DA counters police chief's call for 'review' with criminal investigation if case submitted

Woods Cross Police Department and the Davis County Attorney's Office at odds when comes to investigating an officer's conduct. (Photo: KUTV)

There appears to be a miscommunication between the Woods Cross Police Department and the Davis County Attorney's Office when it comes to investigating an officer's conduct.

Woods Cross Chief Chad Soffe told 2News on Friday that he would "review" accusations that an officer pointed a gun at a 10-year-old boy.

On Thursday, D.J. Hrubes was outside in West Bountiful, as police looked for two armed suspects. A Woods Cross sergeant drove by and, according to Chief Soffe, saw the boy running.

The sergeant got out of his car, gave an initial command to the boy — which police said was not followed — then the officer pointed a gun at D.J. and ordered him to get on the ground, which he did.

Some, including the boy's mother, say they believe race was a factor in the incident. The boy is black and the officer is white. The boy's mother says her son has disabilities – both mentally delayed and sight disabilities.

The Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings offered clarification Tuesday saying his office does not do "reviews."

He added in an email to 2News Reporter Cristina Flores:

If the incident is transmitted to us by Woods Cross City, we will treat it as other cases submitted to our office for a prosecutorial determination (either file criminal charges or decline as the evidence allows).
When a case is presented, we are not bound by what the requesting law enforcement agency has done (or not done). We will investigate as we determine necessary to make an appropriate criminal screening decision. More information / evidence is better than less. We want to learn and understand everything there is to know from all sources available. If additional investigation needs to be done to make a decisions, it will be.

Woods Cross City was informed Tuesday morning that if it does send the exchange between the office and the boy to the DA, it will be a criminal investigation into the officer's conduct and not a review.

"If a crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury, the officer will be charged. If it cannot be so proven, the officer will not be charged," Rawlings stated in his email.

Other entities that may also look into the officer's conduct includes Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) though there is no indication that will take place at this point in time.

But as of now, the DA has not had the case submitted to his office to make an initial assessment concerning what needs to be done. However, Soffe told 2News in a previous interview that, "We have nothing to hide."

Karra Porter, Salt Lake City attorney helping the Hrubes family, says she's not so sure the department isn't hiding something. She supplied a witness account of events that contradicts the chain-of-events presented by Woods Cross Police.

Porter's witness stated:

About 12:55 PM on June 6, 2019, I was riding in the front passenger seat of a car with three friends. We had shortly before finished work and were driving to get drinks at a convenience store. We were at the intersection of 400 N. and 800 W. in West Bountiful when a number of police cars, speeding and with sirens going, passed by. Once all the police cars passed, my friend asked to be taken home, so we turned and headed west on 400 North. While we were heading west on 400 North in West Bountiful, a police officer, with sirens on, came behind us. We pulled over to the side of the road to allow the police car to pass. Once the car passed, we continued heading west very slowly for a few yards when I looked back to my left and saw a young black boy walking in his front yard. He appeared to be walking toward his front door. He was calm, was not running, and nothing looked out of the ordinary. At that moment, I saw an officer quickly get out of a police car parked in front of the yard where the boy was walking. I told my friend driving to stop. He stopped and we were about 20 yards away from the parked police car. Upon exiting the car, the officer immediately called out to the boy who immediately turned toward the officer and put his hands in the air. The officer had his gun drawn and pointed at the boy. The gun was at the officer’s chest level. The boy’s hands were shaking. His body was shaking. He appeared very, very nervous. There was nothing in his hands. After standing with his hands in the air, trembling, for a moment, he immediately went to the ground. It was as if he threw himself to the ground, face down. The officer walked toward the face-down boy, gun drawn and pointed at the boy. As he approached the boy, a lady came out of the house and began saying something to the officer. She herself seemed very nervous and panicked. The officer stopped. He did not continue toward the boy. He then lowered the gun and appeared to move toward his car. At that point, we drove away.

2News Reporter Cristina Flores is following this story and will have a full report at 5 p.m.

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