Category: Woods Cross Police

Black Lives Matter protests Woods Cross Police Department

WOODS CROSS, Utah — Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Woods Cross Police Department Friday evening.

They are demanding answers and change after a Woods Cross officer pulled his gun on a 10-year-old boy who is black.

“I do believe it was a hate crime,” said Lex Scott with Black Lives Matter Utah, the organizer of the protest. “That child was targeted because of his skin color.”

Last week, while searching for shooting suspects, a Woods Cross police officer encountered D.J. Hrubes.

Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe confirmed, the officer commanded D.J. to get on the ground and pulled his gun.

The boy’s mom claimed the gun was pointed at D.J.’s head. Police said the gun may have been pointed at the boy.

As they held signs and shouted chants just feet away from the police station’s front door, protesters demanded accountability for an action they believe should have never happened.

“If the woman coming out of the door screaming, ‘That’s a child,’ was a black woman, I’m convinced D.J. would be dead,” said Josianne Petit, a protester.

The protesters want a full investigation and the officer involved to face discipline.

In a statement, Woods Cross police said their goal is to be transparent.

The department has asked the State to conduct an independent investigation to determine if racial profiling occurred and if the officer should be disciplined or face charges.

Woods Cross hires attorney following police incident

WOODS CROSS, Utah — A recently-hired attorney for Woods Cross City admitted the police officer “made a mistake” when he held a black 10-year-old boy with disabilities at gunpoint.

The admission is an about-face after the Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe insisted the officer did nothing wrong during a press conference Monday.

“Here, the officer ended up making a mistake. But based on the information he had, it seems like a reasonable conclusion at the time,” Heather White said, attorney for Snow, Christensen and Martineau.

White insisted the Woods Cross officer acted in good faith and did not go after DJ Hrubes just because he was black.

“People who know this officer were very surprised to hear that there were any kind of accusations that there was purposeful racial profiling going on,” White said.

White adds that the department is troubled by inconsistencies regarding what happened on Thursday. Several police agencies were looking for an armed suspect after a shooting in Centerville.

“It’s just gotten crazy,” Hrubes’ family attorney Karra Porter said. “This should have been straight forward but the city is the one that has been putting out all of these versions.”

Porter said White offers yet another version: stating Hrubes was walking toward the street when the officer thought he was the suspect. The officer eventually pulled out his gun and ordered the boy with disabilities to the ground.

“We are hearing, I think, version number five or six now and it is something that is just completely contradicted by independent eyewitnesses,” Porter said.

Porter believes the incident and public outrage would all be put to rest if the officer activated his body camera.

Yet, in the heat of the moment, White argues it’s understandable why the officer failed to do so. She said he believed he was about to chase an armed suspect.

Both attorneys told FOX 13 they request an independent investigation to find out the truth.

The Davis County Attorney has been approached by Woods Cross City and Woods Cross Police Department to review the situation.

If he does, Davis County Attorney Troy Rowlings said his office will look for any possible criminal charges against the officer.

Woods Cross Police apologize after officer points gun at young black boy during search for shooting suspects

WOODS CROSS, Utah — Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe apologized Monday for an officer who pointed a gun at a child during a search for two suspects in a shooting.

The officer believed the 10-year-old boy, who is black, was one of the suspects and ordered him to get on the ground. When he determined the child was not a suspect he told the boy and his mother to go inside their home.

DJ Hrubes’ mother demanded answers and the family said they felt the color of DJ’s skin was at issue during the encounter.

Chief Soffe began Monday’s press conference by apologizing to DJ and his family before going through a timeline of events surrounding the incident.

He said while the agency is not legally required to open an investigation when an officer points their weapon at someone, they are nevertheless asking the Davis County Attorney’s Office to conduct an independent review.

Soffe said the officer in question is a veteran of the force who acted in accordance with his training. He said they are not considering terminating the officer.

Fox 13 News will update this story as more details emerge.

Woods Cross Police: officer pointed gun at 10-year-old because he matched suspect description, didn’t comply

WOODS CROSS, Utah — Police gave new information on why a police officer was justified in pulling a gun on a black 10-year-old last week.

Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe began Monday’s press conference by apologizing to the boy and his family before going through a timeline of events surrounding the incident.

The officer in question was assisting another department in the hunt for a pair of suspects on Thursday when he saw D.J. Hrubes, 10, in his grandma’s front yard. Jerri Hrubes, his mother, came out and saw the officer pointing his gun at D.J. and ordering him to get on the ground. She called for action from the department, saying she believed her son was racially profiled.

Soffe said Monday that the two suspects that the department was helping to search for in West Bountiful were black.

A lieutenant in the department said differently the night of the incident.

“We had minimal information at the time,” Lt. Adam Osoro said. “We had one — possibly Hispanic — out on foot, and we knew there was at least one other suspect involved.”

Soffe also shared dispatch logs that showed officers knew the suspects were black before the incident in the Hrubes family’s front yard. This was all about 400 yards from where the suspects were last seeing running from their car, he added.

Soffe said the officer didn’t draw his weapon until after he approached D.J., asked to talk to him and D.J. started running.

The officer followed protocol, Soffe said.

“When there is a violent crime that has taken place,” Soffe said, “for officer safety and public safety of the individuals in the home and surrounding area, we would come out of our car, and if someone doesn’t follow our commands, we would draw our weapon.”

When the officer determined that D.J. was not a suspect,  he told him and his mother to go inside their home.

Soffe said while the agency is not legally required to open an investigation when an officer points their weapon at someone, they are nevertheless asking the Davis County Attorney’s Office to conduct an independent review.

Soffe said the officer in question is a veteran of the force who acted in accordance with his training. He said they are not considering terminating the officer.

Black Lives Matter supports family after Woods Cross officer pulls gun on 10-year-old

WEST BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Black Lives Matter has announced its support for a family, now demanding an investigation, after a police officer drew his weapon on a black 10-year-old while he was playing outside.

“I want an investigation, I want a formal complaint,” Jerri Hrubes said as she stood next to her attorney in a press conference Friday.

Just 24 hours prior, Hrubes was inside of her family’s West Bountiful home when she heard commotion outside.

“I heard and saw with my own eyes D.J. standing on the front lawn playing, with no toys in his hand, nothing in his hand, and an officer had a pistol pointed at his head,” she said.

Her 10-year-old son, D.J., said he was outside running around when the Woods Cross Police officer approached him.

“I was right here,” D.J. said Thursday as he showed Fox 13 where the incident happened. “And he pulled a gun out and I had to do this, and I laid down like this,” he continued as he put his arms behind his head and slowly dropped onto his stomach.

The officer was assisting another agency in a search for two suspects, believed to be armed, who were involved in a shooting incident in Centerville earlier that day.

Fox 13 was unable to reach Woods Cross Police Friday, but in an interview Thursday, they said it was simply a case of “unfortunate mistaken identity.”

“We had minimal information at the time. We had one, possibly Hispanic, out on foot and we knew there was at least one other suspect involved,” Woods Cross Police Lt. Adam Osoro told Fox 13 Thursday. “This kid was just in the area at the wrong time.”

However, the family said if you take a look at this 4-foot 7-inch tall little boy, they believe it’s obvious the incident happened because of the color of his skin.

“Does he look like he’s 30? Does he look like he’s 18? No,” Jerri Hrubes said.

“I don’t know of any other black people in Woods Cross, it felt very racial,” she continued.

Now, in a public cry for answers and an investigation, other groups are supporting the Hrubes family’s concerns.

“Had it been a white child playing on the lawn and the officers were on this manhunt, they would have yelled, ‘Go inside.’ They wouldn’t have drawn their gun on him,” said Josianne Petit with Black Lives Matter.

Petit said the organization wants much more than an investigation.

“Black Lives Matter absolutely wants this officer fired,” Petit said.

“To not have him be fired will not only embolden him, but other officers like him, and next time the outcome could be way worse,” Petit added.

Black Lives Matter said the incident as a whole sends a larger message.

“It doesn’t matter how safe you think your community is, it doesn’t matter who your parents are, a black skinned individual is always going to be a black skinned individual first and so we need to do better,” Petit said.

And while the family waits to see what will happen next, Utah is no longer a place they want to call home.

“As a white mother to a black son, I don’t feel safe in West Bountiful anymore. That changed after yesterday,” Jerri said.

When Fox 13 spoke with Woods Cross Police Thursday, they said they did not have reason to look further into the incident. As mentioned, Fox 13 was unable to get in touch with the agency Friday to see if the family’s call to action would result in an investigation.

Utah mother calls for investigation after police pointed gun at her son

SALT LAKE CITY — A mother is calling for action after a police officer pointed his weapon at her son Thursday afternoon.

During a suspect search in the area, a Woods Cross Police officer pointed his gun at 10-year-old D.J. Hrubes in his grandma’s front yard in West Bountiful and ordered him to get on the ground.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Jerri Hrubes called for an investigation. She wants answers as to why this officer felt it was okay to point his gun at her 10-year-old and, more importantly, she wants to know why nothing is being done.

Woods Cross Police were assisting other agencies in a suspect search in West Bountiful. They were looking for two men, potentially armed, who were involved in a shooting earlier Thursday afternoon.

D.J. was running around and playing on the front lawn when an officer saw him.

Police say the officer believed he was one of the suspects — when D.J. continued to run around, the officer pulled out his weapon.

Woods Cross Police say it was a case of mistaken identity, but Jerri and D.J. Hrubes believe this happened because of the color of his skin.

“I don’t think what transpired yesterday was what a typical10-year-old should or would be faced with from a police officer,” Jerri Hrubes said.

Woods Cross Police deny any wrongdoing.

“We had minimal information at the time. We had one, possibly Hispanic, out on foot, and we knew there was at least one other suspect involved,” Lt. Adam Osoro said Thursday. “This kid was just in the area at the wrong time.”

Police say the officer returned to the family’s house after the search was suspended, which the family confirmed. However, police also claim they have reached out to the family multiple times, but the family says they haven’t been contacted at all.

Police said Thursday that they would not be looking further into how their officer handled the situation.

“In this case, it’s just an officer that’s trying to keep himself safe and the public safe,” Osoro said. “I don’t exactly know what else we can do at this point.”

Fox 13 reached out to but has not heard back from the police department to see if the family’s call to action will actually bring about an investigation.

Mom wants answers after Utah officer points gun at young black boy during search for shooting suspects

WEST BOUNTIFUL, Utah — A Utah mother wants answers after a police officer pointed a gun at her black 10-year-old son during a search for men suspected in a shooting.

Thursday afternoon, 10-year-old DJ Hrubes was playing in the front lawn of the West Bountiful home where his family was staying.

“I was just playing, running,” he said.

The something terrifying happened.

“I was right here,” Hrubes said as he stood on the front lawn. “And he pulled a gun out and I had to do this and I laid down, like this,” he continued as he put his hands above his head and then slowly dropped down onto his stomach.

An officer with Woods Cross Police drew his weapon on the 10-year-old.

“I was so confused with what was going on,” he said.

“I run outside and there’s a police officer with his weapon pointed to my son’s head,” said DJ’s mom, Jerri Hrubes, as she pointed her hands in the shape of a gun.

She was still shaken up by what she saw.

“I really thought they were going to shoot my little boy,” she said welling up with tears before covering her face with her hands.

Police said it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ during what was a volatile search for two potentially armed men. Woods Cross Police were called out to assist other departments as they searched for the suspects who were involved in a Centerville shooting Thursday afternoon.

“We had minimal information at the time, we had one possibly Hispanic out on foot and we knew there was at least one other suspect involved,” said Lt. Adam Osoro. “This kid was just in the area at the wrong time.”

However, the family believes this incident was fueled by the color of DJ Hrubes’ skin.

“I just felt like he pointed the gun at me because of my skin color,” he said.

“I think it was an overzealous cop who just saw somebody who wasn’t white and just jumped to conclusions, why don’t they admit there was some fault there?” Jerri Hrubes said.

Police said the officer returned to the family’s home after the suspect search was suspended and DJ Hrubes gave the officer a hug.

Police also said they have reached out to the family a number of times but have yet to get through.

“In this case, it’s just an officer that’s trying to keep himself safe and the public safe,” Osoro said. “I don’t exactly know what else we can do at this point.”

Jerri Hrubes said she has not been contacted by police and what they have done thus far is not enough.

“They need to be held responsible, I mean he’s a child, you can definitely tell he’s a child,” she said.

Police said they do not have reason to look further into how their officer handled the situation.

Woods Cross Police to try out gun-mounted cameras

WOODS CROSS, Utah – The Woods Cross Police Department is trying out a new camera that would give them a unique view of high-stress situations, including officer-involved shootings.

It’s a camera that mounts on the officer’s gun, and turns on automatically when the officer draws their gun.

They’d be one of the first departments in Utah to implement this new technology, and they said it will help officers and the public.

Right now, all officers are equipped with body cameras.

Officer Jeremy Howey, who keeps his body cam clipped on his uniform front pocket, said he turns it on every time he’s contacting an individual.

“For when I’m talking to individuals, to hopefully capture more of their face and their hands,” he explained.

It works well for the most part, unless he has to draw his gun.

“It basically would only give me a side view of everything,” he said, adding that it’s not always pointed toward the person he’s interacting with or what’s going on in front of him.

Body camera footage released by the Salt Lake City Police Department has demonstrated that issue.

The body cam from an officer-involved shooting in September shows mainly the officer’s arms and gun as he fires.

Footage released from an officer-involved shooting in early April, shows the arms of the officers and, in one case, the side of the officer’s head.

In that incident, only three of 10 Salt Lake City officers had their body cameras activated.

Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe explained that’s because in a stressful situation like that, the officers were likely concentrating on stopping the perpetrator rather than activating body cam.

“I’m totally not faulting them, because they were in a stressful situation,” he said. “But if they had them on their guns, as soon as they pulled them out— they would have that footage.”

That’s part of why he wants to implement gun-mounted cameras in his department.

Chief Soffe’s gun already has one. As he demonstrated the camera on Thursday, he pointed it at a target on the wall. The footage from the gun camera gave a clear view of the target and everything around it.

“You get a better view of either the suspect, or whatever’s in front of the weapon at the time,” he said.

He said if he were wearing a body camera, you’d be seeing his forearm area and not what his gun is pointed at.

The camera system comes with a light and holster, and Chief Soffe indicated that it costs the same as their current department-issued gun light and holster— which is about $500.

The gun camera doesn’t take up much as data storage as body cameras, because Chief Soffe explained it’s only recording when the gun is drawn.

The camera records sound. Chief Soffe said a test at the gun range showed that the video was clear, sound crisp and the camera quickly regains a good picture after the gun is fired.

While the gun camera isn’t meant to be a replacement for body cameras, the chief said it would provide a good supplement in gathering footage of an incident.

“We would continue to use our body cameras,” Chief Soffe said. “This would just give us another angle.”

Right now, he said the plan is to buy the gun cameras for new officers. They just hired an officer who Chief Soffe said will carry the gun-mounted camera.

Chief Soffe is expecting to give a presentation on the cameras to the Woods Cross City Council as they prepare their 2019-2020 budget, in hopes they will set aside money to outfit all officers and detectives in their department with gun cameras in the next year.