Tag Archives: Utah

Detained by Las Vegas Police for Openly Carrying a Sword While Walking (Video)

Las Vegas Police Detain Black Men Walking While Open Carrying Sword

Two black men were detained, handcuffed, questioned, and photographed by Las Vegas police officers because they were walking while (legally) carrying a sword.

On Saturday (11-14-17), while I was out on a bike ride, I noticed a Las Vegas police helicopter circling the Walmart parking lot just ahead of me. As I reached the area where it was, I looked over and saw three LVMPD police cars with their lights on at the outer edge of the Walmart parking lot.

Once I was inside that parking lot, I could see that they had two black men in cuffs outside of a Dotty’s Casino (a small local “casino” chain that realistically amounts to more of an oversized bar) within it located on Nellis and Boulder Hwy. across the street from the Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino. So I started filming them with a GoPro mounted to the handlebars of my bike.

(See Video embedded below)

At the end of the video, I asked those two men what they had been stopped for and they told me that it was because someone had called to report that they had a sword, something that is by itself not actually illegal (as long as it is openly carried it’s legal just like a firearm or any other non-prohibited weapon). They stated they had been taking the sword to a nearby pawn shop, so they could sell it.

Obviously, they were eventually released without any sort of charges, since they had committed no crime, although the cops made them pose for pictures, which generally means they intend to add them to the gang registry and means that they will be harassed and profiled at every opportunity in the future based on that designation. That’s a pretty common practice by Metro for minorities, bikers, and others that they consider to be the “usual suspects.”

Although this fortunately didn’t result in any sort of physical violence being used against the men, Metro’s “finest” felt the need to not only respond with three patrol officers, but also at one point to have their lieutenant come by. And of course, as was mentioned already it gave them an excuse to play with their new “rescue” helicopter that’s usually busy circling downtown. (Apparently, there’s a lot of stranded hikers down there.)

Beyond the question of whether this was a case of racial profiling (whether it be by the police themselves or the security guard who apparently called them), as the men who had been detained stated, there’s a very real chance that someone will end up getting killed anytime the police are called. Not only does Las Vegas have a history of police violence without any sort of consequences, but not too long ago just one state over, in Saratoga Springs, Utah, an innocent man was shot to death for the non-crime of using a samurai sword as part of a cosplay outfit.

The reality is you should never call the police unless you’re comfortable with the idea that the person you called them on might end up dead. The cops don’t murder someone every time they show up (yet), but if do, they will absolutely get away with it every time (and they know that they will, too).

Note: You can share posts with Nevada Cop Block via our reader submission page. So, if you have videos, personal stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. You can also send in links if you a story involving police misconduct or corruption involving someone within the courts. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

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Utah School Cop Only Sentenced to Probation for Sexual Exploitation Charges Involving Student

Sergeant Brett Ryon Hadley was given a plea deal and sentenced to probation on charges related to the sexual exploitation of a minor. As part of the deal, he pled no contest to attempted sexual solicitation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Additional charges of lewdness and “intoxication” were dropped as part of the deal.

Sgt. Hadley admitted that he sent sexually explicit photos to a student and offered money for that student to send him nude photos. He also admitted to trying to encourage that student to work as a prostitute. In addition, the original charges included “a series of sexual assaults” over the course of eight years between 2007 and 2015.

Via the Standard-Examiner:

Concerned about the welfare of a teenage son, a family hired a private investigator, triggering an inquiry that resulted in the downfall of a veteran Northern Utah police officer.

Brett Ryon Hadley, 39, was terminated in December 2015 from the Harrisville Police Department after an investigation into allegations of sexual improprieties dating back to his time as a school resource officer employed by the Pleasant View Police Department and assigned to Weber High School.

Now, in a case that has involved three police departments, three prosecutor’s offices and two state agencies, Hadley has been sentenced to probation on two misdemeanor offenses and faces the loss of his professional certification.

Key details of the case were learned only this week after six months of conflict over public access to an Ogden Police Department investigative report.

Responding to an open records request by the Standard-Examiner in March, Ogden City withheld the bulk of the report, having classified it as private and citing an invasion of privacy of alleged victims.

The newspaper appealed the denial, and the city on Sept. 2 released further portions of the report that provided a broader look into the investigation. Police interviewed this week said the alleged victim was 16 or 17 years old when the improprieties began and is now an adult. Detectives also looked into the possibility of a second male teen victim, but no charges resulted from that.

The Standard-Examiner does not identify the victims of sex crimes without permission from them. The victims’ identities were not released to the Standard-Examiner.

A partial timeline of the alleged criminal activities and a chronicle of the investigation and prosecution of Hadley was pieced together through police and court documents, as well as interviews with police, city and school officials…

An alleged victim told police it began with Hadley sending and requesting sexually explicit photos via cell phone and he paid cash for the photos. The detective wrote, “This pattern of illicit behaviors appears to possibly be (Hadley’s) ‘grooming’ of (a victim) for a lengthy period of time.”

In the report’s conclusion, Mackley wrote, “It does appear from witness accounts as well as evidence on Officer Hadley’s own cell phone that he was soliciting sexual favors … in exchange for money.”

Hadley described the text messages “as a joke,” the report said. Mackley added, “It seems based on the entirety of the text messages that it is not.”

Hadley was sentenced to 90 days for the solicitation charge and 180 days for the contributing to the delinquency of a minor charge. Both charges were suspended as part of the deal, though. He was also given a fine of $600 and will be required to complete “Moral Reconation Therapy,” a counseling program that is supposed to build moral reasoning among convicted offenders.

Sgt. Hadley, who was a school resource officer at Weber High School in Utah during the time the crimes were committed, was never arrested or forced to turn himself in to be booked at the jail, as people facing charges typically are. Instead, he was just issued a summons. With the sentence of probation and no actual jail time, that means he literally will spend not one single minute in jail as a result of his crimes.

Interestingly, Hadley resigned as a school resource officer due to unspecified “health reasons” shortly after the sex crimes involving this victim are alleged to have happened. Somehow though he managed to recover enough to be hired by the Harrisville Police Department in 2015. It’s almost as if he resigned before the scandal became public and in order to avoid being fired and charged with these crimes. (Which were only filed as the result of evidence uncovered by a private investigator the victim’s family hired.) Obviously, that would never happen, though.

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Utah Police Used SWAT Teams/No Knock Warrants Significantly More Often For Drug Crimes Than for Known Violent Criminals

Earlier this week, the Washington Post’s Radley Balko reported on recent stats from Utah concerning the use of SWAT teams to make arrests within that state. Utah had previously gained notoriety for it’s frequent and unnecessary use of SWAT teams.

(It should be noted that 26% of the state’s police departments refused to provide data regarding the use of SWAT teams and no knock warrants. So the numbers listed below do not actually fully represent statewide totals. However, as noted in the article Utah is the only state in the country which – sorta – requires police departments to disclose such information.)

In terms of frequency, Utah made a slight step in the right direction by reducing the amount of times SWAT teams were used when 2015 is compared to 2014. However, in relation to the purpose for the use of a SWAT team, there is very little to cheer about. Overwhelmingly, SWAT teams were used for victimless and more often than not non-violent drug crimes.

In addition, a substantial majority of those drug raids involved the use of no-knock warrants. Meanwhile, police used no knock warrants for less than 40% of the arrests involving people accused of violent crimes.

Via the Washington Post:

…what we learned for 2015:

  • Overall use of SWAT teams in Utah dropped 18 percent from 2014.
  • Of the 457 SWAT deployments, 281 involved forcible entry into a private residence.
  • About three out of four forcible entries were for drug-related offenses.

SWAT teams were originally intended as a response to active shooters, hostage takings, armed robberies, and other violent crimes-in-progress. So that nearly 75 percent of forced entries were for drug crimes is troubling. The raw data shows that just nine of the 457 SWAT deployments and forced entries were for incidents that could be described as a violent crime in progress. Another six were to arrest warrants for violent felons, and another 26 were to serve warrants against people suspected of committing a violent crime against another person. All told then, just 41 of the 457 SWAT incidents and forced entries in Utah in 2015 were for incidents in which a suspect presented an imminent threat to the safety of someone else — or just under 9 percent.

Interestingly, of the 26 incidents in which the SWAT team was sent after a suspect was suspected of a violent crime, police obtained a no-knock warrant 10 times, well less than half. By my calculations, about 60 percent of the warrants for drug crimes were no-knock warrants. Which means that Utah police were significantly more likely to give you a chance to come to the door and peacefully submit to a search or arrest if you were suspected of a violent crime than if you were suspected of a drug crime.

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Suspects brandished weapons in just 3 percent of the 457 SWAT deployments, and actually fired a gun in just two incidents total, or less than half of 1 percent. Depending on your perspective, there are a couple of ways to look at this figure. It could mean that aggressive SWAT and door-breaking tactics are overwhelmingly being deployed against nonviolent people, or that the aggressive tactics are allowing police to apprehend violent suspects before they can reach for a weapon. I suspect it’s mostly the former. Just 6 percent of the warrants obtained for SWAT deployments and forced entries in the state last year involved a violent crime.

I think from those numbers that it’s pretty clear where the priorities of the police lie and, more importantly (for them), where the money is. We can’t really expect them to be bothered with actual violent criminals when there’s money to be made through asset seizures and drug forfeiture. The myth that the police are there to protect you is a poorly constructed and easily debunked sham.

And if things are this out of proportion within a rural and relatively low population state such as Utah, it’s not exactly hard to figure out that they are as bad, if not even worse, nationwide.

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Secret Service Agents Retaliated Against Congressman’s Criticismby Illegally Accessing Private Info in Attempt

Secret Service Rep Chaffetz Retaliation
One Secret Service agent resigned and forty others have received “some level” of discipline after they illegally accessed background information on Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. The intended purpose of the background inquiries were to find embarrassing information on Rep. Chaffetz that could be used to retaliate against him by smearing his name publicly.

Although he doesn’t seem to have received any level of discipline, Secret Service Assistant Director Ed Lowery encouraged the illegal searches, stating in an email that “some information [Chaffetz] finds embarrassing needs to get out.” Ironically enough, the identity of the specific agents disciplined for violating the Privacy Act cannot be named publicly because that would violate the Privacy Act.

Pretty convenient (wink, wink).

Via TechDirt.com:

When Rep. Jason Chaffetz began asking the Secret Service about its string of high-profile failures, agents were quick to respond… with attempts to undermine the Congressman’s credibility. Eighteen minutes after the hearings started, Secret Service agents — dozens of them — began poring through his 2003 Secret Service application in hopes of finding a few skeletons in his previously-vetted closet.

Even Secret Service Assistant Director Ed Lowery got in on the illegal fun, suggesting via email that “some information [Chaffetz] finds embarrassing needs to get out.” Information did get out, but it had no effect on Chaffetz’s reputation. The only people embarassed (sic) were the Secret Service and DHS head Jeh Johnson, who was forced to apologize on its behalf.

Johnson’s press release, detailing the results of the DHS’s investigation of the incident, shows dozens were questioned about this violation of the Privacy Act. Better yet, it shows dozens were punished for their misconduct.

  • “In all, the conduct of 57 Secret Service personnel was reviewed, including 11 at the SES [Senior Executive Service] level. Of those, 41 are receiving some level of discipline. This discipline includes a letter of reprimand to one individual, suspended discipline contingent on no further misconduct for a period of five years, and suspensions from duty without pay for periods of up to 45 days. The one individual found by the Inspector General to have disclosed the private information to an outside source, the Washington Post, has resigned from the Secret Service.”

As is often the case, the employee whose misconduct was the worst slipped out the door before the hammer could come down. As for the rest, the sheer number of Secret Service personnel involved shows this agency is no less susceptible to peer pressure and bandwagon jumping than the occupants of the average high school locker room.

Rest assured, this sort of misconduct won’t rear its ugly head again, because top Secret Service officials say Things are being Done.

  • “Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service. From Director Clancy, I have been told that tighter processes are now in place to limit access to personally identifiable information and to highlight for employees the consequences of a breach of that data.”

I’d love to know what these “tighter processes” are. Hopefully it’s something more than post-login clickwrap saying something to the effect of “user agrees to abide by all policies and statutes” with an “OK” button being the only thing standing between them and dirt on legislators they don’t like.

I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson and, along with not stiffing their hookers (no pun intended) or getting drunk and crashing into the White House gate, they now know better than to run illegal background check to dig up dirt on people that criticize them for not paying their hookers and crashing cars into the White House gate while driving drunk.

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Cottonwood Heights (Utah) Police Threatens Citizen for Filming

This video was submitted by an anonymous reader, via the CopBlock.org Submissions page.

Date of Incident: 10/13/2015
Officer Involved: Refused to identify
Department Involved: Cottonwood Height (UT) Police Department
Contact Number: (801) 944-7100

According to the description on the video:

CHPD was making an arrest several miles outside of their city. I began filming. The officer threatened to pull his gun, shined his lights into the camera and said he does not have to give his name. This department is widely known as corrupt, this illustrates them well.

I called Cottonwood Heights PD and asked the name of the officer that drives the car with tag #516972. Lt. Askworth acknowledged he needed to identify but then was evasive and rude while refusing to give the thugs name for the complaint. This cop threatened me with his gun…Everywhere, Everyday :(

Film The Police

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Utah Police Arrest Disabled Woman For Failure To Give Animal Control Her Name

This post was submitted by Andrea Daynes, via the CopBlock.org submission page.

I have a TBI (traumatic brain injury) due to an auto-pedestrian accident and am disabled. I have permanent brain damage, as a result. Please excuse the grammar and I hope this isn’t too long.

Andrea describes, in pretty good grammar and a not overly long manner, how she was falsely arrested and abused for no good reason except that she didn’t bow down to the whims of a (very minor) government official and the armed bullies that they called after they didn’t get their way, even though they had no business demanding that she identify herself in the first place.

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mpDate of Incident: August 6, 2015
Officers Involved: Officer GA Wheelwright AC, Officer Greg Hunt AC, Officer J. Bradbury Murray PD,
WJPD – 8012562000, WJAC – 8012823951, MPD – 8012642673
Departments Involved: West Jordan (Utah) Animal Control, West Jordan Police Department, Murray Police Department
Case Numbers: Complaint #15C014371 Murray Police, West Jordan Animal Cotrol-15H011424, Case #151000890 MPD (One case,3 officers)
Contact Information:
Murray City Hall:

Email: http://www.murray.utah.gov/emailpage.aspx
Twitter: http://www.murray.utah.gov/Twitter
Facebook: http://www.murray.utah.gov/facebook
Address: 5025 S. State St., 2nd Fl.
Murray, UT 84107
Phone: 801-264-2600
Fax: 801-264-2608

Murray Police Department:
Address: 5025 S. State St., Ste. 206
Murray, UT 84107
Phone: (801) 264-2673
Fax: (801) 264-2568

West Jordan Police Department:
Address: 8040 S. Redwood Rd.
West Jordan, Utah 84088
Police Chief: Doug Diamond
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 801-256-2000
Fax: 801-562-2105

West Jordan Animal Control:
Contact: Dan Eatchel
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 801-282-3951

Additional Information: ”Dash cam doesn’t function &we have no record of when it ceased to function” – Lieutenant Tom Martin MPD

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On the afternoon of August 6, 2015, I was visiting my grandchildren at my daughter Erika’s house, I noticed two ‘Animal Control’ (AC) vehicles pull up out front of her house. I told Erika about the vehicles out front and she walked out to meet the two men. I stayed inside with the kids watching while growing concerned about their tone of voice with her. She turned toward the house with a look of fear that she didn’t know what was going on, so I went to her door and opened it, while still remaining half-way in her house.

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

There were two Animal Control (AC) men. One was short, the other tall. The short one looked at me and said ‘And who are you?’ I replied ‘Who wants to know?’. Then he stated ‘Now I want to see your ID’. I walked over on my daughters front lawn closer to where they were and asked why they would request my ID?

They said they were investigating a report that had come into their office about Erika’s address and needed my name for their report. He asked my name again. I told him I was Erika’s mother. He then wanted my ID. I refused and told him I had done nothing wrong to warrant him to ask that. Then I asked why they were there.

The taller one stated he would not give why/what the ‘report’ they received was for but that it was concerning Erika’s puppies she had in her backyard. (They never checked/looked at the puppies the whole time they were there). The taller one wanted Erika’s ‘business license’ to sell puppies. I explained to them (as she did) that my other daughter had rescued them from the original owners who were going to drown them. She had paid for shelter, food, shots, water, etc. for these puppies until they were old enough to go to a home instead of them being killed.

The taller AC then asked Erika ‘how much money are you planning on making off the sale’? I went back inside and got my grandson’s phone to record this situation that was obviously getting out of control by these two ‘officers’. Erika stated her sister just wanted her money back off what she used to rescue them. The taller AC man then stated ‘well, what’s the dollar amount difference going to be’? Erika didn’t know that.

banner cbn on fbThe whole time the taller AC was wanting Erika’s ‘business license’ and $ amount, the shorter AC man was harassing me about my ID. I told him again I didn’t do anything wrong to warrant showing my ID, I didn’t even live there and had nothing to do with puppies. The shorter AC man then looked at the taller AC man and laughed ‘she thinks she knows the law’. ‘I replied, I actually know my constitutional rights and there is no probable cause for your harassment of me’.

Then the short AC man asked ‘Do you have a gun’? This was an absurd question because I had on a spaghetti strapped shirt with shorts from just taking my grandchildren swimming, I hadn’t changed yet. I replied ‘no, but if I am a member of the NRA and if I chose to carry it would be legal, but no I currently am not carrying a firearm anywhere in my swimsuit’. He then told me he was calling police for back-up.

I remained on my daughters front lawn as I listened to the taller AC man continue to harass her about a ‘business license’. The whole time I’m thinking ‘If that’s why they are here, it’s a civil matter’ but a business license isn’t required if someone is just attempting to save puppies. Not once were the puppies in her backyard checked on by AC, in fact they commented on what a great cage she had them in (the cage being visible from the front yard, just not the puppies).

The police pulled up. The shorter AC went across the street to speak with him. The taller AC still wanted a dollar amount from Erika regarding the puppies. It was very redundant. The AC and Murray Police (MP) walked back to Erika’s home. The MP officer asked if he could speak with me across the street, I complied.

While there he asked my name, I asked what grounds he had to inquire? He stated it was an investigation and I had to. Like I had told AC I didn’t live there, did nothing wrong, didn’t have anything to do with the puppies and that I was Erika’s mother. He insisted again that I tell him my name. I refused.

dwc - bannerHe then put handcuffs on me. I thought I was being arrested, so I yelled to my daughter across the street ‘take care of my dog’ (who was at my home). The MP then yelled ‘shut-up’ and slammed me into his patrol car. I cringed because it hurt. He said, ‘get in the back’. I said ‘am I being arrested’? MP said ‘no, just detained’. He insisted on seat-belting me in and I commented to him ‘slam me against your patrol car, but make sure I’m seat belted in’? He then slammed the back door and I watched him walk back over to Erika’s house to talk with AC.

The temperature was 90 degrees that day. I was in the back of a patrol car, windows rolled up, in handcuffs, seat belted in, plastic divider separating front from the back. I began to overheat, huge drops of sweat coming from my head dripping down on me. I began to gasp for air, I couldn’t breathe. I started screaming for him to come back, he didn’t. I tried to open the back door with my toes in an attempt for air, unsuccessfully. I looked into the rear camera of the police car and said ‘I’m dying, help me’. I was terrified. I laid back in the seat and tried to calm myself and attempted to breathe.

I finally saw the MP coming my way. I screamed ‘help me I can’t breathe’, with a smile he opened the door and said ‘what’s your name’? In fear for my life, I told him my name and address. He was quiet as he looked up my information only to find there were no warrants. But I had got some air through his open door. After his ‘warrant search’ he then once more shut the door and walked across the street.

I began to overheat again and screamed ‘help me’. This was a most helpless, terrifying feeling. I tried to remain calm as not to pass out, I knew if I passed out, I could die and with this MP I didn’t think he would care. He came back finally. I stated he couldn’t do that in this heat. I was passing out, he opened the plastic divider two inches and stuck a hose (like you use to vacuum a vehicle) through to the back seat. I immediately put my face to it gasping for air.

banner copblock twitterHe then started his patrol car, I asked ‘am I being arrested’? He said ‘yes’. I asked ‘what’s the charge’? He said ‘not giving me your name’. I told him that wasn’t a charge (when released from jail the charge was for ‘Obstruction of Justice’) I was never informed that. He told me he was going to read me my rights, I said ‘OK’. Whatever he was saying to me was not my rights. He attempted to remember, but didn’t and it was not my rights. I was exhausted and said ‘yes I understand’.

He then asked ‘what’s your other daughters name’? I said ‘how do you know I have another daughter? And if I did why would I tell you her name when after depriving me of air I gave you my name just to be taken to jail’? He asked her name again, I stated her name was ‘Jane’, he asked her last name, I stated ‘Doe’. He became upset and said ‘there goes your air again’ and took the hose and slammed the plastic divider shut. For the third time, I struggled for air.

I spent the next 9-10 hours in jail being treated less than humane only to pay $200 and be released at 12:30 am to walk back to where I was arrested for my vehicle and purse. The whole time worried about my dog if she had run out of water. All this because AC needed my ‘name for their report’?!?

I have bought/read both ‘discoveries’ from Murray police and West Jordan police, both filled with lies. I have highlighted all inconsistencies/lies. I am a citizen of the United States of America and I did NOTHING to deserve/fear/be tormented/terrified by both AC and MP.

– Andrea Daynes
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Why Did a West Valley City, Utah Police Employee Murder Danielle Willard?

In November Danielle Willard was murdered by a police employee(s) of West Valley City, Utah. Kelly Patterson, who covered this situation at Nevada Cop Block, noted:

The bottom line is Danielle Willard should never have been killed in the first place and those who care about her deserve answers for why she was murdered in spite of being unarmed and, by all accounts, not acting in any aggressive manner at all. Unfortunately, police are in no hurry to provide those answers.

The bottom line is Danielle Willard should never have been killed in the first place and those who care about her deserve answers for why she was murdered in spite of being unarmed and, by all accounts, not acting in any aggressive manner at all. Unfortunately, police are in no hurry to provide those answers.

There’s been three vigils held to call for accountability in the killing of Danielle Willard yet the police employees remain mute. One of the more-recent updates made to the Facebook page Justice for Danielle Willard notes:

Ok, Here we are exactly 5 months later. What do know know. We know the names of the ____ that shot Danielle. We know that 19 cases have been dropped because of something that one of these guys did. Not sure what that is. We have a retired Police Chief, A dead police offices ( mysterious by the way). We know that the ___ have attorneys. We know quite a bit about them but we still don`t really know what happened to Danielle. If you want to believe what was put out by the WVPD, Well good for you, you, you have your answer. Well I was told so many different stories by the WVPD detectives that I don`t believe one word of it. If you have lied to me once you have lost all of my faith of anything you (they) say. I know Danielle.

Who, employed at the West Valley City police will be the first to speak out? Or to share information with those related to Willard?

West Valley City Police Department

_______________________________

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Full interview with WVC Det. Shaun Cowley
by at Fox13now.com

FOX 13′s Ben Winslow talked exclusively with West Valley City Police Det. Shaun Cowley about the Nov. 2011 officer-involved shooting death of Danielle Willard and about nineteen of his cases being dropped by the Salt Lake County District Attorney.

Click to Watch Video

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Update: Third “Justice for Danielle Willard” Protest Planned for Jan. 22nd
by NVCopBlock.org

Justice ForDanielleWillard 150x150 Update: Third Justice for Danielle Willard Protest Planned for Jan. 22nd

For a third time since she was killed almost three months ago, friends, family, and concerned residents will be gathering outside the West Valley, Utah police station to demand answers.  This protest is scheduled for January 22nd, which would have been Danielle’s 22nd birthday. Instead it has become a grim reminder of death November 2nd 2012 at the hands of detectives working for the West Valley Police Department, which is located in the Salt Lake City area.

Details from the Facebook event invite:

Please join us on 1/22 at 3:00 pm as we gather together in honor of Danielle Willard and celebrate her birthday she would have been 22. West Valley Police shot and killed Danielle on Nov 2nd while she sat in her car unarmed and still have refused to give any sort of explanation as to why.

In spite of the two previous protests and considerable questions being raised about why a physically small, unarmed young woman was shot, police have been extremely secretive about any of the reasons or justifications behind the case. More information regarding the circumstances surrounding her death can be found in this previous post here on NVCopBlock.org: Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

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Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?
by Kelly Patterson at NVCopBlock.org

Danielle Willard 300x219 Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

Danielle Willard, a small, unarmed young woman, was shot and killed Nov. 2, 2012 by West Valley, Ut. police

A rally will be held Saturday, December 1st at the West Valley Police station, which is located within the Salt Lake City area (see end of post for a map), to demand justice for Danielle Willard. Also, a second protest and candlelight vigil be held at the same location Sunday, December 16th. Danielle’s death and the many unanswered questions surrounding it have left her family, friends, and supporters frustrated, saddened and angry.

In addition, the handling of it all by local police has made many people not just in Utah, but all across the country, question how and why such a small, unarmed woman barely out of her teens with no known history of violent behavior ended up becoming the latest in a growing list of “collateral damage” from the government’s disastrous War on Drugs.

Almost a month ago, on Nov. 2, 2012, Danielle Willard was shot and killed by undercover police working for the West Valley, Utah police department. Apparently, she was killed during an attempted drug bust, although even that is a bit speculative at this point because police have yet to confirm much of anything about what happened that day.

“The family of a 21-year-old woman killed in an officer-involved shooting yesterday await answers in her death. So far, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the shooting at this apartment complex.

We still don’t know why officers shot and killed Danielle Willard. Her family says, she wasn’t a violent person but drugs may have been her downfall.

Willard’s mother, who lives in Vancouver, Washington, is anxious for information to come out.

“Everything that keeps going through my mind is speculation,” said Melissa Kennedy. “Did she get back on drugs? Was she really clean? Was it the wrong place at the wrong time?”

Willard was shot Friday and killed by undercover officers in the parking lot of an apartment complex in West Valley. Police used white sheets to cover her body from public view. Authorities aren’t saying what led to the shooting.”

Danielle Willard1 300x225 Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

Those family and friends are understandably questioning that silence, especially since police normally have no problem releasing information that supports their officers’ version of events. Without any of that information, they are left to try and make sense of why police would need to kill Danielle, which is hard to reconcile with their own memories of her:

“Melissa Kennedy knows her daughter wasn’t perfect.

But she doesn’t understand what it is that her daughter did so wrong that prompted West Valley police to shoot and kill her…

‘…Danielle is a sweetheart. She’s got a big heart. She would give the clothes off her back for anybody. I used to get mad at her because she would use so much gas in our car because someone would want a ride home. She couldn’t tell them no,’ Kennedy said…

‘…She’s never been known to be a violent person. She’s 100 pounds soaking wet. She’s only 21 years old. She’s a tiny little thing. What could she possibly have done, other than having a gun, what could she have done to provoke them to shoot her?…I’ve never ever known her to keep a gun with her or anywhere around here,’ Kennedy said…

‘…Kayleen (Willard) said she admired her older sister.’I always wanted to be like her. She always inspired me, because she was always so happy. She always seemed to be the crowd pleaser. She always seemed to brighten up a room,’ Willard said. ‘She was an inspiration to me, she made me be the person I am today. She made me want to be a better person growing up. She will always be in my thoughts and my heart, and she’s in a better place right now and I’ll see her again some day.’”

In spite of the silent treatment from West Valley police, some details about that day have gotten out. As might be expected, those details don’t paint the undercover cops that killed Danielle in a very good light. Based on independent witnesses that have come forward and the limited admissions that detectives assigned to the case have made themselves several things have been established:

  • Danielle was not armed, nor were there any guns found within the vehicle where she was killed. (As confirmed by detectives)
  • Danielle was actually a passenger in her own vehicle and was attempting to seek cover by ducking down within the car at the time of the shooting.
  • It’s unlikely that Danielle was the target of the ill-fated drug bust. Whether she was in some way involved with drugs again or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time is unknown. However, even if she was that by itself would in no way justify her death.
  • An unidentified male, who fled the scene and was probably the one being targeted by the undercover cops, was driving the car. (Detectives Danielle’s mother spoke to actually denied that this person was present, which only raises more questions about why deadly force was necessary.)
  • According to the autopsy, Danielle was shot first in the cheek and then fatally in the top of her skull, which supports the witness accounts that she was ducking down at the time she was shot.

Danielle Willard Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

The every day abuses and unintended negative consequences of the War on Drugs, as well as the selective nature of that war, should be enough to cause outrage at the unnecessary death of yet another person whose only real “crime” was an act which by itself only harms the person committing that act. No matter what your stance on drug use and its effect on those who become addicted, it should be apparent that the harm caused by drug prohibitions far outweigh any positive effects of such policies.

The bottom line is Danielle Willard should never have been killed in the first place and those who care about her deserve answers for why she was murdered in spite of being unarmed and, by all accounts, not acting in any aggressive manner at all. Unfortunately, police are in no hurry to provide those answers.

There are several ways that you can help seek justice for Danielle:

If you are in or have the ability to travel to West Valley, Ut., join those who will be there at the rallies to support them as they demand that justice in person. Other options to contribute from a distance include donating funds to offset funeral costs and the costs of traveling from Washington, where her family lives, to Utah. This is the link to do that via an online fundraiser. Yet another option is to call the West Valley Police Department at (801) 963-3300 or  (801) 965-5155 and let them know that you want justice for Danielle.

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Update: Third “Justice for Danielle Willard” Protest Planned for Jan. 22nd

Danielle Willard

Danielle Willard, who was murdered by Utah police in November 2012

For a third time since she was killed almost three months ago, friends, family, and concerned residents will be gathering outside the West Valley, Utah police station to demand answers.  This protest is scheduled for January 22nd, which would have been Danielle’s 22nd birthday. Instead it has become a grim reminder of death November 2nd 2012 at the hands of detectives working for the West Valley Police Department, which is located in the Salt Lake City area.

Details from the Facebook event invite:

Please join us on 1/22 at 3:00 pm as we gather together in honor of Danielle Willard and celebrate her birthday she would have been 22. West Valley Police shot and killed Danielle on Nov 2nd while she sat in her car unarmed and still have refused to give any sort of explanation as to why.

In spite of the two previous protests and considerable questions being raised about why a physically small, unarmed young woman was shot, police have been extremely secretive about any of the reasons or justifications behind the case. More information regarding the circumstances surrounding her death can be found in this previous post here on NVCopBlock.org: Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

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Why was Danielle Willard Murdered by Utah Police?

Danielle Willard, a small, unarmed young woman, was shot and killed Nov. 2, 2012 by West Valley, Ut. police

A rally will be held Saturday, December 1st at the West Valley Police station, which is located within the Salt Lake City area (see end of post for a map), to demand justice for Danielle Willard. Also, a second protest and candlelight vigil be held at the same location Sunday, December 16th. Danielle’s death and the many unanswered questions surrounding it have left her family, friends, and supporters frustrated, saddened and angry.

In addition, the handling of it all by local police has made many people not just in Utah, but all across the country, question how and why such a small, unarmed woman barely out of her teens with no known history of violent behavior ended up becoming the latest in a growing list of “collateral damage” from the government’s disastrous War on Drugs.

Almost a month ago, on Nov. 2, 2012, Danielle Willard was shot and killed by undercover police working for the West Valley, Utah police department. Apparently, she was killed during an attempted drug bust, although even that is a bit speculative at this point because police have yet to confirm much of anything about what happened that day.

“The family of a 21-year-old woman killed in an officer-involved shooting yesterday await answers in her death. So far, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the shooting at this apartment complex.

We still don’t know why officers shot and killed Danielle Willard. Her family says, she wasn’t a violent person but drugs may have been her downfall.

Willard’s mother, who lives in Vancouver, Washington, is anxious for information to come out.

“Everything that keeps going through my mind is speculation,” said Melissa Kennedy. “Did she get back on drugs? Was she really clean? Was it the wrong place at the wrong time?”

Willard was shot Friday and killed by undercover officers in the parking lot of an apartment complex in West Valley. Police used white sheets to cover her body from public view. Authorities aren’t saying what led to the shooting.”

Danielle Willard During “Brighter” Days

In fact, police have refused to even comment officially on such basic things as Danielle’s identity or even whether she is male or female. Purportedly, this silence is due to an ongoing investigation into the shooting and the events surrounding it. However, such rudimentary details have not only already been made public by Danielle’s family and friends, but are hardly something that would interfere with an investigation.

Those family and friends are understandably questioning that silence, especially since police normally have no problem releasing information that supports their officers’ version of events. Without any of that information, they are left to try and make sense of why police would need to kill Danielle, which is hard to reconcile with their own memories of her:

“Melissa Kennedy knows her daughter wasn’t perfect.

But she doesn’t understand what it is that her daughter did so wrong that prompted West Valley police to shoot and kill her…

‘…Danielle is a sweetheart. She’s got a big heart. She would give the clothes off her back for anybody. I used to get mad at her because she would use so much gas in our car because someone would want a ride home. She couldn’t tell them no,’ Kennedy said…

‘…She’s never been known to be a violent person. She’s 100 pounds soaking wet. She’s only 21 years old. She’s a tiny little thing. What could she possibly have done, other than having a gun, what could she have done to provoke them to shoot her?…I’ve never ever known her to keep a gun with her or anywhere around here,’ Kennedy said…

‘…Kayleen (Willard) said she admired her older sister.’I always wanted to be like her. She always inspired me, because she was always so happy. She always seemed to be the crowd pleaser. She always seemed to brighten up a room,’ Willard said. ‘She was an inspiration to me, she made me be the person I am today. She made me want to be a better person growing up. She will always be in my thoughts and my heart, and she’s in a better place right now and I’ll see her again some day.'”

In spite of the silent treatment from West Valley police, some details about that day have gotten out. As might be expected, those details don’t paint the undercover cops that killed Danielle in a very good light. Based on independent witnesses that have come forward and the limited admissions that detectives assigned to the case have made themselves several things have been established:

  • Danielle was not armed, nor were there any guns found within the vehicle where she was killed. (As confirmed by detectives)
  • Danielle was actually a passenger in her own vehicle and was attempting to seek cover by ducking down within the car at the time of the shooting.
  • It’s unlikely that Danielle was the target of the ill-fated drug bust. Whether she was in some way involved with drugs again or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time is unknown. However, even if she was that by itself would in no way justify her death.
  • An unidentified male, who fled the scene and was probably the one being targeted by the undercover cops, was driving the car. (Detectives Danielle’s mother spoke to actually denied that this person was present, which only raises more questions about why deadly force was necessary.)
  • According to the autopsy, Danielle was shot first in the cheek and then fatally in the top of her skull, which supports the witness accounts that she was ducking down at the time she was shot.

Demand Justice for Danielle Willard

The every day abuses and unintended negative consequences of the War on Drugs, as well as the selective nature of that war, should be enough to cause outrage at the unnecessary death of yet another person whose only real “crime” was an act which by itself only harms the person committing that act. No matter what your stance on drug use and its effect on those who become addicted, it should be apparent that the harm caused by drug prohibitions far outweigh any positive effects of such policies.

The bottom line is Danielle Willard should never have been killed in the first place and those who care about her deserve answers for why she was murdered in spite of being unarmed and, by all accounts, not acting in any aggressive manner at all. Unfortunately, police are in no hurry to provide those answers.

There are several ways that you can help seek justice for Danielle:

If you are in or have the ability to travel to West Valley, Ut., join those who will be there at the rallies to support them as they demand that justice in person. Other options to contribute from a distance include donating funds to offset funeral costs and the costs of traveling from Washington, where her family lives, to Utah. This is the link to do that via an online fundraiser. Yet another option is to call the West Valley Police Department at (801) 963-3300 or  (801) 965-5155 and let them know that you want justice for Danielle.




View West Valley Police Department 3600 Constitution Blvd in a larger map

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If You Drive on a Highway; Chances are the Police are Tracking You

The article was shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader named Joe, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The article was originally posted on the blog of the ACLU. It details the growth of the surveillance state under the guise of stemming the movement of substances some people deem “illicit.”

Are you the property of someone else? Do they have “right” to tell you what you can and cannot put in your body? Do they have the right to track your movement using your own dime? Personally hat’s not the kind of society I want to live in. As this article correctly notes “

Anyone who thinks all of the above will never happen doesn’t know much about history.” The best solution is not to further compound problems created and exacerbated by drug prohibition, arbitrary political boundaries, and claimed double-standards for law enforcement, but simply to not give them any credence by recognizing and acting as if you own yourself, because you do!

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The DEA wants to capture the license plates of all vehicles traveling along Interstate 15 in Utah, and store that data for two years at their facility in Northern Virginia. And, as a DEA official told Utah legislators at a hearing this week (attended by ACLU of Utah staff and covered in local media), these scanners are already in place on “drug trafficking corridors” in California and Texas and are being considered for Arizona as well. The agency is also collecting plate data from unspecified other sources and sharing it with over ten thousand law enforcement agencies around the nation.

We know that automated license plate scanning (ALPR) technology is rapidly being deployed by local police around the country. However, its use by a federal agency raises new issues and questions. To begin with, the federal government is in more of a position to create a centralized repository of drivers’ movements, so federal deployment of the technology is even more serious a matter than widespread local deployment.

In addition, a federal agency is required by law (the Privacy Act of 1974) to disclose to the American people how it is collecting, using, and sharing data about them. However, we were not able to find a Privacy Act notice anywhere in the Federal Register in which the DEA describes any collection of license plate data. (The two recent DEA Privacy Act notices we found do not mention the practice.)

We have received reports from ACLU affiliates along what the government calls the “SWB” (southwest border) that ALPR technology appeared to be in use at border checkpoints. And we did find mention of ALPR in DEA written testimony to Congress. In May 2009, DEA and Justice Dept. officials mentioned the agency’s use of the technology along the border. They wrote:

Within the United States, DEA has worked with DHS to implement its ‘License Plate Reader Initiative’ (LPR) in the Southwest border region to gather intelligence, particularly on movements of weapons and cash into Mexico. The system uses optical character recognition technology to read license plates on vehicles in the United States traveling southbound towards the border. The system also takes photographs of drivers and records statistical information such as the date, time, and traffic lane of the record. This information can be compared with DEA and CBP databases to help identify and interdict vehicles that are carrying large quantities of cash, weapons, and other illegal contraband toward Mexico.

The word “particularly” in that statement is particularly ominous. In March 2011 written testimony, a top DEA official updated the picture:

DEA components have the ability to query and input alerts on license plates via an existing DEA database, and other law enforcement agencies can do the same via EPIC [the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center]. DEA and CBP are currently working together in order to merge existing CBP LPRs at the points of entry with DEA’s LPR Initiative. In addition, the FY2010 SWB supplemental provided $1.5 million to expand the LPR initiative by purchasing additional devices and barrels and support maintenance to allow DEA to monitor traffic and provide intelligence on bulk currency transiting toward Mexico.

Law enforcement officials defended the program in part by describing it as an extension of already existing ALPR deployments in the rest of the state. But rather than mollifying the legislators, this answer prompted them to resolve to hold hearings on those local uses of the technology.

As usual, the authorities also tried to package their proposal with all kinds of soothing promises: the data would not be used except to catch drug traffickers and to investigate “serious crimes.” The data would not be cross-referenced with other databases containing driver’s names (and therefore presumably to the vast realms of other information that that would be available). The data would not be used to locate people with outstanding traffic tickets and misdemeanor warrants.

This is what you call sugaring a pill so that people will swallow it. Anyone who thinks all of the above will never happen doesn’t know much about history. We’ve seen this dynamic many times—a new surveillance technique is unveiled supposedly for use only against the most extreme criminals and is quickly expanded to much broader use. (To take just one example: DNA testing was first applied only to convicted murderers, then to all convicts, then to certain arrestees who haven’t even been convicted of a crime.)

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