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SALT LAKE CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah submitted an open records request Thursday seeking the release of body camera footage from an officer-involved shooting that injured a Salt Lake teen earlier this year.
Police and prosecutors are responsible for making available as-yet-unreleased footage of Salt Lake police officers' encounter with 17-year-old Abdi Mohamed on Feb. 27, the ACLU says. Salt Lake police have said two officers shot Mohamed near The Road Home on Rio Grande Street after he advanced on a man with a metal broom or mop handle and ignored verbal orders to stop.
“For body cameras to work in service of (transparency and accountability), agencies must be swift and consistent in releasing footage, especially in high-profile situations like this one, where the community demand for information has been very strong,” Leah Farrell, an ACLU of Utah attorney, said in a statement.
Mohamed and another person were beating a man moments before he disobeyed officers' orders and was shot, according to Salt Lake police. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office is investigating the shooting.
A large number of protesters have questioned the police account of the encounter, called the shooting unjustified and demanded changes to Salt Lake City's Civilian Review Board, which examines police shootings.
The ACLU submitted the request, jointly with the Parr Brown Gee & Loveless law firm, to both the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. Under Utah law, footage of the shooting "does not fall within any … exceptions" of the state's Government Records Access and Management Act, the ACLU said in a statement.
“The public has a right to know what happened in a critical incident like this one,” attorney David Reymann said in a statement.
The ACLU also criticized police for so far not releasing the names of the officers involved.
KSL has also submitted an open records request asking for body camera footage from the shooting.
Mohamed, a refugee who moved to the state from Kenya 11 years ago, was critically hurt in the shooting but survived his injuries.