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Cottonwood Heights City Council Discusses Police Response To Weekend Rally

Cottonwood Heights City Council work session
Emily Means/ KUER
The Cottonwood Heights mayor, city council, police chief and other staff held a work session over Zoom Tuesday to discuss city police’s response to a protest over the weekend.";

During the Cottonwood Heights city council’s work session Tuesday night, Councilmember Tali Bruce requested the city adopt a policy that mirrors one recently announced in Salt Lake City, where officers will be disciplined if they don’t turn on their body cams. 

“That’s something really simple we could implement immediately, policy-wise,” Bruce said. “Because if we fail to capture that information or that interaction, it’s lost forever.”

Bruce posted videos on Facebook Sunday night that showed police pepper spraying and detaining people during a protest in a Cottonwood Heights residential neighborhood.

The event was in part to remember Zane James, who was shot and killed by a Cottonwood Heights police officer in 2018. The officer didn’t provide a statement for the investigation, and there’s no bodycam footage of the incident. 

Cottonwood Heights Police Lt. Dan Bartlett said as police clashed with protesters over the weekend, a number of officers had their cams ripped off. 

“We’re securing them the best way that we can,” Bartlett said. “They’re secured to their uniform, but it’s an external piece of equipment, and they can be pulled off.”

City Attorney Shane Topham also said they likely wouldn’t be releasing footage from the body cams any time soon, as they could be used as evidence in upcoming criminal investigations. But Bruce suggested dropping all charges against protesters, until the investigations are complete.

Mayor Michael Peterson said this is just the beginning of the conversation surrounding police reform in Cottonwood Heights. He said they also plan to address civilian review boards, drug testing and hiring, among other issues.

Emily Means covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @Em_Means13

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