SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – It has been two years since University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey was shot to death by an ex-boyfriend who she said was extorting her.
On Wednesday evening, a group gathered to protest the decision not to charge the police officer who has been accused of mishandling McCluskey’s extortion case in the lead-up to her murder.
The former campus police officer, Miguel Deras, was accused of inappropriately sharing and bragging about having access to inmate photos that were used to extort McCluskey before her murder at the hands of an ex-boyfriend.
On Wednesday night, a group called Unsafe U protested outside of the District Attorney’s Office because they say Deras should be charged.
Among other findings from an independent investigation in August, Deras allegedly showed the nude photos to officers at the crime scene and outside of a meeting room where inappropriate comments were reportedly made.
“Sim Gill decided that they did not have enough evidence to charge him with — and they couldn’t prove any harm to her because she was dead,” said Rebecca Hardenbrook, a member of Unsafe U who helped organize the demonstration.
“We’re letting Sim Gill know that we were disgusted and disturbed by his decision not to charge Miguel Deras in Lauren McCluskey’s case,” added Hardenbrook.
In a statement, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said:
“I support the First Amendment and those who choose to peacefully exercise free speech. All elected officials, including myself, should be held accountable by the people.
I want to be very clear, the reason that Miguel Deras was not charged was because there is not a law on the books to charge him with. The lack of charges in no way condones the behavior or invalidates the injury to the McCluskey family.
We are working with Representative Andrew Stoddard to create a law where the conduct of Mr. Deras would be illegal. This is to make sure that in the future if there is an incident like this again, there can be criminal accountability.”