The Salt Lake County GRAMA Appeals Board has upheld the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s decision to continue to withhold from the public body camera footage and other media relevant to the February 2016 shooting of Abdi Mohammed, despite requests made by the ACLU of Utah under the Government Records Access & Management Act.
“While we appreciate the time and attention the Board members dedicated to this matter, we respectfully disagree with their conclusion,” said cooperating attorney David Reymann of Parr Brown Gee & Loveless. “This information should be made public; we will appeal this decision.”
Abdi Mohamed, an 18-year-old community member who relocated to Utah from Somalia with his family, was shot multiple times by Salt Lake City police officers on February 27, 2016, in the downtown Rio Grande neighborhood. He was in a coma for several weeks and is currently confined to a wheelchair due to his injuries.
The ACLU of Utah legal team appeared before the Salt Lake County GRAMA Appeals Board on October 18. The ACLU of Utah filed its original GRAMA request in May. In response, the County released some information about the incident, but excluded footage from police body cameras, as well as several still photographs and surveillance camera footage from the scene of the incident.
“The public has a right to know what happened in a critical incident like this one,” said Leah Farrell, ACLU of Utah staff attorney. “The important transparency function of law enforcement body cameras is undermined when government officials withhold footage in the face of overwhelming public interest.”