In Salt Lake City, a 911 caller reported that a man had entered a brewery in his underwear, tried to steal beer, and was now running around in the street, endangering both himself and oncoming traffic. The man was being detained by police. Niykon Brandon passed away quickly. Activists questioned why an unarmed person died and accused officers of using excessive force on Saturday after the Salt Lake City Police Department on Friday released body-camera footage and the 911 tape of the deadly incident on August 14. Black Lives Matter-Utah founder Lex Scott remarked, “Stealing a drink does not equal the death penalty.”
“I don’t give a damn if he robbed ten banks in one day. He didn’t merit passing away. He was entitled to appear in court. Brandon, who was 35 years old, passed away at a time when there are still countless instances of police shootings of unarmed persons in the United States, many of whom were going through a mental health crisis. Activists have asked for improvements, arguing that specific mental health crisis teams would be a better response option than armed police, who frequently aggravate situations.
According to Brandon’s Facebook page, he worked for a company that offers plumbing, appliances, and hardware while attending Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many of the commenters on his page expressed their sorrow and grief at his passing. A man had allegedly entered Fisher Brewing, attacked a customer at the door, and was “running around wild,” according to the 911 caller. extreme erratic He simply hopped into and out of traffic.
The caller declared, “Definitely mental health issues.” So, if you have mental health resources, please send them. Instead, a policeman can be seen ordering Brandon to halt on bodycam video as he exits his patrol vehicle. Another cop shoves Brandon to the ground as the two officers attempt to restrain him as he pushes back, raises a fist, and looks to go for the officer’s holstered gun. As Brandon continues to push against the officers while on a gravel bed that separates the road from the sidewalk, one of the officers repeatedly yells, “Stop.”
Although an executive order signed by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall two years ago requires all Salt Lake City Police Department officers to use de-escalation techniques before using force, no de-escalation attempts by the police are visible or audible in the footage from nine body-worn cameras. In announcing the police reforms, Mendenhall stated that de-escalation techniques “are no longer suggested or preferred — they are mandatory prior to use force to effect an arrest unless it would be unreasonable to do so.
” The reforms were brought about in part by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020. Regarding the incident on August 14, a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Police Department, Brent Weisberg, said: “As the body-worn camera video indicates, this is a situation that rapidly escalated. Our officers had to act quickly to bring a volatile situation under control because of the chaos that existed. Before Brandon entered Fisher Brewing, South Salt Lake Police had taken him to a detox center after receiving a report of a guy appearing bewildered and afraid in a park just after 1 p.m. on August 14, according to KUTV.
He was taken to the institution after officers concluded he was intoxicated and issued a citation for public intoxication. According to KUTV, the institution is not a detention facility, thus patients are free to leave whenever they like. At 3:22 PM, members of the Salt Lake City Police Department came across Brandon. Except for perhaps a few muddled phrases, he is not seen speaking in the videos as he battles with the officers. A third officer shows up within a minute.
Brandon can be seen on video grabbing his gun and holster. Brandon is ultimately cuffed with his hands behind his back while lying belly down on the gravel. An officer says, “We want to assist you. “You need to quit arguing with us,” I said. After some time, Brandon comes to a complete stop. Brandon receives three “Can you hear me?” inquiries from a police officer who touches him on the shoulder while wearing gloves. Brandon doesn’t say anything. An officer orders, “Get him in recovery,” as the others turn Brandon onto his side. “Come on man,” yells the police.
At that point, all of the police-released videos from security cameras turn black. In a news statement, Salt Lake City Police stated that at 3:27 pm, officers started providing emergency treatment. They began giving chest compressions and giving the first of several Narcan dosages a minute later. “Mr. Brandon’s death is reported to the SLCPD at 4:16 p.m. The news statement stated that the precise time of death was unknown. The police department announced that a thorough investigation was being carried out by an outside organization and that a separate inquiry would be carried out by the department’s internal affairs branch.
Rae Duckworth, the operational chairwoman for the Black Lives Matter chapters in Utah, is curious as to why the cops’ attempts to assist Brandon are not shown in the footage that has been made public. “We don’t even have evidence that they actually provided aid. We don’t have evidence that they actually gave out Narcan,” said Duckworth. According to Weisberg, the police spokesperson, no video of the resuscitation procedures was made public out of respect for Brandon’s family.
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