‘Tell my mom I love her’: Graphic body camera video shows police officer shooting 13-year-old boy with autism

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Salt Lake City Police Department released body camera video of an officer shooting a 13- year old boy with autism on Monday afternoon, an incident that Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown called “a tragedy”.

It was Friday night, September 4, when 13-year-old Linden Cameron’s mother called 911 to report that he was having a mental health crisis. Neighbors reported a person screaming in the middle of the street.

The video shows officers chasing Cameron on foot before catching up to him on a sidewalk.
“Get on the ground, get on the ground,” an officer is heard shouting. “On the ground now. On the ground.”

Then he fires a series of ten shots in rapid succession.

“I don’t feel good,” Cameron can be heard saying. “Tell my mom I love her.”

Cameron was wounded in his shoulder, ankles, and stomach and was taken to Primary Children’s Hospital. 

On Monday, Chief Brown and Mayor Mendenhall both referenced their own sons while speaking about the incident.

“As a member of this community and as the mother of a 14-year old boy, I am profoundly heartbroken and I am frustrated,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “This shooting is another tragedy. It’s a tragedy for this young boy, for his mother, and for families and individuals who have acute mental health needs. I think the community will look at this situation and they will see themselves or their loved ones reflected in it.”

“A 13-year old boy was shot and as a father of three sons, this has had an impact on me personally,” Chief Brown said. “I know that this has made an impression on the women and men of the Salt Lake City Police Department and of course you, the community we serve. I believe in the face of tragedy, we have a responsibility to analyze the circumstances that unfolded through a lens of learning.”

The shooting is being investigated by a critical incident protocol team, a civilian review board, and the SLCPD’s own internal affairs department.

See all of the video clips released by the SLCPD:

The SLCPD also released an accompanying “OICI Fact Sheet” with the videos. It reads:

“The Salt Lake City Police Department is committed to continually evaluating and analyzing how we operate. In the past, we have held a press conference to show a portion of the body-worn camera footage from an officer-involved critical incident while releasing a longer version of that footage to those who filed a GRAMA request. Going forward we will follow the model we are establishing today. We will publicly release the footage of the incident without showing smaller portions. The footage will be accompanied by a document that provides the information available to us and able to be released to the public at this time.

“In the interest of transparency, the Salt Lake City Police Department is releasing body-worn camera footage of this officer-involved critical incident. The footage being released shows the entire incident from the three officers who initially responded to the call as well as a fourth officer who responded. The videos being released are all of the videos in SLCPD’s possession that captured the moments leading up to and including the shooting. The footage begins when their cameras were activated and is stopped just prior to the juvenile’s identity being revealed in order to protect the juvenile’s privacy interests.”

Two 911 calls from the juvenile’s mother and the audio recording of the radio traffic are also being released.

There are moments in the video and audio recordings where the audio is muted. With respect to the body cameras worn by the officers, there is a moment where the audio is muted by all three officers on-scene while they have a discussion with each other. The body cameras were un-muted after that discussion. This occurs approximately 11 minutes and 25 seconds into their videos.  All other audio on the body cameras was captured, but portions of it were redacted for this release to protect the privacy interests of the juvenile. Additionally, portions of the 911 calls that implicate the juvenile’s privacy interests were also redacted.

 DISPATCHED DETAILS:

The information provided in this section was given to a SLC911 call taker by the boy’s mother that night. The information contained is only that which was available to the officers on that night.

SLC911 received a call from a mother indicating her 13-year-old son was having a mental health issue and may be violent. She requested a crisis intervention officer and indicated her son had recently had a high-speed chase with police. That night, he threatened to break out every window in the house and had possibly threatened to shoot one of her employees.

The mother did not believe her son had any access to weapons but was not sure. She told dispatch her son had a shootout with police in Lyon county, but they had done nothing about it. She told the call taker one of her employees was also shown a BB or pellet gun by her son. The mother provided information that her son does not like law enforcement, partially due to the shooting of a family member by sheriff’s deputies in Lyon county. She was waiting for officers up the street from their residence.

CONTACT WITH COMPLAINANT:

Officers arrived on the scene and contacted the mother to obtain details in person. The mother provided more details regarding her son and what occurred tonight. She indicated her son has issues with law enforcement and can have issues when he sees uniforms, however, she believed the police are the only people she can call.

The mother noted that on September 4, she was away working, and her son became upset when she did not answer his calls from his phone. She indicated her son had threatened to break things in the house.

The officer speaking with her asked if there were any weapons in the house. The mother indicated her co-worker, who was with her earlier in the evening, told her the son had shown him a gun, however she did not think it was real. The officer told the mother they have to treat all guns as if they’re real and the mother said “right, I know”.

The mother told officers she wanted her son to go to the hospital to deal with the mental health issues he was experiencing. She told officers her son was particularly upset today as she had been with one of her male co-workers. The son made threats he was going to “shoot expletive” referring to the male co-worker.

The mother again advised officers her son does not like law enforcement, and it could trigger her son.

At this point, the officers muted the audio on their cameras to consult with each other (See Utah Code § 77-7a-104(9)(a)).

After their conversation, the officers un-muted their cameras and advised the mother they were going to the house to speak with the juvenile and requested she remains at her vehicle for her safety.

OFFICER ACTIONS:

Just prior to approaching the residence the three responding officers requested assistance from additional officers and asked for the additional officer to stage east of the house.

The three officers who were initially dispatched to the call then went to the residence. Two officers went to the front door of the residence, while the third officer remained in the driveway.

As two officers knocked on the front door, the officer who remained in the driveway yelled at someone who was in the backyard. That officer gave chase to the individual, and the two officers who were at the door followed.

The person who fled from the house jumped the back fence, which slowed officers down. The officer from the driveway, as well as one officer from the front door, attempted to go over the fence, while the third officer went to the front of the house. The juvenile initially ran east but encountered one of the additional officers who had staged to the east. The juvenile turned and began to run west back towards the residence as this additional officer gave chase. Eventually, the two officers at the fence broke through and began to chase the boy to the west. They continued down the alley to the west until the boy exited north on Navajo St.

Shortly after, the boy stopped running and was ordered to the ground several times by the officer who was initially in the driveway. A second officer twice told the boy to “pull your hands out”. The officer who was initially in the driveway discharged his weapon striking the boy.

The officers approached the boy, handcuffed him, and began rendering medical aid. In order to protect the privacy interests of the juvenile, the videos being released are stopped prior to aid being rendered.

The officers continued rendering aid until medical professionals arrived and took over. The boy was transported to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

 OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION:

The mother made two separate 911 calls in this case. The first call led to the initial response by officers. The second call came after officers had spoken with the mother and were walking to the house. The mother wanted to advise officers to go to the back door as she was concerned her son would run. This information was put into the dispatch log approximately one minute prior to officers indicating the son was running from them. The request to go to the back door was never broadcast by the dispatcher, so the three initial officers were unaware of this request.

 All new Salt Lake City Police officers attend the Salt Lake City Police Department CIT academy. This is a 40-hour course of instruction that covers mental health issues and its relation to police work. Topics include an overview of mental health conditions, medications, treatments, procedures, and community resources. Instructors are selected from community partners, who work in their respective fields. Site visits and interactions with those who experience mental health issues help build officers’ understanding and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome by utilizing available resources. The training concludes with scenarios built from real interactions that help officers contextualize and apply the training.”

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