STATEMENT OF SALT LAKE COUNTY
DISTRICT ATTORNEY SIM GILL
ON RELEASE OF BODY CAMERA,
FROM RIO GRANDE
Salt Lake City, UT—Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim
Gill today issued the following statement confirming release by the District
Attorney’s Office of body camera and surveillance footage relevant to an
officer-involved shooting that took place on February 27, 2016, near 250
South Rio Grande Street.
My position on public release of videos relating to the Rio
Grande officer-involved shooting has never been if, but when.
Our concern throughout this case has been that premature
release of videographic evidence, which we believe shows a juvenile engaged in
allegedly unlawful acts for which he has since been criminally charged, would
substantially risk deprivation of the juvenile’s constitutional due process
rights to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Premature
release of the videos would also, we believe, risk undermining the integrity of
both this Office and the prosecution, as well as the juvenile court judge’s
ability to determine what relevant evidence should be shown to the public and
It was for those reasons that we denied earlier public
information requests for release of the videos. Not because we believe
the public should not see the videos, but because we believe an individual’s
constitutional due process rights are paramount and can never be subservient to
the public clamor.
This morning, the juvenile court allowed the two body
camera videos to be shown in open court in the presence of media and
others. The juvenile’s attorney did not object, nor did he seek to close
the proceedings to the public.
We have always said this case presented a very close,
nuanced, and complicated balancing act between the statutory rights of the
public versus the constitutional rights of the juvenile. We have
consistently maintained that we would release all information once we were
confident that doing so would not violate the rights of the accused or
compromise the integrity of the process.
In consultation with Salt Lake City, we believe the court’s
decision to allow the body camera videos to be shown this morning, in open
court and in the presence of media, as well as the decision by attorneys for
the juvenile not to object or seek to close the proceeding, tie directly into
the language of Utah’s open records law indicating Utah’s public policy
preference for disclosure. We have now determined the “balancing test”
mandated by Utah’s law weighs in favor of disclosure, such that it would
violate the open records law for us to continue to withhold the body camera
videos at this time. We believe the same holds true for the surveillance
All persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent unless and until proven
guilty in a court of law.