CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Police union filing ethics complaint against Salt Lake City councilwoman

Oct 2, 2020, 10:07 AM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:22 am
police union complaint...
The Salt Lake police union is filing an ethics complaint against Salt Lake City councilwoman Amy Fowler. (PHOTO: Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Salt Lake police union is filing an ethics complaint about a Salt Lake City councilwoman.

The target of the complaint is Amy Fowler, a trial attorney and former public defender.

Police union upset over Facebook post

On June 6, Fowler posted on Facebook calling the fatal police shooting of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal “unlawful,” adding that she was “outraged.” 
 
The post continued: “I will do everything in my power to ensure that justice is served. There should be no special treatment for police and they should be held to the same standard as anyone else suspected of a similar act.”
 
A police shooting May 23 resulted in Palacios-Carbajal’s death. In July, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting justified.
 
Steven Winters, president of the Salt Lake Police Association, filed the ethics complaint against Fowler with the Utah State Bar on behalf of the police union.
 
The complaint accuses Fowler of “inappropriately” using her position as a councilwoman “to influence this investigation by making reckless and unethical public statements.” Specifically, it’s accusing her of violating Utah Rules of Professional Conduct by “publicly misrepresenting information.”
 
“She made these statements without the benefit of all the information and during an ongoing investigation into the incident,” Winters wrote in the complaint. “Her actions have jeopardized and politicized an ongoing investigation and elicited death threats to at least one Salt Lake City police officer.”

Defending her stance

Fowler has since defended her comments as a “personal statement about my own beliefs.” 

A post on her personal Facebook page continues: “I don’t represent any of the parties involved,” she says. “I had the same exact knowledge and facts that the public did, and I made a personal comment. As an attorney, when we take the oath we don’t give up our constitutional rights, and I was exercising my freedom of speech.”

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