The Utah chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after body camera footage was released of the police shooting of a 13-year-old boy in Salt Lake City. The boy’s family has said his name is Linden and has asked that his last name be omitted from press coverage. According to reports, the video shows Salt Lake City officers chasing Linden down before firing multiple rounds in his direction. According to the family’s attorney, Linden remains hospitalized with broken bones and pierced organs.
“This should never have happened,” said Mary Ann Thompson, a volunteer leader with the Utah chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As a mother, my heart aches for Linden and his family as he begins a painful recovery. Police shootings are gun violence. Each police shooting is another reminder of how much more work we have to do in Utah in the fight for gun safety.”
On Sept. 4, Linden’s mother called police asking for help getting her son to the hospital for mental-health treatment, but Linden ran from the officers as soon as they arrived. According to the Guardian, Linden’s mother told KUTV that she “called 911 to request a crisis intervention team because her son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was having an episode caused by ‘bad separation anxiety’ as his mother went to work for the first time in more than a year.”
Each year, police in America shoot and kill more than 1,000 people, according to data from Mapping Police Violence. And between 2013-2019, police in Utah killed 92 people. Law enforcement agencies should have strong guardrails on when police may use force against civilians, ensure police are held accountable when force is used and prioritize de-escalation, dignity, and respect.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.
Statistics about gun violence in Utah are available here, and information on how Utah’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here. Read more about gun violence and police shootings here