Police video of fatal encounter shows lack of escalation mitigation

A 911 caller in Salt Lake City said the man broke into the brewery in his underwear and ran around the streets trying to steal the beer, posing a danger to himself and the driver. Police tried to detain the man. Shortly after, Nikon Brandon passed away.

After the Salt Lake City Police Department released body camera footage and 911 records of the August 14 fatality late Friday, activists on Saturday asked why the unarmed man died, accusing police of unfair treatment. accused of using force.

Black Lives Matter-Utah founder Rex Scott said, “Stealing beer is not the same as the death penalty. I wouldn’t mind if this guy did 10 bank robberies in one day.” He didn’t deserve to die, he deserved to stand in court.”

Brandon’s death, aged 35, is a reminder that the United States is still witnessing countless police killings of unarmed people, many of whom suffered mental health crises. Activists are calling for reform, saying a better solution is a special mental health crisis team to respond to, rather than the armed police, which often escalate the situation.

According to Brandon’s Facebook page, he attended the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and worked for a company that sold appliances, plumbing and hardware. Many people who posted on his page expressed their shock and sadness at his death.

The 911 caller said a man came to Fisher Brewing, attacked people at the door, and was “running around like crazy. Very unstable. He jumped into and out of the road.” “

“It’s definitely a mental health issue,” said the caller. “So if you have mental health resources, send them.”

Instead, body camera footage shows a police officer getting out of his patrol car and ordering Brandon to stop. As Brandon lies face down on the gravel floor between the road and sidewalk and continues to push against the officers, one of the officers repeatedly says “Stop”.

Despite an executive order signed two years ago by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall that requires all officers in the Salt Lake City Police Department to use anti-escalation, the police’s attempts to de-escalate have continued. , was neither seen nor heard in the footage from the nine body-worn cameras. Techniques of escalation before exerting force.

“De-escalation mitigation tactics are no longer suggested or favored. Unless it is unwarranted, they are coerced before using force to make arrests. We will employ effective communication techniques,” Mendenhall said in announcing the police reform.

Before Brandon set foot in Fisher Brewing, he was taken to a detox facility by the South Salt Lake Police Department after receiving reports of a confused and frightened man in the park just after 1:00 p.m. on August 14. was going KUTV reported.

Officers determined he was intoxicated, took him to a detoxification facility, and summoned him on suspicion of public intoxication. However, the facility is not a detention center and patients can leave at will, he reported, KUTV.

Salt Lake City police officers encountered Brandon at 3:22 p.m. In the video, we don’t hear him speaking during the struggle with the cops.

A minute later, the third officer arrived. The video shows Brandon grabbing an officer’s holster and a gun. They finally manage to cuff Brandon’s hands behind his back as he lies on his gravel belly.

“We want to help you,” says the officer. “You must stop fighting us.”

After a few seconds, Brandon stops moving. A policeman taps Brandon on the shoulder with his gloved hand and asks, “Can you hear me?” 3 times. Brandon does not respond.

“Let him recover,” commands the officer, while the others roll Brandon to his side.

“Come on,” says the policeman. At that point, all camera footage released by police goes black.

Salt Lake City Police said in a press release that officers began providing medical assistance at 3:27 p.m.

“At 4:16 p.m., the SLCPD was notified that Mr. Brandon had died. The exact time of death is unknown,” the news release said.

The police department said a thorough investigation was being conducted by an outside agency and that the department’s internal affairs department would conduct a separate investigation.

Rae Duckworth, executive director of the Utah chapter of Black Lives Matter, wants to know why the released footage doesn’t show police officers trying to help Brandon.

“There is no evidence that they actually gave aid. There is no evidence that they actually administered Narcan,” Duckworth said. “So that’s probably the biggest red flag I’ve seen and the point.”