Former chief, officers: U made them scapegoats after McCluskey murder

Apr 14, 2021, 9:21 AM
A former chief and former officers from the University of Utah police sued, saying the school made them scapegoats after the murder of Lauren McCluskey, a student-athlete. (PHOTO: University of Utah)
(PHOTO: University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah’s former police chief and four former officers have filed a legal claim against the U, arguing the school made them scapegoats after the murder of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey. 

In the claim, the former chief and officers argue the U conspired against them to try and save face in the public outcry after the murder.

A campus crime and a public outcry

Lauren McCluskey called police more than 20 times in October 2018 to report stalking and harassment by her ex-boyfriend Melvin Rowland. He later shot and killed her on campus.

The University of Utah police chief at the time, Dale Brophy, and the department faced a lot of heat for the response to the calls for help from McCluskey. 

Then, an investigation found one of the officers showed an explicit photo of McCluskey to others.

Former chief, officers: U made them McCluskey scapegoats

The legal claim says the U removed protections provided to department officers. It says the officers’ good names and reputations have been adversely impacted by how they were treated.

The officers and former chief say they have lost their jobs or can’t get new jobs because of the stigma created by the U. They seek $10 million in the lawsuit. 

The legal notice is the first step in a process that can lead to a lawsuit or settlement.

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Former chief, officers: U made them scapegoats after McCluskey murder