Man shot by West Valley police charged with assaulting them

Body camera footage shows the suspect threatening officers with a crowbar.

(West Valley City Police) This still image from body camera footage shows a man approaching police with a crowbar in West Valley City, May 10, 2021.

A man who was shot by West Valley City police has been charged with assaulting the officers he allegedly threatened with a crowbar.

Denny James Clark, 25, whose gunshot wound was not life-threatening, was charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of assault against a peace officer, second-degree felonies; aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; and vehicle burglary and criminal mischief, class A misdemeanors.

According to the charges, at about 1:30 a.m. on May 10 a woman who lives near 4800 South and Huntington Street was awakened by her barking dog and looked out the window to see a man, later identified as Clark, take a crowbar from the bed of a truck parked in her driveway. She told police she yelled at the man to “Get out of here or I’ll call the cops!”

The woman ran to the front door and saw Clark shatter the window with the crowbar, then strike and kick the door repeatedly, cracking it.

On Thursday, West Valley City police released body camera footage from officers that shows Clark approached the officers carrying the crowbar. When he was ordered to drop the crowbar, Clark replied, “Nope, let me get these car keys or someone’s getting it.” He then said, “Alright, here I come,” as he raised the crowbar over his head with both hands and ran toward one of the WVCPD officers.

Two of the three officers pointed Tasers at Clark and again ordered him to drop the crowbar. According to the charges — and as seen in the body camera footage — Clark said “Nope” and continued to advance. One of the officers fired his Taser, but it had “no effect” on Clark, who “sprinted after” one of the officers. The other two officers chased Clark, who “suddenly turned and came at them with the crowbar still above his head with both hands.”

At that point, one of the officers fired five shots at Clark, who fell to the ground and was “immediately taken into custody.”

Clark was treated for his wound and is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has not ruled on whether the shooting was justified. The officer is on paid leave while the shooting is investigated.