Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Shaun Cowley stands during a break and chats with supporters before the room was cleared in executive session during his appeal before the West Valley City Employment Commission Wednesday April 23. Cowley was fired over shooting and killing Danielle Willard and mishandling evidence.
Job hearing reset for West Valley City cop who shot Danielle Willard
Job action » Commission will hear appeal starting May 8.
First Published Apr 23 2014 07:35 am • Last Updated Apr 23 2014 10:35 pm

West Valley City • The hearing to determine whether the police officer who shot and killed Danielle Willard can have his job back was postponed again Wednesday, and the fired officer’s attorneys were admonished for showing a "lack of respect" to the panel weighing the matter.

West Valley City’s Civil Service Commissioner Bill Leach said the three-member panel nearly dismissed Shaun Cowley’s appeal, but instead decided to reschedule the hearing. All sides have until May 8 to review the evidence. The hearing is likely to be scheduled for five days this summer.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Leach said Cowley’s attorneys "showed a lack of respect" for the commission and the witnesses who planned to testify.

"But in the end, the commission feels Mr. Cowley deserves the time of this hearing," Leach explained.

At issue was the evidence Cowley’s lawyers planned to present. The attorneys, Lindsay Jarvis and Keith Stoney, provided their exhibits to city attorneys about noon Tuesday. The exhibits amounted to a 6-inch-thick binder. West Valley City attorney Martha Stonebrook told the commission she had not had time to review it and would need days to do so.

Jarvis and Stoney also provided what Stonebrook described as only vague descriptions of the evidence they would present. In one example cited by Leach, a batch of evidence was labeled as documents originating with former West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen.

Jarvis countered that the city knows what the evidence is because most of the evidence originated with it. The city has been slow to provide the documents Cowley requested, Jarvis said.

Jarvis also was concerned the commission had not yet ruled on the other West Valley City officer to appeal punishment for the scandal that has enveloped the police department. John Coyle was the lieutenant in charge of the Neighborhood Narcotics Unit before his demotion to a rank-and-file officer.

Jarvis said a ruling in the Coyle case would be important to Cowley.

"The transcripts will show John Coyle was an absentee supervisor," Jarvis said. "He did nothing to supervise the people in his unit."


story continues below
story continues below

Jarvis plans to argue her client drew a disproportionate punishment for a narcotics unit and police department rife with problems. One of Jarvis’ planned witnesses is to testify that, according to motions filed with the commission, a city officer extorted her once and robbed her another time. The witness also is to testify a second officer returned the stolen money after the FBI began investigating the department.

It’s the third time Cowley’s hearing has been postponed.

Melissa Kennedy, Willard’s mother, spoke to reporters after Wednesday’s proceeding.

"I’m pissed," Kennedy stated. She traveled to Utah from Washington state to attend the hearing.

"I wanted to make sure Cowley doesn’t get his job back," Kennedy said. "That’s not too [unreasonable] is it?"

Cowley was not fired for killing Willard. The city has said Cowley mishandled evidence and was insubordinate. Yet Willard’s supporters have latched onto Cowley’s case and the other problems at the West Valley City Police Department.

Kennedy sat in a seat four rows behind the city’s attorneys. Her attorney and about 10 supporters, some wearing or holding red T-shirts reading "JUSTICE FOR DANIELLE WILLARD," sat around her.

On the other side of the City Council Chambers sat a row of nine people wearing orange ribbons. They appeared to back Cowley, who wore an orange necktie as he sat next to his two attorneys and their assistant.

At least two uniform-clad city police officers stood in the rear of the chambers at all times, apparently to provide security. There were no incidents between the opposing sides.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.