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Mayor Forms Committee to Examine Police Actions

Mayor Forms Committee to Examine Police Actions

Posted - Mar. 17, 2003 at 2:15 p.m.



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Jill Atwood reportingThe big focus for this committee is to find out why so much time and energy was spent on Richard Ricci, when the focus should have been on Brian Mitchell. The mayor stopped short of calling this a witch hunt against lead investigator Don Bell, saying it's simply a search for answers.

Inappropriate leaks to the press, too much attention on Richard Ricci, and not enough attention on the man that turned out to be Elizabeth's alleged captor. The mayor wants to know where the leaks came from and why detectives didn't hone in on Brian Mitchell sooner.

Mayor Rocky Anderson: "NONE OF US KNOW EVERTTHING THAT HAS BEEN DONE. THIS IS SIMPLY GOOD OCCASION TO GET EVERYTHING LAID OUT ON THE TABLE, DAYLIGHT SHED, INCLUDING POLICE INVESTIGATORS."

The mayor is also interested in four past murder cases, three of which have not been solved. He's hoping the committee can also get some answers for those victims' families.

A coincidence -- or not -- one detective, Sgt. Don Bell, was invovled in all four cases. The Mayor denies he has a bullseye on Sgt. Bell's forehead.

Mayor Rocky Anderson: "SOMEBODY ASKED IF HE WAS INVOLVED IN BOTH OF THOSE INVESTIGATIONS AND I SAID YES. NOBODY IS SINGLING ANYBODY OUT HERE. WE'RE SIMPLY CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING THESE QUESTIONS ANSWERED."

"WE JUST WANT ALL THE CARDS LAID ON THE TABLE."

Salt Lake Police Department spokesman Dwayne Baird says it does increase the pressure on the department as they prepare their case. But the department does plan to cooperate because, in his chief's words, they have nothing to hide.

Dwayne Baird/Salt Lake City Police Department: "WE STAY FOCUSED IN WHAT WE DO. WE'RE VERY PROFESSIONAL IN WHAT WE DO, AND THE CHIEF IS STANDING BEHIND HIS INVESTIGATORS AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE IN THIS CASE. WE WILL CONTINIUE TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THIS CASE AS BEST WE CAN."

Five people have agreed to serve on the Independent Commission:

  1. John T. Nielsen, former Public Safety Commissioner
  2. Michael Goldsmith, BYU Law Professsor
  3. Richard Burbidge, Attorney
  4. Carol Clawson, former Solicitor General
  5. David Roth, mediator, former judge There will be no answers, and the commission will make no recommendation or comment, until Mitchell and Barzee have been tried in a court of law.

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