Are we victims? Ferguson Effects Found in Utah

Over 100 Salt Lake City police officers responded to the officer-involved shooting of 17-year-old Abdullahi Omar Mohamed Saturday, Feb. 27.

Mohamed was shot three times and critically injured because he would not drop the metal broomstick he was using to attack a man and wouldn’t cooperate with the police’s demands to stop, drop the weapon, and turnaround.

The Salt Lake City Police Department has refused to release the body cam footage from the officers who shot Mohamed until they determine whether or not the shooting was justified.

With police using excessive force and the “black lives matter” campaign at the top of America’s hottest issues and topics, this event has triggered a “Ferguson effect” in our own state.

Unfortunately for the officers who shot Mohamed, the stories leading up to now don’t seem justifiable for discharging fire, especially if more than one person’s life wasn’t at risk.

Consequently to police behavior, bystanders relayed to media sources, including the Salt Lake Tribune, that the police controlling the scene were using excessive force, utilizing riot shields to block pedestrians from entering and others removing assault rifles from the trunks of police vehicles.

Although proof of justice for this escalating issue will have to wait until after the body cam footage is release to the public, Senate Bill 94 currently states that any law enforcement agency that uses body-worn cameras for its law enforcement officers shall have a written policy governing the use, storage and retention of the the video or audio captured. Specified audio or video recordings are considered a private record. Even then, people will share personal opinions of the footage, which still drives the unmediated conversations of police excessive force and racial discrimination.

Are we victims of police excessive force and racial discrimination in Utah or do the people not understand authoritative protocol? While any shooting should be taken into high consideration and evaluation, let us all remember to respect our law-enforcing authorities. Although we may not know, Mohamed might not have been shot if he had obeyed orders from the officers that night. However, Like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, obedience to law enforcement isn’t always the real issue in police related shootings. If that is the case, we may have a Ferguson-related issue in our very own state.




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