SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sept. 9, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A trio of Salt Lake City legislators has issued a statement after a 13-year-old boy was injured in a shooting late Friday night by a Salt Lake City police officer.
Linden Cameren has autism and was having what Salt Lake City Police Department spokesman Sgt. Keith Horrocks described as a “mental episode” when officers were called to his home near 500 South and Navajo Street in the Glendale neighborhood shortly after 10 p.m. Friday.
Horrocks told reporters near the scene of the shooting that officers had been told the juvenile, whose age he did not disclose, had made threats to someone with a weapon.
“Our officers came into the area and, given the threats with a weapon, they arrived and made contact with the male,” Horrocks said. “He fled on foot away from the address and, during a short foot pursuit, an officer discharged his firearm, striking that subject.”
Linden has injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, intestines, and bladder, according to a GoFundMe account set up to help the family with his medical expenses.
Sen. Luz Escamilla and Reps. Angela Romero and Sandra Hollins issued the following statement Wednesday:
“We are greatly concerned that a Salt Lake City Police officer shot 13-year-old Linden Cameren, who has autism, this past Friday. When people call the police, we expect professional and compassionate judgment, especially when a child with cognitive disabilities is involved. We feel awful for Linden and his family.
“Sadly, the use of force in tense situations where a non-lethal, de-escalation approach would be more effective does significant damage to the relationship between law enforcement and the people they serve. Tragic incidents like this not only change the lives of the family involved, but also impact the community who wants to trust the police for security.
“We recognize Salt Lake City officials are best positioned to lead a swift and transparent investigation to understand exactly what happened. The state also has a role in working with law enforcement agencies to review and improve police use of force laws and de-escalation guidelines. We want our first responders to be as prepared as possible to address situations involving our most vulnerable populations.”
Horrocks said late Friday there was no indication that the youth had a weapon in his possession, “but we don’t know for sure.”
The incident is being investigated by a team from West Valley City Police Department, in accordance with officer-involved-critical-incident protocol.
Neither WVCPD nor SLCPD have released any details about the case other than the information provided a few hours after the shooting, as referenced above.
Linden’s mother, Golda Barton, has said in an interview with KUTV that she is the person who called police and asked for a crisis intervention team, also known as CIT, because her son was having a mental breakdown and needed to go to the hospital.
She said she told the officers on the phone that her son was not armed, but was yelling and screaming because he’s a kid and wants attention but doesn’t know how to regulate.
Barton said she was told the officers would de-escalate the situation, but within five minutes of their arrival, she heard them yell “get down on the ground,” and several shots were fired.
Now Barton is asking why the police didn’t just tackle Linden, whom she describes as a small child with mental issues.
To view the GoFundMe account for Linden, click here.
“The long term effects of his injuries are still unknown, but it is likely that his recovery will be long and require multiple kinds of treatment,” the fund-raising page says. “The money from this fund will be used to pay for Linden’s hospital bills, physical therapy, and trauma healing for Linden, and also to assist his family as they move through his healing.”
Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information is released.