Police Shootings in Utah Under Public Scrutiny

Are police officers using excessive force that isn’t justifiable? This question is being asked nationwide, as videos have shown police officers using force to stop victims who are unarmed. In the Utah cases of Danielle Willard, Dillon Taylor, and even the dog named Geist, Utahans are asking if police officers are using excessive force unnecessarily.

Cases of Excessive Force by Police in Utah

Danielle Willard
In the Danielle Willard case, Utah police shot Willard during a drug raid after she was reportedly “seen” buying drugs. Some witnesses said Willard tried to “ram” police with her vehicle, though reconstructions of the scene of her death suggested the officer firing the fatal shot stood by Willard’s vehicle, not in front of it. Her death raises the questions of whether police take too many liberties with their power and why there is a lack of transparency in the Salt Lake City Police Department. Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting and Willard’s death as “not justifiable” after officers’ accounts were not consistent with evidence presented. Officers claimed there were drugs in her system, but no drugs were found and tire marks at the scene did not support the theory Willard peeled out at the scene. There was no evidence that Willard attempted to harm officers. Her 2012 death isn't the first time doubt has been cast on the actions of officers in the Salt Lake City police force.

utah rally against excessive police force

Dillon Taylor

Police appeared in riot gear and one was wearing a body camera when they confronted Dillon Taylor. Taylor had been described by witnesses as having robbed a convenience store. But, he was wearing headphones and couldn’t clearly hear officers’ requests to get on the ground. Officers reported Taylor was combative, pointing to footage from an officer’s body camera. Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting justifiable, given Taylor’s actions in a 30-second video. However, many Utahans question using military-grade weapons on civilians.

Can police use force if they “perceive” a threat, even when no threat exists? In the Darrien Hunt case, witnesses reported Hunt had a sword. However, family members reported he was costumed and carried a toy katana. Family of Hunt say the young African-American was no threat in a community. A drive-through bank camera captured footage of Hunt fleeing police.

 

 

Did Taylor and Willard need to Die?

This is a question many Utahans are asking since Willard and Taylor had no weapons. Cameras used in police shootings may not be reliable because they are turned off or footage may be altered. According to Dub Lawrence, former Sheriff for Davis County, police officers may entrap and use force when the public cannot. Officers are held to a higher standard and have immunities citizens do not. For example, a police officer has 24 to 48 hours to file a report if someone dies. They also can lie during an interrogation. Lawrence spoke at an event Oct. 4 and called for citizens to question police officers’ transparency.

dub lawrence speaking out against police shootings

 

 Need for a National Database That Tracks Police Shootings Nationwide

Is there a way for Utahans to get the facts in a case, such as Hunt’s, Willard’s or Taylor’s? Some citizens may feel officers may not be telling the truth. However, there is no nationwide computer system to check facts.

USA Today reports from University of South Carolina criminologist Geoff Alpert, who has long studied police use of deadly force, said the FBI's limited database underscores a gaping hole in the nation's understanding of how often local police take a life on America's streets — and under what circumstances.

''There is no national database for this type of information, and that is so crazy," said Alpert. "We've been trying for years, but nobody wanted to fund it and the (police) departments didn't want it. They were concerned with their image and liability. They don't want to bother with it.''

Alpert said the database can confirm that a death has occurred but is good for little else.

"I've looked at records in hundreds of departments,'' Alpert said, "and it is very rare that you find someone saying, 'Oh, gosh, we used excessive force.' In 98.9% of the cases, they are stamped as justified and sent along.''

How to Reduce Police Shootings in Utah

What is the best way to handle situations where suspects or victims seem unarmed? Should police use non-lethal means? Utah’s laws allow for deadly force, allowing Utah school teachers to carry guns in the classroom. Until lawmakers are willing to revisit laws, ordinary citizens may not be able to defend themselves if officers decide someone’s actions justify using deadly force. But, what constitutes the need to use deadly force over non-deadly force? Without direction from lawmakers, police officers may make their own laws and break them without consequence. According to Duff, this is why ordinary citizens need to know what changes lawmakers are considering for bills and officers be held to the same transparency citizens have.

 

Will Removing Military Grade Weapons or Wearing Body Cameras Help Reduce Police Shootings in Utah?

Would having cameras and banning military-grade weapons stop officers from killing unarmed civilians? Would it matter in the police by suicide cases? According to Lawrence, having military-grade equipment gives police officers in Utah and elsewhere an unfair advantage. Not all Utahans want military weapons removed. Eighty-three percent of Utahans want weapons to be used responsibly and have advocated non-lethal alternatives, such as tear gas or rubber bullets. Many Utahans have questioned whether officers should wear cameras, because cameras can be turned off.

 

Utahans Call for More Transparency in Regards to Use of Lethal Force by Police

Why aren’t police by suicide valid in cases such as Taylor’s, Hunt’s or Willard’s? In Hunt’s case, the police determined from the trajectory of bullets that Hunt was fleeing the scene and not being confrontational. Thus, this rules out the police by suicide defense, where police can rule a shooting as “police by suicide” if a victim threatens to harm an officer. Many Utahans question if police officers need checks and balances. According to Dub Lawrence, a former marine, police officer, and SWAT,  demand officers be transparent in order for laws to change.  Listen to Dub Lawrence here speak about exaclty what the problem in Utah is.

Utahans are petioning to recall the current Mayor of Salt Lake City, Ralph Becker, citing his inaction regarding use of excessive police force. Utahans want a mayor who is ready and willing to take action to represent the wants and needs of it's people. You can visit Change.org to sign the petition recalling the current mayor.

 

Holding the Men in Blue to a Higher Standard

In the minds of many Utahans, the actions of Salt Lake City’s finest have shown many police officers abuse the power they are given and not face any consequences. Many Utahans are outraged because officers do not have to answer for their actions, as no officers in Hunt, Willard, or the Taylor cases had disciplinary actions levied against them. Shouldn’t police officers held to a higher standard? An example of this may be bus drivers across the nation. A bus driver has a Class B and Class C license. In the government’s eyes, bus drivers should be better drivers than the everyday man, and held to a higher standard. A bus driver is expected to be better and are fined more severely when they receive traffic violations.

Many Utahans expect the same of their law enforcement officers and demand Utah’s finest take responsibility for actions. Unfortunately, some police officers, Utahns feel, have used the law to cater to their needs. It has allowed Utah police to not only get away with murder, but commit it with excessive force in some cases. Attorneys in the Hunt and also in the Willard case have proven there was no reason for either Hunt or Willard to be shot an excess of four times, to more than six times for Hunt.

 

Is Deadly Force Needed as Much as it’s Used?

Readers commenting on the Saratoga Springs case, called for the truth. While the use of force may be warranted in this case, many Utahans do not believe all police officers are villains. There are good officers. But, the problem lies in how we assume innocence, based on appearances. Many Utahans simply want Salt Lake City Police Department to be accountable and use other means before using lethal means.

Tell us your thoughts -- What do you think will make the difference? How can we protect our officers AND citizens?

 

If you or a loved one is arrested on suspicion of a crime, contact Bad Boys Bail Bonds Utah to request bail. We are here when you need us, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We will get you out on our bail 365 days.

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Larry Nowak
They were available on Easter Sunday and were very professional. They were on time and made the process very easy. I would definitely recommend them.
Kyley “Britt” Stone
Kyley “Britt” Stone
21:50 04 Apr 21
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Chevelle Garnett
21:26 06 Oct 20
The owner is amazing and helped out so much. Highly recommend!!
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Brianna Kirstine
16:19 16 Mar 20
My boyfriend got arrested and I had no idea what to do. Larry and Mike were amazing throughout the whole process. If I ever go through this situation again I will give Bad Boys a call!!
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Gabi Dowland
06:11 28 Feb 20
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Kate Mackenzie
Kate Mackenzie
03:18 29 Jan 20
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Lindsay Mashburn
Lindsay Mashburn
01:54 11 Jan 20
Larry and his team are awesome! I called around noon and by 430 we helped and on our way! They didn't make me feel stupid about the situation I found myself in. They made sure I understood the situation and that I would be able to keep the promises I was about to make. Super down to earth and absolutely pleasant to work with. I hope non of y'all require these services but if you do 10/10 would recommend
ollie baum
ollie baum
14:33 31 May 19
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Babe Trujillo
Babe Trujillo
19:24 27 Apr 19
To the Bad Boys Bail Bondsman of Salt Lake City!!87 days ago we spent as a family effortless hours trying to locate our brother!! BECAUSE he is clinical it made the ordeal looking for him that much harder. By the grace of God and social media we located him here and Utah and after driving 11 hours from chaotic California to Utah and having the experience of such a serene peaceful Majestic atmosphere we don't question why he ended up here anymore we're just thankful to God he did!Knocking on so many doors that did not open and spending countless hours making phone calls that went unreturned left us IN despair!!But the Creator lead us to Google and when we typed in bail bondsman Bad Boys was the first bail bondsman at the top of the list!! Thank you so very much to the owner Larry and his incredible compassionate employee Mike if it were not for these two men spending countless hours on the phone allowing us to share our story, our experience, our hopes and prayers we would have not been able to execute a bail bond and release for our brother and father.Words cannot express our gratitude but we are so thankful for the day that you picked up the phone, and allowed us to vent took into consideration the story and evidence and in the most humanitarian way treated our brother as if he were YOUR OWN👍😁.TO ANYONE WHO FINDS HIM OR HERSELF IN A SITUATION OF NEED LIKE WE DID!! DON'T HESITATE TO CALL THIS COMPANY AND ASK FOR LARRY. He's a great listener, he's a great educator of the law and human rights his employees work diligently and effortlessly to make sure that they treat each and every situation in their own way with critical care.To BAD BOYS BAIL BOND WE'RE FOR EVER GRATEFUL AND YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE FAMILY IN CALIFORNIA AS WE KNOW WE HAVE FAMILY IN HERE IN UTAH.LOVE 4EVER,CHANDLER FAMILY
Latoya Chandler
Latoya Chandler
02:35 27 Mar 19
They have changed my whole life I’ve never seen so much care and compassion id recommend 200 times over my family is going home so complete and happy
Salihahdaone Emajesty
Salihahdaone Emajesty
02:15 27 Mar 19
Larry the owner is fantastic and you can tell he really cares. He does his best to keep you well informed about the possibilities and what he, as a professional, sees as the best option. He will even discourage bailing someone out when it’s in their best interest. Very knowledgeable and courteous. You can tell he’s been doing this for years and he does his best to work with everyone’s individual circumstances. In times of stress, he’s honestly your best bet. Everyone else is lazy and just looking to make a quick buck. Larry offered me help and answers even though I didn’t end up using his services and still insists that I call him if I have more questions. We were able to talk through all the possibilities and he’s kept me well informed since I called him at 3 this morning! Amazing person. Am waiting and hoping that bail will be reduced and when that happens we’ll definitely use Larry’s services. Appreciate your great work and customer service, especially in such stressful times.
Lena Darling
Lena Darling
21:02 16 Mar 19
Sorry, not my real last name but my review is. I talked with the owner Mike and I cannot say enough good words about him so "awesome" will have to do. And the Bail Agent Mike was also. Both gentlemen were very quick, knowledgeable, friendly, professional, and extremely helpful. They both made my dealing with this situation so much easier. I highly recommend Bad Boys Bail Bonds if you find yourself, family or friends in need if bail.
Stephen Greho
Stephen Greho
22:51 15 Feb 19
I highly recommend Bad Boys Bail Bonds. This is the first time my family and I have ever had to use such a service, and we’re glad that our first time experience was a pleasant one! They work quickly and effectively! I worked with my Mike and he did a great job simplifying the process and making sure I was aware of my situation and the things I needed to take care of.He also clarified what to do if certain scenarios were to come to fruition, and that we can just call them! I hope I never have to use such a service again, but if it does, I will definitely contact them.Words of a Free Man.
John Otu
John Otu
19:08 11 Jan 19
I wasn't able to use his services cuz I got OR'd but great man
Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston
19:11 10 Jan 19
These guys are awesome Larry was great helped us get someone out without having to pay a bail they are awesome.
melece kirkham
melece kirkham
16:42 01 Jan 19
This company has been nothing but kind and professional with me. I spent over an hour talking with the owner after getting me out of jail ASAP. I can tell you it is more than the bail money they want but a very very very strong desire to help people that drives this company. I strongly recommend them if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing a bond. If I could give them more than 5 stars I would gladly give 100’s. You can not go wrong with them!!!! I don’t rate companies online but after the service provided to me they whole hearted deserved my comments. AAA+ company!!!!
Jeremiah Taylor
Jeremiah Taylor
12:17 14 Nov 18
I can’t thank Larry and Kendall enough for all they did. Very fast and professional. Larry talked me into waiting two days for my son to go to court and the bail was reduced significantly, saving me a lot of money. He could have taken my money initially as I was ready to pay, but after talking me through the process he helped me to see it wasn’t just about money to him, it was about helping others. Kendall came to my house, I don’t drive at night, he was fast professional and very knowledgeable. I would highly recommend Bad Boys if you want to be treated fairly and know the process.
Stan Nowak
Stan Nowak
03:12 19 Oct 18
Larry went above and beyond for my family this week. He answered all my questions and did everything in his power to help us get through this difficult time. He stayed on the line while I cried my heart out. He worked with us every step of the way and never brushed me off. He made everything convenient and easy for us. I recommend you to everyone! Thank you for your awesome service
davy sy
davy sy
18:42 29 Jun 18
This place is the Best Larry kept his word on a book and release $150,000 dollar bail for a friend he called the jail every 5 minutes during the process to make sure it went smooth faxed the paper work and got him released with fast response time this guy larry is the real deal hes a real person that understands the process and that life sometimes sucks he met us on his day off and always answers your calls we were working with him for weeks and he checked every day this guy larry is the follow up king if your ever in serious trouble and need the most reliable man of his word bail bond company larry is the guy to go to he made it a comfortable process as much as it could be thank you larry if we could give more stars we would thanks !
Brian Chow
Brian Chow
05:20 28 Jun 18
I wasn't 100% sure about the bail bonds process and needed to get help fast. Larry had all my questions answered, was able to get the help I needed and bail posted within a few hours. This bail bonds company is awesome!
Brandon Swenson
Brandon Swenson
16:37 11 Aug 16
I needed answers to questions and had no previous experience with bail bonds. Bad boys was very respectful and professional and answered all my questions and made sure that I understood everything I needed to know in helping a loved one through a difficult time. I would definately recommend Bad Boys Bail Bonds to anyone needing this type of service.
Kelly Jones
Kelly Jones
18:25 21 Oct 15
Bad Boys Bail Bonds have helped me in a couple of rough situations by being fair, understanding, and affordable. I could call them any day or night and get the help I needed which extends through the whole court process. I would definitely recommend Bad Boys Bail Bonds to anybody needing bonding and court services.
e davis
e davis
15:46 06 Oct 15
I've known Larry and Bad Boys Bail Bonds for years. They truly are on call 24/7 and have been nothing but courteous and professional, even when it takes them away from their personal lives. Thanks Larry and staff for always being there when needed.
Angilee DuBreuil
Angilee DuBreuil
03:18 06 Oct 15
I've been working with bad boys bail for many years and I've had nothing but friendly and helpful service..I have given lots of people their number and have heard the same thing from them thank u larry and ur staff..much appreciatedT
Jeffrey Manzanares
Jeffrey Manzanares
19:28 05 Oct 15
Bad boys are incredible, I have a cousin that tends to get himself in to trouble far too often and Larry has been great about always helping us out even though the trouble seems to be a repeat performance. He's very accommodating and kind to the entire family in the situation. Thanks, bad boys! :)
Ashley Lunt
Ashley Lunt
18:11 26 Feb 14
You never know when you or a loved one may be in need of a bail bond. Luckily, Bad Boys Bail Bonds is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—available to get customers the help they need when they need it. They’re able to provide assistance that’s quick and friendly—both important qualities in a world where bail bondsmen can be difficult to deal with. When you need a bail bond, you also need a team with experience. The team at Bad Boys Bail Bonds has over 25 years in the bail bonds business. They are a local, family-owned business with agents in different locations throughout Utah to better serve their customers. They can often deal with out of state cases as well. They listen to your case, make sure they understand what you need, and do all they can to help you out. And you don’t have to worry about Bad Boys Bail Bonds sharing information about your case. The information you give with them stays confidential.
Tori Edwards
Tori Edwards
17:01 11 Jul 13

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P.O. Box 1286
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