SALT LAKE CITY — A state public records committee voted unanimously Thursday in favor of releasing a video of a police shooting that critically injured a 17-year-old Somali refugee, in spite of objections from prosecutors.
As a group of protesters gathered outside with renewed calls to release the video, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill argued that making it public could interfere with a criminal case filed against Abdullahi “Abdi” Mohamed.
The video was not immediately released and Gill has 30 days to appeal the Utah Records Committee decision, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2jJhwem).
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said releasing footage is a step toward official accountability the high-profile case. There’s no proof that releasing it would interfere with the juvenile case, ACLU lawyer David Reymann.
The committee also voted to release surveillance footage and crime scene photos.
The February 2016 shooting near a homeless shelter and the arena where the Jazz play became one flashpoint in the national conversation about race and police use of force.
Police said officers fired after Mohamed hit another man with a metal mop handle in a fight over a drug deal. The victim had welts and bruises.
Gill found that Salt Lake City Police officers Kory Checketts and Jordan Winegar were legally justified because they believed he was about to seriously injure or kill the man with what appeared to be a heavy metal object. A police civilian review board, though, found the shooting was not within policy.
The officers yelled multiple times for Mohamed to drop the weapon, but he did not, said Gill, who filed robbery and drug counts against Mohamed.
Mohamed’s family has disputed the police account, saying he misunderstood police commands.
Mohamed was hospitalized in a medically induced coma but survived. Now 18, he’s used a wheelchair after being released.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com