Once Again, Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill Proves That He Is More Than Simply a Rubber Stamp for Law Enforcement
By Ken K. Gourdin
Salt Lake City’s Deseret News has a rather in-depth feature exploring the distrust which exists between Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and officers who work for Salt Lake County law enforcement agencies, several of whom (on the advice of legal counsel) have declined to speak with him about incidents in which they have used deadly force. See the News’ coverage here (this and all other links last accessed December 31, 2018): https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900048627/utah-police-shootings-rise-so-does-distrust-between-da-cops.html.
In response, I pointed readers to several things I have written regarding law enforcement use of deadly force and review of such incidents by Mr. Gill’s office, including the following: Gourdin, Ken K. (February 5, 2011) “Prosecutors don’t simply rubber stamp police decisions,” The Salt Lake Tribune, accessed on line at the following address:
Noted Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Ron Yengich disagreed, penning the letter to the editor “Favoring the police,” which appeared in the February 22, 2011 edition of the Tribune and is available here:
I responded to Mr. Yengich thus in the March 19, 2011 edition of the Tribune (“On deadly force”): http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=51450925&itype=CMSID.
As evidence of the foregoing op-ed’s point that prosecutors don’t simply rubber-stamp police decisions regarding use of deadly force, I pointed to an instance in which Mr. Gill’s office found such use unjustified. See Gourdin, Ken K. (August 3, 2011) “SLC police shooting,” The Salt Lake Tribune, accessed on line at the following address:
In an on-line comment, I responded to the Deseret News piece regarding the rift between law enforcement and Mr. Gill’s office thus:
I’m not sure I agree with every decision Mr. Gill has made regarding whether given police shootings are justified, but the fact of the matter is that if we want the public to have confidence in decisions prosecutors make about law enforcement use of deadly force, the former cannot be seen as simply a rubber stamp for the latter. Agree or disagree with any particular determination by Mr. Gill’s office respecting law enforcement use of deadly force, I don’t think anybody can call him a rubber stamp.
In yet another op-ed in which I called for review of police tactics to protect the innocent, I noted that in calling for an independent body to be set up to investigate officer use of force, Mr. Gill rightly notes that if the public does not trust the process used to investigate such incidents, it will not trust the results those investigations reach. See here: