(KCPW News) A Salt Lake City police officer who shot a juvenile at a mobile home park in May has been deemed unjustified in his actions. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says Officer Matthew Giles was involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle and believed the teen may have been involved in a hit and run accident. When the suspect rammed an officer’s cruiser, Giles said he believed the suspect was endangering his life, and fired eight shots.
“We recognize it was a dynamic situation,” Gill said. “But, at the same time taking the evidence and the observations and statements from other witnesses, including fellow officers, we determined that he could not have fired those eight shots within less than 20 feet because it would have taken 0.68 seconds traveling only at 20 miles an hour.”
Gill says it’s more likely the suspect’s car was 60 to 90 feet away at the time of the shooting, instead of the 20 that Giles reported, meaning his life was not in imminent danger.
He says now that the preliminary investigation into the shooting is complete, his office will begin looking into pursuing criminal charges.
“Like any matter that’s presented to us for purpose of screening if we can articulate those charges, there’s that risk that person maybe be subject to criminal violation or there may be nothing there that we can do beyond that,” Gill said. “But that is certainly a risk that’s present.”
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank released a statement saying the officer continues to be on paid administrative leave while the department conducts its own internal review of the officer’s actions.
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