DA says deadly officer-involved shooting of Salt Lake City rapper was justified

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said no criminal charges will be filed against the officers involved in the deadly police encounter with 30-year-old Cody Paris Belgard.

Belgard, a rap artist who performed under the name “See Smoke”, was shot by Salt Lake City Police officers on Friday Nov. 9.

Gill said that night, officers were tracking down a Kia Spectra involved in prior chases with police.

They said when they spotted the spectra, Belgard was inside making “furtive movements” as though he had a gun in his waistband. When Belgard took control of the vehicle, officers commanded him to show them his hands, Gill said.

Body cam video shows Belgard refusing to leave the vehicle and not complying with police commands to show his hands. Belgard pulls out and rams a police SUV. 

Watch>>>

From there Gill said officers followed him to Sir Phillip Drive and demanded he gets on the ground and shows his hands. They say he still had his hands by his waistband and drew an object officers believed was a gun and pointed it at them. 

Gill said Friday the officers’ were reacting to his movement and therefore they reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary to prevent death to another person.

“They saw what the perceived to be a gun…I think that’s a valid concern. I absolutely get that,” Gill said.

There was a woman inside the car when the incident started. She got out of the vehicle before Belgard took off.  Gill said she had broken up with Belgard weeks before and was trying to get the Spectra back from him at the time.

She told officials that he believed that he had serious warrants our for his arrest and was afraid to go to jail. She reportedly told her if he were stopped by police, he would “act as though he had a gun”.

During the incident, she is seen on body cam yelling at officers that he does not have a gun but was just acting as he did.

Marvin Oliveros, Belgard’s brother, said he believes his brother was murdered.

“[He] did not deserve to die. This stuff needs to change and there are more people responsible who have the authority to do things,” Oliveros told ABC4’s Andrew Reeser.

#BREAKING: Family of #CodyBelgard days @SimGillDA has ruled the shooting as justified as officers had reasonable belief that Belgard was pointing a gun at them Nov. 9. Family and demonstrators emotional. pic.twitter.com/EEYKcRMmLm— Andrew Reeser (@andrewreeser) May 24, 2019

Protestors gathered at district attorney’s office chanting “justice for Cody” and wearing body bags with the names of people recently killed in officer-involved shootings in Salt Lake City. 

You can watch the full press conference here:

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