Comments about ‘In our opinion: Trust and confidence’

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Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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The Hammer
lehi, utah

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.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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.

D22anielle
Vancouver, WA

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 their debt.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

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?

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ 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.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

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 GOP.

J in AZ
San Tan Valley, AZ

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.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

A very good editorial about a fair, thorough and competent district attorney.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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 Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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?

Mormon Ute
Kaysville, UT

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.

Mormon Ute
Kaysville, UT

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.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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?

Cedarite
Cedar City, UT

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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