SALT LAKE CITY — Shortly after the stabbing of a woman and a police shooting of a possible suspect, Salt Lake City leaders applauded the actions of officers, saying it was “exceptional police work under terrible circumstances.”
Critics argue publicly supporting the actions of the officers during a press conference is inappropriate and should be done only after a thorough investigation.
“I truly believe the actions taken by these officers today saved lives,”said Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown.
Five hours after the police shooting in Pioneer Park, Chief Brown and Mayor Erin Mendenhall offered their opinions on the incident.
“After reviewing the footage myself of the incident, I believe this is a choice they had to make in order to ensure the safety of the victim and our firefighters rendering aid, bystanders and to themselves,” said Mayor Mendenhall.
Without immediately releasing body camera video, the pair said the two officers who shot a man “exercised good judgement”.” However, they stopped short of declaring the shooting justified. That’s against state code and job of Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill.
“I have looked at this video, as well,” said Chief Brown. “I believe these officers did everything they could possibly do to prevent this from happening, to deescalate, but their actions were very much in line with our training.”
Speaking publicly in support of the officers’ actions is premature, according to Black Lives Matter Utah President Lex Scott.
“I believe they are trying to direct the narrative,” said Scott.
Scott’s also expressed concerned two officers did not opt for less-lethal options prior to killing the man.
“If this man did stab someone, that is not okay. It is not okay to stab people. But we believe that people deserve their day in court,” said Scott.
West Valley Police are heading the Officer Involved Critical Incident Protocol team.
In a statement to FOX13, Sim Gill writes in part: “…We will do any follow up or additional investigation that is needed to reach a conclusion. Then we will present the results of our findings to the community…”
West Valley Police are tasked with investigating the police shooting. The body camera footage from today’s shooting will be publicly released in 10 days.
Mayor Mendenhall says there’s a 15 percent decrease in officer involved shootings since new training implemented within the last year.