A police shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah has been ruled justified by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. The shooting occurred last September in the parking lot of a Maverick convenience store. The announcement was made in a press conference Wednesday held by District Attorney Sim Gill.
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Prosecutors also released body camera footage of the whole incident during the press conference. The incident began on September 28 in Salt Lake City when officers responded to a call of a sexual assault and trespassing at a massage therapy clinic. Salt Lake City Police Officer Gregory Lovell was the first to arrive and he initiates contact with a suspect, later identified as Michael Bruce Peterson, just as he was leaving the massage parlor.
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Officer Lovell's body cam footage shows Peterson then get into a vehicle that isn't his all while Officer Lovell is demanding he stop. The officer deploys a taser through the vehicle's open window prompting Peterson, who is a very large man, to emerge from the vehicle. A scuffle ensues and during the scuffle the suspect appears to get a hold of the officer's police baton and charges him with it raised above his head. Just then, another officer arrives and fires ten shots at Peterson killing him.
Gill described the shooting in a court review of the case, "“Lt. Oblad saw that he and Officer Lovell were immediate danger of Peterson inflicting death or serious bodily injury on them. Indeed, Mr. Peterson had in fact been inflicting what appeared to be force capable of causing death or serious bodily injury on Officer Lovell,"
The officer who initiated the contact was praised by Police Chief Brown for doing everything by the book, "[Lovell] tried to use every level of de-escalation that he could. Thank god Lt. Oblad was there." Officer Lovell sustained a broken nose, a broken ankle, a broken tibia and several facial lacerations.
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