ACLU of Utah staff attorney arrested after allegedly firing gun at car with children inside

Aaron Kinikini. Photo Courtesy: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 21, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake City man who allegedly fired at a car with his children inside Friday evening had been announced as the new ACLU of Utah staff attorney the day before.

A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County said Aaron Kinikini, 45, is facing charges of:

  • Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony
  • Three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony
  • Criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor
  • Unlawful detention, a class B misdemeanor
  • Discharge of firearms, a class B misdemeanor

Kinikini was arrested Friday just after 9:45 p.m. after the victim arrived at his residence to pick up her and the suspect’s three children.

“Victim and three kids were in the vehicle, the A/P (accused person) stood behind the vehicle preventing the victim from leaving,” the statement said.

The suspect told officials the vehicle drove at him at a high rate of speed.

“A/P produced a handgun and fired at and hit the driver side front and rear tires,” the statement said.

No one was injured.

Kinikini was transported to Salt Lake County Jail, where he is being held without bail.

Just one day before, on Thursday, the ACLU issued a press release which said: “The ACLU of Utah is pleased to announce the hiring of Aaron Kinikini as the affiliate’s new staff attorney.”

Kinikini most recently served as the legal director at the Utah Disability Law Center and is an active member of the Utah Bar, the news release said.

“A graduate of the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, Mr. Kinikini brings a proven track record of active and innovative civil rights litigation on behalf of clients of all ages,” the news release said. “He is also a board member at the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion (UCLI), which promotes equity and inclusion in Utah’s legal profession.”

In May 2018, Kinikini received the ACLU of Utah’s Mickey Duncan Award for excellence in civil liberties legal advocacy and was recognized at the the affiliate’s 60th anniversary celebration, the news release said.

Kinikini said by way of the news release: “I am honored and excited to be joining this organization as it continues to expand its advocacy work beyond the courthouse and into grassroots organizing and efforts to engage with, support and empower communities of color, the unsheltered, the incarcerated, and all Utahns whose legal and human rights are at risk. The ACLU of Utah has been a tireless guardian of civil liberties in Utah for decades, and as the last few years have demonstrated, its voice, values and vigilance have never been needed more.”

ACLU Strategic Communications Manager Jason Stevenson told Gephardt Daily Monday morning the organization does not have a comment on Kinikini’s arrest at this time.

This photograph of Kinikini was issued by the ACLU of Utah. Photo Courtesy: ACLU


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