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West Valley officer cleared in August shooting in SLC, but sergeant could face charges



The Salt Lake County district attorney announced Friday the actions of a West Valley Police sergeant in an August 2020 officer-involved shooting in Salt Lake City were not justified and could warrant future criminal charges.

At this time, charges have not been filed against West Valley City Police Sgt. Jason Vincent, but District Attorney Sim Gill said “the matter remains open and under consideration until more information can be gathered.”
Gill also said West Valley City Police Officer Clinton Moore’s actions were justified in the incident, and he would not file charges against him.

Vincent and Moore were part of a federal law enforcement task force pursuing Damien Evans August 27. Evans ran from police and was shot and killed at 999 S. Main Street. A warrant for Evans’ arrest had been issued earlier that month for a parole violation.

Vincent and Moore both fired their weapons at different times during the incident. Vincent’s gun was fired once while chasing the suspect. Moore later fired the shots that killed Evans.

INVESTIGATION: Who is getting shot and killed in Utah’s officer-involved shootings?

“We cannot conclude that Sgt. Vincent is entitled to the affirmative legal defense of justification,” Gill said Friday. “As to whether a criminal prosecution should commence against Sgt. Vincent for his apparent use of deadly force, the matter remains open and under consideration until more information can be gathered upon which a decision can be based.”

The officers were not wearing body cameras during the incident, but Gill released Department of Public Safety helicopter video which he said was “critical” in analyzing what happened.

According to Gill, Evans was armed with a handgun when he ran away from officers as they tried to arrest him. Gill said while chasing Evans, Vincent fired his gun once but did not hit anyone. As Evans later tried to jump a fence, Gill said, witnesses saw Evans “pull or draw the weapon as though he were going to remove it from his pocket.” That’s when Moore fired six fatal shots at Evans, according to Gill.

In his report, Gill noted that “both Sgt. Vincent and Officer Moore refused to answer question [sic] or explain their apparent decisions to use deadly force.”

West Valley City Police Department issued the following statement Friday:

We have been made aware of the determination made by the Salt Lake County District Attorney regarding an Officer Involved Critical Incident which occurred during an August 2020 United States Marshal Service Task Force Operation. The ruling released today applies specifically to two West Valley City Police Officers who were assisting the Marshal Service in this operation.

We are currently reviewing the decision of the District Attorney’s Office. We are also in the process of an internal review of this incident. We look forward to completing this process in the near future.

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