Photos: University of Utah students protest how Lauren McCluskey’s case was handled by campus police

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Students protest on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. They are calling for action against Officer Miguel Deras and the defunding of the University of Utah Police Department.

A group of University of Utah students protested Thursday evening outside the campus police department, saying officers there seriously mishandled student-athlete Lauren McCluskey’s case before she was killed.

The rally came after a new report concluded that Officer Miguel Deras, who was assigned to look at McCluskey’s concerns of extortion, showed off the compromising photos she had taken to at least three of his co-workers.

That display occurred outside of a work context, according to the findings from the Utah Department of Public Safety, and included one officer saying that Deras commented that he could look at the pictures “whenever he wants.” Another sergeant said Deras showed him the images at the scene of McCluskey’s murder on Oct. 22, 2018.

Deras’ attorneys have since denied that anything was done inappropriately. But students said he should be held accountable and fired from the department where he currently works in Logan.

On Thursday, they held signs that said, “U. failed Lauren” and “Justice for Lauren.” They also plastered the outside walls of the police department’s building with flyers that read, “We don’t trust U.” And they called for the campus police force to be defunded.

About 20 people participated in the protest, largely members of the student group Unsafe U., as well as two of McCluskey’s former track teammates.