U.S. Marshals: Salt Lake County DA assertions on shooting case misleading

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – After the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office said that the shooting of Brian Fillion a 41-year-old parole fugitive on Feb 13, 2020, was justified, the U.S. Marshals office is saying that some of the assertions made by the District Attorney’s office were misleading.

In a press release sent to ABC4, the Marshals office said they were allowed to view the investigation findings but made “no mention they had concerns with the Department of Justice’s Body-Worn Camera (BWC) policy, nor were we provided an opportunity to clarify (DOJ’s) BWC policy.

The release states: “Instead, DA Sim Gill reserved his comments for the public with what appears to be for political gain. The DA’s office also promised to provide an advance copy of the press release to the USMS, and they neglected to do so. Moreover, the USMS found several false statements in Gill’s public comments, which we will address here. We will (1) correct the false statements Gill made publicly regarding the activities of USMS VFAST, (2) provide clarity on the Department of Justice (DOJ) policy regarding the use of BWC, and (3) repudiate errors and comments”

Body-cameras are currently prohibited on the U.S. Marshals task forces like the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (VFAST). But in Utah, there is a pilot program for the use of body-cameras but the agreement only applies to Salt Lake City PD and is in a pilot phase.

The Statement from the U.S. Marshals offices says:

“Brian Filion Shooting: Brian Filion brandished a stolen Kimber .45 handgun but was unable to fire on K-9 Hondo and VFAST members because it appears, he hit the magazine release as he brandished the weapon. This caused the loaded magazine to fall to the ground. Filion had one additional loaded magazine in his pockets. The round that ultimately hit Hondo went through Filion’s body, through Hondo’s chest and back into Filion’s hip. This was not a stray bullet as represented in some press articles. We want to publicly correct these comments.

Damien Evans Shooting: Damien Evans, a crip gang member, and former federal inmate was wanted for violating conditions of his parole. Evans has an extensive criminal history to include assault on officers, drug distribution, weapons violations, escape, and multiple parole violations. USMS surveillance confirmed in days before the shooting that Evans and associates were in possession of multiple weapons, including rifles. At the scene, witnesses made statements that Evans brandished a gun and was firing at officers while attempting to flee on foot.

Evans wasn’t just simply not living at his residence of record as aspiring representative John Jackson represented to reporter Pat Reavy. The state of Utah and the Department of Corrections (DOC) have a responsibility to the public to keep track of violent offenders on probation or parole while they are being given the opportunity to serve out their sentences in society and hold them accountable when they violate. When requested, VFAST assists state officials in locating and arresting these individuals when a warrant for their arrest has been issued.”

“It’s unfortunate that during a critical time when we as law enforcement officers need to come together, we have a divisive District Attorney who it appears is trying to cause a wedge to harm federal and local partnerships.

Mr. Gill continues to have opportunities to help ease these fires; instead, he brings his gas can to an already explosive environment. Despite the noise, we will continue to help state and local agencies keep their cities safe from murderers, violent felons, and child predators.” said US Marshal Matthew D. Harris.

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