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AM News Brief: West Valley City settles fatal force suit, Jackson’s historic gold & Sen. Lee pokes Colorado

Sen. Mike Lee official photo, 3x2 crop
US Senate
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Monday, Feb. 14, 2022

Northern Utah

City settles fatal force lawsuit against police officer

West Valley City has settled a lawsuit filed by the family of a 31-year-old, Michael Breinholt, who police shot and killed while he was handcuffed inside the police station. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Breinholt's mother Susan Neese filed the lawsuit in September. She said her son was unnecessarily killed and that officers “threatened and antagonized” him before Sgt. Tyler Longman shot him. West Valley City and Neese’s attorney confirmed Friday the lawsuit had been dismissed and was settled. The city refused to say how much money it agreed to pay to Neese. — Associated Press

Henderson criticizes lawmakers for unnecessary voting rules

Utah Lt. Gov. Deirdre Henderson is concerned lawmakers are impeding Utahns’ right to vote and that the government shouldn’t enact arbitrary rules about voting. The Salt Lake Tribune reported she made the comments Thursday night at a Spanish Fork town hall she held to promote voter confidence. Henderson answered questions and defended Utah’s election system. She said mail-in ballots are safe and secure and that a 2019 audit concluded Utah has a robust system to prevent fraud. — Bethany Rodgers, Salt Lake Tribune

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

Southern Utah

DSU joins program to prevent police misconduct

Dixie State University Police recently received Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement certification — a training aimed at preventing misconduct from officers by using peer intervention. The ABLE Project started after the 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of police. Over 200 agencies are part of it nationwide and DSU is the first in Utah to be certified. Police Chief Blair Barfuss said it will help officers do their job better and in turn, better serve the community. To be certified, community groups had to sign a letter of support. The Multicultural and Inclusion Center and Black Student Union at DSU gave their approval. Barfuss said he’s working with other agencies across the state to make them ABLE certified. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

State

SLC resident snags historic speed-skating gold

Erin Jackson of Salt Lake City won gold in the 500-meter speed skating race on Sunday. The 29-year-old is the first Black woman ever to win an individual speed skating medal at the Olympics and the first American woman to win the 500-meter race since 1994. Jackson began inline skating when she was 10 years old and moved from Florida to Salt Lake City to train in 2016. — Leah Treidler

Region/Nation

Sen. Lee makes no friends in Colorado with Amache opposition move

Utah Sen. Mike Lee faces backlash from Japanese Americans and conservation groups after blocking a proposal to create a national historic site at a former internment camp in rural Colorado. Lee was the lone voice of dissent in the senate to the designation for Camp Amache. His opposition came on the eve of the 80th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt's executive order creating the internment camps, and it's outraged Japanese Americans and other groups who say the bill will mark one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history. Lee and bill co-sponsor Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado say they'll talk about resolving the dispute. — Associated Press

Report confirms tribal jail guard negligence 

A damning new report showed guards at tribal jails overseen by the federal government routinely falsified documents, lied to investigators and ignored pleas for help from sick or dying inmates. The Mountain West News Bureau obtained a leaked copy. Lawmakers are calling for an inquiry. The Interior Department hired a former administrator to produce that report. It reviews in-custody deaths — seven of which happened under his watch. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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