New bodycam footage shows SLCPD officers restrain man in gravel before his death

The department was notified that the man died less than an hour after the confrontation, but his exact time of death is unknown, according to a news release.

(Screenshot via Salt Lake City Police Department body camera footage) A Salt Lake City officer attempts to stop Nykon Brandon, 35, on Aug. 14, 2022. A 911 call reported Brandon had attempted to run into a Salt Lake City brewery and steal beer. Less than an hour after his arrest, police were notified that Brandon had died.

Salt Lake City police restrained a man facedown in gravel alongside a Granary District sidewalk for at least two minutes before he died less than an hour later, body camera footage released Friday shows.

Officers were initially called to a report of an attempted theft and disturbance near Fisher Brewing on Aug. 14 at about 3:16 p.m, according to a news release. In emergency call audio also released by the department, the caller reported that a man wearing only socks and underwear had tried to run inside the brewery and steal beer.

The caller told dispatchers the man seemed to be having a mental health crisis and requested mental health resources be sent to the scene. The man was later identified as 35-year-old Nykon Brandon.

Brandon had fought off customers who tried to stop him, the caller reported, then began running in and out of traffic near 365 West 700 South. Footage shows an officer pulling up to the scene at about 3:22 p.m., then chasing the man to a sidewalk while yelling for him to stop.

The restraint

In the footage, Brandon tries to fight off the officer and grab his weapon as another officer tackles Brandon to the ground near a curb. The two officers then attempt to restrain the man in a gravel area alongside the curb near the sidewalk.

“I’m gonna ‘Tase’ you,” one officer says, referring to a stun gun, as he pins his upper body down onto Brandon’s shoulders. “Do you wanna get ‘Tased’?”

Footage shows Brandon groaning and panting as the officers attempt to place handcuffs on him. It also shows Brandon again trying to grab an officer’s gun.

Brandon then continues to thrash while being pinned against the gravel, and an officer repeatedly tells him to stop. As another officer arrives, they attempt to handcuff Brandon, and they order him to put his hands behind his back, the footage shows. Brandon groans incoherently in response.

At 3:24 p.m., another officer arrives, and officers have three hands holding Brandon’s neck and head down in the gravel. At this point, four officers are holding the man down, the footage shows — one near his head and neck, one pinning his back to the ground, and two at his legs.

The officers then move their hands to Brandon’s back and the side of his head, attempting to restrain his hands behind his back. He continues to try to get up; an officer holds the back of Brandon’s neck down in the gravel with both hands for about 10 seconds until the handcuffs are secured, the footage shows.

Three officers continue to pin Brandon to the ground, keeping his face pressed into the gravel as he groans periodically. Brandon tries to move out of their grip, and officers tell him to stop and relax.

“We can sit you up if you stop,” one officer says at 3:26 p.m.

“Gotta be cooperative though man, we want to help you,” another officer says. “You gotta stop fighting with us.”

As Brandon pants heavier, one officer tells him to relax and take some breaths, asking him, “You gonna be cool?”

Subject appears to lose consciousness

At about 3:27 p.m. Brandon groans, and another officer pats him on the shoulder, asking if Brandon can hear him. He repeats himself twice while tapping Brandon’s shoulder to no response, so officers roll him on his back.

Footage shows scratches down one of Brandon’s arms as officers turn him over, and he appears unconscious.

“Is he alive?” it sounds like an officer asks. The footage ends as officers begin to administer medical aid, according to a news release from the department.

Police then administered the “first of multiple doses” of Narcan, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, at 3:28 p.m. and begin CPR, according to the release.

Brandon was then taken by ambulance to a hospital at an unspecified time. At 4:16 p.m., Salt Lake City police were notified that Brandon had died, but his exact time of death is unknown, the release states.

An outside agency is conducting an investigation into Brandon’s death, in accordance with the Salt Lake City Police Department’s officer-involved critical incident protocol. The department’s Internal Affairs unit also is conducting a separate investigation.

“We are committed to carefully reviewing the investigative findings in this case,” Police Chief Mike Brown said in a statement. “As a forward-thinking department, we will use those findings to evaluate our policies, training, and procedures to continue ensuring we are making our city safer.”

As of Friday, it remains unclear if a medical examiner has determined Brandon’s cause and manner of death. Neither was mentioned in the police news release.

Earlier this month, SLCPD released body camera footage of another altercation with a subject who later died. Meghan Joyce Mohn, 40, was detained after she allegedly attempted to gain access to a secure area at a Salt Lake City refinery. Mohn died in a hospital days after being restrained by police.

On July 28, the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner ruled Mohn’s death a homicide, stating that she died of an “anoxic brain injury” due to “cardiac arrest” from “probable methamphetamine intoxication in the setting of an altercation involving physical restraint.”