SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A pair of new state investigations were launched Tuesday after a report by the Salt Lake Tribune unearth misconduct allegations against Officer Miguel Deras. He is accused of showing explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey to another officer while working with the University of Utah Police Department.
Officer Deras received legal representation through the Fraternal Order of Police from Nelson Jones Attorneys and Councilors at Law after the report ran Sunday.
“Lauren is really the first victim here and we don’t want to lose sight of that. Right? Nobody is happy about that, right? But that does not justify running an officer’s name through the mud when there is no reason too,” said Jeremy Jones with the firm. “We just thought that it was really troubling to see so much misinformation.”
In a press release Jones says the allegations against Officer Deras is “fake news.”
“We understand that the record demonstrates that he never improperly possessed the photos on a device that he shouldn’t have. He was using his personal phone, yes, but that was because there weren’t department-issued phones,” said Jones. “The photos came in through email, and he asked his supervisors how to handle those such that they could properly [be] amended to or added to through the investigatory file or report, and he followed those directives.”
The Utah Department of Public Safety or DPS agreed to investigate the case because of a request from the University of Utah Police Chief Rodney Chatman late Monday.
The Peace Officer Standards and Training Division or POST launched an investigation Tuesday because of recent media reports.
“That is really some significant and unfortunate fallout from this that Officer Deras has had to handle because he was investigated no less than twice already, right? And we have reporting that I believe is inaccurate basically sparking additional investigations,” said Jones.
When asked if the law firm would disclose documents that could clear officer, Jones replied, “I don’t think that is really our place, particularly not at this time.”
DPS tells ABC4 News there are three state investigators committed to this case. The complete and thorough investigation will be turned over to the University of Utah to make the proper decisions.
Once completed the POST investigation is complete, investigators will decide to close the case with no further action or make a recommendation to the POST Council for disciplinary action. If a recommendation is made, it will be considered in one of the POST Council quarterly public meetings in March, June, September, or December.
Jones added, “My expectation is that they will investigate this, determine that no crime was committed, and that will be the end of it.”
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