Salt Lake Police shot 13-year-old boy with autism before implementing new de-escalation policy


The Salt Lake City Police’s response has attracted national attention – and criticism – at a time when officers have been the subject of ongoing protests for the use of deadly force. The policy the department had made with the city to address those concerns began on Saturday night, with the shooting taking place on Friday night.

The shooting has also given rise to renewed apprehensions about how officers treat persons with mental illness. And three Salt Lake City legislators said Wednesday that police should have tried to use another non-force force with the 13-year-old.

On Wednesday, Detective Michael Ruff confirmed additional de-escalation policies that, in fact, went into effect immediately after the boy was hit and seriously injured. “But I can’t say whether it has changed anything,” he said, “if they were already in place.”

He said that all officers of the department have given training on how to eliminate a situation and use illegal responses over the years. However, the new amendments require that most force be used by the police in the most calls before they are used or arrested.

The policy specifically states: “De-escalation tactics are no longer suggested or preferred – they are mandatory before using force to effect an arrest unless it would be unreasonable to do so.”

It also says that officers need to try “effective communication” to gain compliance from a suspect. And the police should also not contribute to a situation whereby force can be used by taking unnecessary, highly aggressive actions.

The shooting occurred when officers were called to a house near 500 South and Navajo Street, asking them to help with the “violent issue” problem. A mother reported that her young son had allegedly “threatened some people with weapons,” the department has said. The boy walked on foot around 10 a.m., and the police gave chase.

During the chase, an officer fired his gun and shot the boy several times.

His mother, Golda Barton, responded Wednesday, saying only: “We’re just trying to get here for him.”

Ruff said that due to ongoing investigations he could not say whether Salt Lake officials had tried to worsen the situation with the boy before the shooting. “But we are all open to more training,” he suggested.

Prosecutors have found deadly force to be justified, although residents have cried out the situation at the hands of police as an example of excessive force and racism.

But lawmakers and some mental health groups questioned this week as to why there were no de-escalation practices before – or a better way to respond to a boy suffering from autism when officials knew he was insecure before arriving. View.

In a joint statement by Sen. Loose Escamilla and Reps, Angela Romero and Sandra Hallins, all Democrats and women of color, say they are “very concerned” that an officer first fired – for example, using a tusser before.

“Sadly, the use of force in stressful situations where a non-lethal, de-escalation approach would be more effective causes significant damage to the relationship between law enforcement and those involved,” the lawmakers wrote.

They call for a swift investigation and what policies are in place to respond to people suffering from mental health concerns.

“When people call the police, we expect professional and compassionate decisions, especially when children with cognitive disabilities are involved,” he said. “We feel terrible for Linden and his family.”

Two other organizations – Neurodiverse Utah, which promotes autism acceptance, and a nonprofit group called the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Utah – both condemned the shooting.

“The police were called because help was needed, but they met the situation with force – even when they were made aware of the situation by the boy’s mother,” the neurodiverse team said in a statement. He said the response was an example of widespread violence by authorities by people with mental illness.

Barton, the boy’s mother, also said in an interview with KUTV that he called the police to help get his son to the hospital for his mental health. Now, she said, she is in for surgery to take out the pills.

When officers first arrived, he also told that Cameron could run away in fear. He did and the police ran after him. And then he heard a series of explosions.

“I said, ‘Look, he is unarmed, he has nothing,” he told the TV station. “He just goes crazy and he starts yelling and screaming. He’s a kid. He’s trying to get attention. He doesn’t. ‘ T knows how to regulate. “

Then he also questioned the use of force. “He’s a little kid,” she said. “Why don’t you deal with that?”

Police have promised to provide more information within 10 business days when body camera footage has been released – as required by a Salt Lake City ordinance.

But in a brief statement released late Tuesday, the department referred to the shooting as a “tragic situation” and said that according to protocol, the incident would be investigated by a team of officials from outside agencies. “We are grateful that no lives were lost in the incident,” the statement said.