SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 9, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill on Friday confirmed he has asked all police departments in the county to provide available records and reports on their K-9 programs, and all programs will undergo review.
The request came after the release of video in August that raised concerns about an abuse of power. The video, provided by an attorney for Jeffrey Ryans, appeared to show a K-9 handler ordering his dog to attack Ryans for an extended period after the suspect had complied with police requests.
“Ten days ago, following a records request from the DA Office, the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) announced it had identified, 34 K9-caused injuries to civilians in roughly 30 months,” says th Friday statement released by Gill.
“Of those, 11 were in the first six months of 2020. We are grateful to SLCPD for their commitment to transparency and willingness to confront uncomfortable truths.”
On Friday, the SLCPD released all the recordings in question to the public. View them by clicking here.
“Following the public disclosure by SLCPD, we realized there may be other cases of K9-caused injuries to civilians that were never presented to the DA Office for us to screen for potential criminal conduct by an officer,” Gill’s statement continues.
“We asked local law enforcement leaders with K9 units to meet with us last Monday, Sept. 28, to discuss how to work collectively to gather accurate information and develop recommendations about the uses of K9s throughout Salt Lake County. This request is a vital step toward restoring public faith in the criminal justice system.
“To their credit, every chief we invited attended. The conversation was robust and productive, with every chief demonstrating, in our opinion, a strong commitment to justice and transparency on this issue of significant public interest and concern.
“The requests for information sent to those agencies by our office were discussed in advance with every agency that received them and were the direct and logical offshoot of our earlier request to SLCPD (in August 2020) and our Sept. 28 conversation with agency leadership.”
The requests were sent on Friday Oct. 2, Gill’s statement says.
“We will review all materials provided to our office in connection with our records request and we will act as appropriate and necessary to fulfill and perform our statutory duties consistent with the law.”