POLICE

Family of Zane James wants body camera footage of his death turned over

Aug 14, 2020, 6:38 AM
garrity bill utah zane james police shooting parents...
FILE: Tiffany and Aaron James, the parents of Zane James, have repeatedly sought public records related to their son's shooting death at the hands of police. Tiffany James testified Friday against a bill that would exempt statements made by police officers in a similar internal investigation. Photo: KSL TV

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Zane James was shot in the back by a Cottonwood Heights Police officer in 2018 following reports of two armed robberies in the area. The James family has filed a court motion to get the body camera footage turned over to them, accusing the city of lying about the existence of the tape. 

Tiffany James, Zane’s mother, told KSL-TV that she was told by two city council members around August 2nd of this year that there was a body camera despite several denials by the city. 

“The footage appears to be the officer…shooting our son and rifling through his pockets looking for a gun, not rendering any aid,” James said. 

The family says they were also told city leaders had viewed it during a closed-door meeting. 

“The entire city council, mayor, and city manager sat in a room and watched it together, with their county attorney and their recorder,” James alleges. 

Tiffany James would not name the city council members who told her this information, only saying their sources are “credible”. 

Former Cottonwood Heights Police officer Casey Davies, who is also named in the suit, had earlier told investigators he was driving to work when he spotted Zane James’s motorcycle, chased him, and eventually shot him outside a home. Davies maintained he did not have a body camera on him at the time because it was at the station.

In a statement to the Deseret News, attorney Heather White, who is representing the city of Cottonwood Heights said, “Although the city is actively investigating these new allegations, the city believes that they are entirely mistaken and without any merit whatsoever.”

She also hit back at allegations that the tape exists or that anyone in city management saw it.

“The city is not aware of any video footage of the shooting of Zane James. To the city’s knowledge, no member of the ‘Cottonwood Heights City leadership’ saw any such video in 2018 or any time since, or has ever heard of its existence,” White wrote. 

However, she also left open the possibility that someone could have confused body camera footage from that of another case. 

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Family of Zane James wants body camera footage of his death turned over