Victim requests that no charges be filed against officer seen shoving him during SLC violent protest
Dec 4, 2020, 6:31 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:22 am
(Protesters go face-to-face with shielded police officers. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, May 30, 2020)
SALT LAKE CITY – An officer seen on video shoving an elderly man to the ground during May’s violent protest won’t face criminal charges. Prosecutors say this was a tough decision, but the victim didn’t want the officer to be charged.
It’s a video that angered people all over the country. An officer with a shield approaches an elderly man with a cane and shoves him, causing him to fall. The incident was recorded by a local TV station ad shared on social media platforms all over the U.S.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says he started investigating after seeing the video and was certain it rose to a criminal level. Gill says he showed it to his screening team, and they all agreed it was an illegal use of force.
“The first conclusion was that they certainly believed that the use of force that they saw, that was witnessed, was unnecessary and unlawful,” Gill says.
However, Gill says the victim made it clear he didn’t want officer Val Brown to be charged. That man reportedly requested that Brown be disciplined within the Salt Lake City Police Department. Gill says the victim just wanted to get on with his life, and he didn’t want to go through any kind of court proceeding.
“In the exact says circumstances [with] another victim, this case gets prosecuted,” Gill says.
Prosecutors decided to wait to formally decline charges just in case the victim changed his mind. However, that didn’t happen.
“He reaffirmed to us his desire not to want to go forward to this,” according to Gill.
Had the victim wanted to go forward with the case, Gill says Brown would have been looking at assault charges.
He says, “We were looking at misdemeanor level assaults [because] there was a potential there could be substantial bodily injury, also because he’s an elderly person. So, we looked at a series of charges.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department isn’t giving details on how they disciplined Brown, but they have confirmed he is still with the department. In a statement released to the Deseret News, department officials say the complaint went through rigorous reviews by Internal Affairs and the Civilian Review Board. Officials agreed the level of force used by Brown was inappropriate, and they’ve taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
In a written statement, Chief Mike Brown says, “As always, we will continue to train and improve our tactics to ensure that we have the most professional officers.”