SALT LAKE CITY (WR) — A gaggle of College of Utah cops made inappropriate feedback about specific pictures of a pupil who had submitted the images as proof in an extortion case shortly earlier than her taking pictures demise, an investigation discovered Wednesday.
Utah’s Division of Public Security opened an investigation after the Salt Lake Tribune unearthed allegations that an officer had proven off the photographs of 21-year-old observe athlete Lauren McCluskey earlier than her 2018 slaying.
Her taking pictures demise by the hands of a person she had briefly dated has roiled the establishment and raised severe questions on the way it dealt with her repeated stories that the person was harassing her earlier than her demise, together with extorting her with the photographs she had despatched him once they had been concerned.
College officers have acknowledged errors and made modifications to insurance policies and procedures. However they maintained that there’s no proof her demise may have been prevented.
An lawyer for Officer Miguel Deras has beforehand denied bragging concerning the pictures. He did present them throughout a routine briefing, however solely to ask how they need to be dealt with and saved and didn’t make inappropriate feedback, his lawyer Jeremy Jones stated.
“From my consumer’s recollection, he by no means participated in that. He confirmed the pictures in briefing, he didn’t ‘smoke and joke’ concerning the pictures at any time,” he stated.
The probe discovered no proof Deras inappropriately downloaded or electronically transferred the pictures. He now works for an additional division within the metropolis of Logan, Utah. Officers there couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
College of Utah police Chief Rodney Chatman, who’s new to the function, didn’t title Deras particularly however stated he’s disillusioned within the “small group” of officers who commented concerning the photos across the time of a shift-change briefing, and those that didn’t report the feedback.
“It’s inexcusable for any regulation enforcement officer to debate pictures or data offered by a sufferer exterior of clear and legit regulation enforcement causes,” he stated. Chatman stated he would pursue motion in opposition to particular person officers, however he stated the precise self-discipline will probably be confidential.
McCluskey’s dad and mom, Jill and Matt, criticized the college for being dishonest and failing to take accountability for his or her daughter’s demise.
“We now name for the College of Utah to redo its incomplete and disingenuous investigation and for an impartial evaluation of the info surrounding Lauren’s homicide and the College’s failure to answer her pleas for assist,” the dad and mom stated in a press release.
McCluskey had contacted college police greater than 20 occasions earlier than her demise to report harassment by a person she had dated, Melvin Shawn Rowland.
Her household says in a lawsuit that these stories weren’t taken severely by campus police, who ought to have rapidly found he was a registered intercourse offender on parole who had been mendacity to her about his title, age and historical past. As an alternative, he fatally shot her with a borrowed gun on campus and later killed himself.