Another West Valley drug, gun case dismissed

Published: Monday, April 22 2013 5:55 p.m. MDT

West Valley police officers investigate the officer-involved shooting of Danielle Willard on Nov. 2, 2012. The department's disbanded narcotics unit is under investigation for allegations of corruption.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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WEST VALLEY CITY — Prosecutors have asked that another case investigated by West Valley police be thrown out of court.

Monday, the U.S. Attorney for Utah announced a motion had been grated to have another drug-related case dismissed. That brings the total number of dismissed federal cases to nine, and the overall number of dismissed cases from the police department — both state and federal — to 97.

In the latest dismissal, Robbie Christen Myrick was indicted by a grand jury in 2012 of heroin possession with intent to distribute, illegal possession of a firearm and using a firearm to promote drug trafficking, according to court records. Myrick had already pleaded guilty in his case but filed a motion on April 8 to withdraw his guilty plea, court documents state.

Now his case has been dismissed.

Last week, Sat Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced the dismissal of 69 cases, on top of the 19 he had already dismissed due to credibility issues connected to allegations of corruption within the police department. The majority of cases involved arrests originally made by members of West Valley's Neighborhood Narcotics Unit. The unit was disbanded in December, however, after an investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting of 21-year-old Danielle Willard turned up several areas of concern within the police department.

Detectives Shaun Cowley and Kevin Salmon have been on paid leave since the shooting. Last week, seven additional officers from that unit were placed on paid leave pending the outcomes of several investigations.

West Valley City leaders said their own internal investigation showed potential problems within the department, including undisclosed amounts of missing drugs and money, officers taking "trophies, trinkets or souvenirs" from drug-related crime scenes, and the use of GPS trackers without first securing a warrant.

Salt Lake police, the FBI and the district attorney's office are all conducting independent investigations of the department.

Attorneys for Melissa Kennedy, Willard's mother, sent a letter notifying West Valley City of their intent to file a lawsuit. The city confirmed it received a notice of claim earlier this month. Willard is represented by Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos, who has represented several high profile celebrity clients including Michael Jackson.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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