LOGAN, Utah, Aug. 7, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Two days after the University of Utah released a report finding that a former campus officer had shown other officers an evidence photo of student Lauren McCluskey, the man’s latest employer — the Logan City Police Department — announced he has been fired.
The man was officer Miguel Deras. After McCluskey’s murder, he quit the University of Utah Police force and, in September 2019, was hired by the LCPD.
“Officer Miguel Deras’ employment with the Logan City Police Department has ended effective immediately,” the Logan police statement says. “Deras, a probationary employee, was released from employment after a thorough internal review of the recently completed Department of Public Safety investigation.
“The investigation concluded Deras mishandled sensitive evidence pertaining to the Lauren McCluskey extortion and subsequent homicide case while he was employed with the University of Utah Police Department.
“The conclusions drawn in the DPS report are inconsistent with the high expectations and standards placed upon our officers by the community and our department. Our continuing efforts to hold sacred the public’s trust and our duty to serve and protect has resulted in today’s decision.
“Logan City Police will not be making further comment.”
The photos, of an intimate nature, had been sent to McCluskey in an attempt to get her to pay money in exchange for keeping the images from being released.
McCluskey contacted the U of U Police Department, and shared the image and other evidence with campus police in hopes that officers would arrest and charge her former boyfriend Melvin Rowland, whom she also said had been stalking and threatening her.
McCluskey had ended the brief relationship after discovering Rowland had lied about his name and age, and had withheld his status as a convicted sex offender.
The U of U investigation addressed rumors that Deras had downloaded the McCluskey photo and shared it with others. The report concluded Deras did not download the image, but the U of U statement by University Police Chief Rodney Chatman said, in part:
“However, the report did find evidence that a small number of officers inappropriately commented on the photos before, during or immediately after a shift change briefing.
“As I wrote in May, it is inexcusable for any law enforcement officer to discuss photos or information provided by a victim outside of clear and legitimate law enforcement reasons. I am deeply disturbed by this finding and disappointed in the officers who were present and who did not report this incident through appropriate university channels.
“This type of behavior is not acceptable in my department and will not be tolerated.”
Read the U of U’s full investigation report and addendums here.
Rowland shot and killed McCluskey outside her University of Utah dorm as she returned from a night class on Oct. 22, 2018. Hours later, police discovered Rowland, by then the subject of a manhunt, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot inside a downtown Salt Lake City church.
McCluskey’s parents have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the U of U, claiming the U’s police force ignored their daughter’s repeated pleas for help in the days prior to the shooting.