Advocates demand answers after video appears to show police officers punching man having a mental health episode

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Members of the mental health group Advocates Gone Rogue are taking steps to retrieve police video showing an incident in Murray.

It’s after parts of a :28 cellphone video sent to ABC4 aired in our 10 p.m. broadcast on October 8th.

Three officers are seen in the footage trying to apprehend a man having a mental health episode near 5400 South on October 6th around 9 p.m.

Two officers in dark uniforms appear to punch the man. Once to take him down, then multiple times as he appears to be lying on his back.

“When I watch the video, it to me plainly looks like the officer is punching him in the face,” exclaims Venis Weaver, a Certified Peer Specialist and member of Advocates Gone Rogue.

“After being tased, after being jumped on, after being punched in the face while he’s slammed to the ground, of course, it’s going to look like he’s resisting,” said Ginger Phillips, a Mental Health Advocate. “Who wouldn’t?”

ABC4 first spoke to Phillips for our original report. She later reached out to ABC4 to inform us her group is taking further action to receive a copy of the police video of the incident as well as see what type of mental health training the departments have.

When ABC4 began pursuing this report on October 8th, Unified Police said the situation began unfolding when its officer saw a man walking in traffic and tried to get him to safety.

Sgt. Melody Cutler of U.P.D. says the officer was unsuccessful after multiple attempts as well as tasing the man twice.

“The officer was asking for other units to arrive before he tried to engage the male, but as he kept trying to get hit the officer decided he had to do something or he’s going to get hit by a car,” said Sgt. Cutler.

U.P.D. has confirmed its officer, who declined an interview with ABC4, is the one wearing khaki pants in the video, and that Murray Police arrived to assist with this call.

“We have a GRAMA request right now that was mailed a couple of days ago to U.P.D.,” said Phillips.

Unified tells ABC4 it doesn’t have body camera footage of this incident, and on Friday, Murray Police declined an interview.

“They should have the cameras in the cars, and that’s what we were wondering,” said Phillips.

Initially, ABC4 made calls to Murray Police to retrieve police body camera footage.

On Friday, we were told we needed to make an official GRAMA request for it.

We have. We’re now waiting to hear back.

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