Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
There was not enough evidence to conclude what Gill concluded. He should have
left this as a case without enough evidence to make a call on. Gill did what he
thought was politically in his best interest.Now the families of
those officers will be subject to civil case of wrongful death and their
families will likely be financially devistated by it. It really is a bad call
by Mr. Gill.
My issue is not with the ruling that he thought the police use of force was not
justified. He dismissed 107 drug cases before even making that ruling.
That's 107 drug dealers back on the street (IF they were dealing drugs and
not just innocent people dragged in by this rogue police force).The
two decisions couldn't be related because the cases were dismissed BEFORE
there was any finding that the shooting was not justified. It seems to me
(from the timing) that the ruling that the shooting was not justified was made
partially to justify his dismissing the 107 cases.I know there were
other problems in the WVPD, but I'm not so sure he had to dismiss all those
cases. Maybe he did. We'll find out more over time I'm sure.
Maybe you should put yourself in his shoes and see what you would have done. Yes
his call opens these families to a civil case. The point is not to make these
families suffer and that will never be the case. What it does it makes these
officers accountable for their actions. I have to say that I feel bad for those
wives and kids. But as for the officers, they made the decision and they need to
own up to their mistakes. I'm sure you all are saying all kinds of bad
things about Danielle Willard. Well I believe she more than paid her debt to
society. If she did do anything wrong in her short 21 years I do not believe
death was a necessary sentence, but apparently they did. Now they have to pay
The officers claimed the lady was going to hit them with her car but the
evidence showed she wasn't near enough to them for that to happen. The are mostly good officers and there are some bad officers. Why in the
world would so many people defend the bad ones?
@ 2 bits: Some investigations are easier to find evidence in and conclusions
are reached faster.It is not really very hard to review the evidence
in a case and see where there has been a break in the chain, or where things are
missing, or any of the other many problems that existed with the cases that were
dismissed.There are very clear, specific, Constitutionally-based
rules and regulations for gathering and handling evidence. When those rules and
regulations are violated, the evidence is considered contaminated and cannot be
used to obtain a conviction.Gill had no choice but to follow the law
and dismiss cases where the evidence was questionable. The police
officers involved with the cases acted inappropriately and made the cases
unprosecutable.You can blame Gill for doing his job, but if the
officers involved had done their job properly instead of violating the law, he
could have done his job prosecuting the cases instead of dismissing them.
The law is the law, and it applies to law enforcement in the same way it applies
to you and me. Mr. Gill is competently and fairly performing the job he was
elected to do. Political partisanship did not even remotely enter
into this until a party hack decided to try to score a few lowbrow points at Mr.
Gill's expense. I'm heartened by the fact that the attempt to inject
politics into this issue is generally regarded as an embarrassment to the local
I can see a couple of problems with this investigation that don't serve the
cause of justice. First, consideration of Mr. Gill's experience as a youth
witnessing police brutality needs to be given real consideration. Our life
experiences inform the decisions that we make. Mr. Gill can remove this concern
if he personally did not make the determination, which hopefully was the case.
If the legal staff reached that conclusion, then his personal biases are not a
consideration. Before anyone jumps on that, everyone has personal biases that
influence their decisions. The second concern is that from an organizational
trust viewpoint, a prosecutor's office should never be placed in the
position of investigating a law enforcement agency that they have to work with.
This kind of event destroys the trust between employees in the two agencies.
Right now, you can be assured that there are officers in Salt Lake County
worrying that if they make a split-second call and err, they will get thrown
under the bus by the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office for
a different jurisdiction that will never have to cooperate with that agency
should be called in to investigate.
A very good editorial about a fair, thorough and competent district attorney.
Kalindra,Maybe he did the right thing dismissing the cases, I don't
know. It just seems like you could dismiss the evidence that was tainted.
There's usually more than one piece of evidence in a case. You throw out
the bad evidence... not the whole case.IF our justice system is
setup to put drug dealer back on the street because there's a technical
problem with one piece of evidence (even though there's tons of other
untainted evidence)... our system is broken.WVPD has problems no
doubt. I hope they can get their act together, because the drug dealers
aren't going away, and they aren't playing by the same same rules the
police and the DA are. 107 more of them are out there today dealing drugs.
Blame it on the officers or the DA it doesn't matter, the drug dealers are
back in your neighborhood regardless.I personally can't see how
any person would be a police officer under this DA. You have to make split
second decisions every day. And you have to be right every time. And even if
you're clean the DA can destroy you and your family.
The law is the law. The repub defending of criminals (cops who thought they were
above the law) is pure insanity. Will they stop at nothing to play political
games? Mr. Gill was right to call these criminals out and repubs are
wrong to make racist comments about them. Even scarier is the police state that
many repubs seem to be encouraging. A state where the law enforcers are above
the law. Scary thought indeed! I too, remember a country in the 1930s where the
law enforcement became higher than the law. Police officers could arrest anybody
for any reason. Folks "disappeared" and were sent to "reeducation
camps." How did that work out?
2 bits,The dismissed cases had very little, if anything, to do with
this case. Those were cases dismissed as a result of proven misconduct on the
part of an entire investigative division of the West Valley Police Department.
A division that was disbanded after an internal investigation by the West Valley
Police Department proved the officers in that division had committed numerous
rule violations and in some cases broken the law. This is a separate issue that
was dealt with separately by Mr. Gill.I applaud Sim Gill for having
the courage to do what is right in the face of strong criticism. Law
enforcement needs to be held in check or they get the idea they cannot be
questioned. Police officers need to know their actions are not above scrutiny
or we will all be in trouble.
I also applaud the Dnews for having the courage to publish this commentary in
the face of the State and County GOP attempting to make political hay out of a
tragic event. The GOP politicians should be ashamed of themselves.
D22anielle,They did not pronounce sentence on Danielle. They had nothing
against Danielle. They did not go there to execute her. They went there to do
their job. They reacted to her actions (trying to escape). Maybe
they could/should have done their job without drawing their weapons. But they
didn't have very long to make that decision. I think they really thought
she had or could hit one or the other of them with the car, and felt they had to
do something to stop that.It was NOT an "execution". It
was NOT a "death sentence". It was a "drug bust", which they
are asked to do every day. And your mis-characterization of what it actually
was shows how desperate some people are to make this look absolutely as bad as
they possibly can make it sound.It's a tragedy no doubt. But
overstating what happened in hopes of getting people enraged does not make it
any better. The tragedy is not over. And these mis-characterizations of what
actually happened are just making the tragedy worse (for everybody).How does calling it an "Execution" help ANYBODY to heal?
2 bits- It was most certainly an execution, and we have this annoying little
thing called the Constitution that is supposed to give unarmed people the right
to not be capped just because an officer is making a "drug bust."
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