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Rally planned for anniversary of fatal police shooting

Published October 29, 2013 5:48 pm

Danielle Willard, 21, was shot and killed by a WVC officer in 2012.
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On the one-year anniversary of her daughter's death, the mother of a 21-year-old shot and killed by West Valley City police during an alleged drug bust will attend a candlelight vigil and rally outside the city's police department.

Melissa Kennedy — whose daughter Danielle Willard was shot and killed Nov. 2, 2012 — will be outside the West Valley City Police Department, 3600 S. Constitution Blvd. (2700 West), from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Kennedy, who lives in Washington, plans to speak briefly at 5:30 p.m.

The gathering has been dubbed a "rally against police violence" by organizers.

Nearly a year after Willard was killed, the investigation into the fatal shooting is ongoing. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined West Valley City Detective Kevin Salmon and former Detective Shaun Cowley were not justified in using deadly force against Willard, but he has not determined whether the pair will face criminal charges for their actions.

Cowley, who was found to have fired the fatal shot, has since been fired from the force for unrelated reasons, but is appealing that decision. Salmon remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of Gill's investigation.

The two officers were members of the now-disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit, which faced intense scrutiny after the shooting and after allegations of mishandling evidence, misconduct and other corruption charges surfaced.

An internal affairs investigation found the officers had improperly taken change from suspects and used it to buy the unit items, like food and water. It also found one officer had used a GPS device without a warrant. The same investigation found the most serious corruption charges were unwarranted.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Twitter @sltribjanelle