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Documents show shooting victim's parents intend to sue West Valley police

By Andrew Wittenberg | Posted - Apr 25th, 2013 @ 10:02pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — The fallout in West Valley City continued Thursday as the police department released new documents related to the corruption case involving its narcotics unit. One of those documents warns of a potentially costly legal fight.

Danielle Willard was shot and killed by West Valley City police officers on November 2, 2012 during a narcotics investigation. Court papers obtained by KSL News show that her family intends to file a lawsuit against the police department.

In the one-page statement filed by both of Willard's parents, they say quote, "West Valley City Police Department has still not released the name of the officer or officers who shot and killed Danielle, or provided any explanation for the death of this young woman."

Willard's death sparked an internal investigation into the neighborhood narcotics unit, in which evidence of corrupt police work was found by the city. Since then, nearly 100 criminal cases have been dropped and a federal investigation is ongoing.

West Valley Police Sgt. Shaun Cowley was one of two officers placed on paid administrative leave directly related to the Willard shooting. In response to another KSL News open records request, Cowley's personnel file was released. It indicates he's had only two minor infractions in the past five years.

Requests for interviews by Cowley's attorney went unanswered Thursday night.

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