I am writing in support of Sim Gill’s decision to prosecute Shaun Cowley. While citizens should respect law enforcement, this respect does not come for free. The police force must respect our individual rights and the mandates of our state and federal constitutions.
Respect for law enforcement will diminish when officers overstep their authority. We all fund the police force through our tax revenue. Therefore, they work for us, the citizenry. Their job should be to protect and serve; not harass and kill.
There are boundaries in place in our constitutional system. The police officer’s job is not to test where those boundaries are, but to respect them and give them wide berth. The best-case endgame for Cowley’s unfortunate interaction was a low-level drug bust. The worst-case scenario? Well, we are living in that scenario. Had Ms. Willard survived, we all know she would have been prosecuted for a lowly drug crime. However, when cowboy justice causes an untimely death and the decision is made to prosecute, we are screaming controversy.
People of all professions in this country must learn that there are consequences for their actions. The police are not the law; they enforce the law; they are subordinate to the law. Utah’s citizens should ask themselves: "Will I be shot tomorrow?"
Salt Lake City
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