Wellington officer’s use of deadly force ruled justified; bodycam video released

Editor’s note: The above video contains disturbing images and adult language.

WELLINGTON, Utah, Oct. 4, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Carbon County Sheriff’s Department has released bodycam video of a Wellington Police Department officer’s fatal shooting of Bobby Ray Duckworth on Sept. 10 of this year.

Also on Friday, the Carbon County Attorney’s Office released a letter saying it found the use of deadly force justified.

The video, which contains disturbing images and cursing, shows the officer being alerted to a suicidal man in an area near railroad tracks.

It shows the officer calling to Duckworth, who is said to be carrying a knife. The officer tells Duckworth to drop his weapon and retreats. Duckworth continues to advance, and six shots can be heard just before the victim falls to the ground, unresponsive.

The Cache County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on the incident with the video, which was posted both on its Facebook page and that of the Wellington Police Department. The video also is on YouTube.

The CCSO statement says, in part:

“A multi-agency investigation led by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office which began on Sept. 10, 2019, was submitted to the Carbon County Attorney’s Office for review. The investigation followed the critical incident involving a Wellington City police officer that resulted in the death of Bobby Ray Duckworth. The Carbon County Attorney has approved the release of the body worn camera footage of this incident.

“With the permission of Wellington City Police Department, we are providing the unedited body-worn camera footage and a video providing some context and explanation.”

To read the full letter, go to the bottom of this story.

Shooting found justified

The Carbon County Attorney’s Office found the shooting justified, it said in a letter posted on the county’s website.

The letter said issues that led the office to the decision include the following facts:

  • Officer Safley (no first name given) initially tried to engage the suicidal subject verbally, without a display of force.
  • Duckworth advanced on the officer “in an aggressive manner displaying a deadly weapon, a large knife.”
  • Safley retreated, creating a distance between himself and Duckworth, “allowing time to make additional commands to disarm and warn that deadly force would be used.”
  • Safley gave additional warnings to disarm and that deadly force would be used if he did not comply.
  • No cover was available to Safley, “and further backward retreat on uneven loose gravel with trip hazards increased the danger to the officer.”
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“The Carbon County Attorney’s Office finds that Officer Safley’s use of deadly force, leading to Mr. Duckworth’s death, was reasonable and justified as the officer ‘reasonably believe(d) that the use of deadly force (was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person.’ He acted promptly and lawfully,” the statement says.

“Therefore, I find no criminal conduct and decline prosecution in this matter,” says the statement, signed by Jeremiah C. Humes, County Attorney.

“I thank the Critical Incident Task Force for the time and for the immense resources and energy devoted to this very thorough, comprehensive and professional investigation. I also express my deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Mr. Duckworth for their loss.”

News conference

To view a news conference held the day after the shooting, click on the player below.

Wellington, Utah Officer Involved Shooting Press Conference

Originally aired at 9/11/19 at 11:00 AM*This is a re-upload due to unfortunately timed network ISP issues during the original live stream*If closed captioning is needed, enable the captions option at the following youtube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKH0eQIOSzo&feature=youtu.be

Posted by Carbon County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Carbon County Attorney’s letter

Letter_chief

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