No Justice, No Peace: Another Police Shooting in Utah

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Shots rang out. Again. Killer cops from Utah. This time in Roy. A small, tight knit community witnessed the Weber Metro SWAT team respond to a desperate call. A suicidal man, reaching out for help via a suicide prevention hotline, was shot to death this week in what the was being coined by the police as a “suicide by cop”.

Jose Calzada, 35 of Roy, died at 11:15 a.m. of numerous gunshot wounds after 6 hours of “attempted negotiations.” It is apparent that at no time did any officer or SWAT negotiator involve any mental health professional as they apparently “followed protocol”.

Is “following protocol” now the “norm” in Utah? Dozens of people, innocent young men and women such as Danielle Willard, Darrien Hunt and Matthew Stewart have been gunned down by law enforcement agencies throughout Utah and protests are showing growing community support for these victims, their families and loved ones.

The latest rally to be held was held just one day after this tragedy, just last evening. In support of the “National Day Against Police Brutality” where approximately 2150 people lined the sidewalks and streets in front of the Public Safety Building, home of the Salt Lake City Police Department. The rally cry, “No Justice, No Peace, No Killer Police”, along with red t-shirts and signs, accompanied angry Utah citizens from throughout the state.

Ironically, the same evening as the shooting, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank attended the City Council meeting, where supporters of “Justice for Geist” (a dog who was shot and killed in his own backyard by a Salt Lake City Police Officer 2 months ago) where he laughed several times during the heated meeting, appearing callous and almost narcissistic, according to several reports.

Burbank has made promises of improved police training and the city offered a small amount to Geist’s guardian Sean Kendall but has not disciplined the responsible officer, Detective Olsen. Sean promptly turned it down, stating, “I understand that an apology can be viewed as an admittance of guilt so I don’t think I will ever get an apology from Detective Olsen or from Chief Burbank.”

One has to question why the sudden increase in needless deaths and what law enforcement intends to do about it. Utah citizens are SCARED. Scared to walk down the street with headphones on. Scared of being pulled over. Scared of parking their cars or leaving their dogs in their own yards. Utah citizens are scared and with very good reason.

Even more devastating news came this week when we learned that Danielle Willard’s killer, Shaun “The Cowardly Cop” Cowley was not bound over for trial and will not receive any further discipline.

Danielle’s mother vows to fight on. Melissa Kennedy will continue, with the help of family, friends and support of Danielle, to hold Cowley and the West Valley Police Department responsible, although, sadly, there is no replacement for her precious daughter.

Another step, aside from the rallies and Facebook posts, that Utah citizens can take for these victims will be by electing a new Attorney General. Sim Gill, incumbent, has only found one of these murders “justifiable” (Danielle’s) and Shaun Cowley will never see another day in jail. Electing a candidate other than Gill, such as Andrew McCullough (who is also pro whole plant cannabis reform among other great ideas) and this writer encourages all Utahns to vote. Early or by November 4th – voting is one way to be heard, loud and CLEAR.

Apparently there is no such thing as JUSTICE in Utah, but voting and speaking out, through peaceful protests, supporting the families and friends of these victims, are all we can offer.

For previous coverage of Utah-related issued here at Ladybud, click here.

Photo Credit: Signaleer under public domain via Wikimedia Commons