching for a gun.

FOX 13 reported in May of this year that the Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined that an officer who caused 19-year-old Zane James to crash his motorbike before shooting him was not justified in that initial use of force.

READ: DA declares Cottonwood Heights police officer's use of force not justified in collision prior to 2018 shooting

New information about the shooting came to light earlier in February regarding the officer's use of his patrol car to hit James.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill previously said the shooting was justified, but after reopening the case in light of the new evidence, said that if the officer used his patrol car to hit James' motorcycle, it could be seen as use of a dangerous weapon and use of deadly force when there was no evidence that James posed a threat to anyone at that time.

But Gill says they don't have sufficient evidence to go to court about the officer's actions prior to the shooting.

Cottonwood Heights released a statement that reads in part:

While the city knows no amount of money will be sufficient to assuage the loss of their son, the city hopes that this settlement brings closure for all parties. It is important to note that nothing in this settlement admits to any wrongdoing on the part of the city or its former police officer involved with the shooting, which is consistent with the findings of the Salt Lake County District Attorney that Officer Davies was justified in the shooting and there were no prosecutable findings from their review.

Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Weichers released this statement:

The city did not support the decision to settle these lawsuits, as we believed the cases in both federal and state courts were on a trajectory to be dismissed. Nevertheless, we respect the Trust’s decision to bring closure to this matter and to eliminate risks associated with a potential jury trial influenced by current anti-law enforcement attitudes in society today. We fully support our police and the very difficult job they have in keeping our community safe. We extend our sincere condolences to the James family on the loss of their son.