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DA stands by ruling in Danielle Willard case

By Becky Bruce and Carole Mikita | Posted - Aug 12th, 2013 @ 9:25pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — In spite of calls to oust him from office, Salt Lake County's District Attorney says he's not worried about his political future.

The calls are more fallout from the District Attorney Sim Gill's ruling that the fatal shooting of Danielle Willard by West Valley Police Department officers last November was not justified.

Attorneys for the officers and others in law enforcement criticized the findings but the disagreements have now gone beyond Gill's professional role.

In Monday's Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake County Republican Chairman Chad Bennion called Gill's record 'weak,' suggesting the D.A.'s upbringing in India, where Gill has discussed witnessing injustices, may be tainting his current performance.

"I'm very proud of being an Indian, but I'm even more proud of being an American citizen," Gill told KSL. "As an American citizen, I don't have to defend my citizenship or my ethnicity or my culture."

Bennion said in an interview with KSL that Gill has often talked of police brutality in India influencing his career, and Bennion feels Gill is dismissing too many cases.

Gill said he stands by his record as a public prosecutor and his decision in the Willard investigation. He said politics should never enter into this because he serves all citizens of Salt Lake County.

The attorney for one of the two detectives involved in the shooting said last week he would like to see someone challenge Gill in 2014.

Speaking to KSL's Doug Wright Monday, Gill said he did not think the ruling his office issued will play a part in that election.

"I think they expect us to be objective, to be transparent, to be open with this office, to recognize that we're not going to shy away from the difficult decisions," Gill told Doug Wright.

Gill didn't actually say if he plans to run for re-election, but stood by the job he's done so far.

"Look, the good citizens of Salt Lake County elected me," Gill said. "The good citizens of Salt Lake County will tell me whether they don't want my services anymore."

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