CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Farmington fatal police shooting of man in parked car legally justified

Sep 13, 2023, 6:30 AM | Updated: Oct 18, 2023, 2:16 pm

A car riddled with bullet holes in the Farmington U.S. Post Office parking lot after a report of sh...

A car riddled with bullet holes in the Farmington U.S. Post Office parking lot after a report of shots fired there on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

FARMINGTON, Utah — Police officers who shot and killed Chase Allan, 24, in Farmington in March, after a traffic stop, were legally justified to use deadly force.

That’s according to the Davis County Attorney, Troy Rawlings. His office was responsible for investigating the shooting.

A letter dated July 28 from Rawlings to Farmington Police Chief Eric Johnsen said all the prosecutors in the Davis County offices who participated in the screening of the lethal shooting agreed law enforcement officers acted within the scope of Utah Code when Chase Allan, 25, was shot and killed in his car March 1.

The letter states Allan attempted to draw a firearm and “actually succeeding in getting it out of the holster he was carrying it in.”

The letter was provided to KSL after a request to Rawlings, presumably as with other media outlets, reporting Tuesday. Often district attorney’s offices will make determinations about fatal shootings available to media and hold a press conference to explain the findings on the use of deadly  force.

The letter also said the initial stop was also lawful for “driving with a false license plate.” It stated Allan then failed to follow lawful commands.

After the shooting, Allan’s family said they learned about his death from media reports, not from police, and called it a “brutal murder.”

The DA’s letter, posted in its entirety at the end of the story, read in part:

The officers had a reasonable, articulable and objectively verifiable belief that use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves orothers. Consequently, theyare entitled to the defense of justification under the statute, and we therefore decline to prosecute.

Allan was pulled over at the U.S. Post Office on 145 E. State Street in Farmington. Body camera footage of the incident was released March 8 that shows the initial officer speaking with Allan and calling for backup.

It also stated that deadly force wasn’t used over a license plate but because deadly force was “in the process of being engaged against them.”

In body camera footage, an officer can be heard to say “gun” multiple times, prompting officers, who were surrounding the vehicle, to open fire from several directions into the car.

Allan was believed to hold views sympathetic with sovereign citizen groups who believe the law doesn’t have authority over them. He told police, before he was, that he didn’t have to answer questions.

Allan’s mother filed a suit against the Farmington Police Department over a traffic stop of her own the previous April. As of March 3, the lawsuit remained open.

Farmington Police Department held a press conference about the shooting, included here.

 

In the July letter, Rawlings said “There has been a degree of public interest in this situation…” including some “aggressive input” to the district attorney’s office. Rawlings stated “a few succinct observations relevant to this matter are in order.”

That included:

LEO’s (law enforcement officers) are not required to allow any individual to violate the laws enacted by a legislative body because the individual does not feel the law is constitutional, or because that person believes the law should not apply to them. Such individuals have a mechanism to challenge the law, its application and constitutionality. The proper forum for that is the judiciary, not with a gun in a parking lot.

The confrontation between Allan first being pulled over until he had been shot multiple times was less than five minutes. Allan was given medical treatment as he lay on the ground and was later declared dead. In audio from the incident, Allan told the officer who performed the traffic stop that he didn’t have authority to stop him.

He provided a passport as identification after initially hesitating to do so.

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Farmington fatal police shooting of man in parked car legally justified