Utah Police Chief Defends Officer’s Decision to Draw Gun On 10-Year-Old Black Boy Who Was Playing In His Yard
Officer Mike Daugherty walked away after DJ Hrubes' white mother came out to ask why a gun was being pointed at her son.
Utah Police Chief Chad Soffe is upholding an officer’s call to pull a gun on 10-year-old DJ Hrubes during a search for armed suspects last Thursday.
Hrubes, who is Black, developmentally disabled and visually impaired, was playing in his grandmother’s yard in Woods Cross, Utah on Thursday, when the white police officer approached him. Officer Mike Daugherty drew his firearm and ordered the boy to get down on the ground. According to Jerri Hrubes, DJ’s mother, who is white, confronted the officer and asked why he was pointing the gun at her son. While he returned to his vehicle and drove off without any explanation. While he later returned to apologize, Hrubes said the experience made her question her family’s safety in the area, USA Today reported.
In an interview with KTSU Fox 13, the 10-year-old said: “I was just playing, running.”
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KUTV CBS 2 reported that following the incident, DJ’s mother took to Facebook, where she identified the officer in a post and wrote, “I believe it’s because my child is BLACK!!!!”
During a press conference on Monday following the incident, Soffe said that following a shooting in the area, authorities received tips that the suspects were Black, Hispanic or Polynesian. The Woods Cross police chief said the officer did not overstep the department’s policies or protocol, and will remain on duty.
Soffe offered an apology to the Hrubes family and said that the police department requested the David County Attorney’s Office to perform an independent review of the incident. However, the office refuted the police chief’s statement, stating that it does not conduct reviews and no case has been formally submitted.
Organizers in Utah are calling for more action. Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Tri-State Conference for Idaho, Nevada and Utah, said an independent investigation is needed.
“Any time that you pull a gun, it could easily go off. We’ve seen that happen before,” Williams told the Deseret News.
African Americans make up only 1.4% of the Utah’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Black Lives Matter Utah organizers are insisting for the officer to be fired.
“They have yet to tell the same story twice,” BLM Utah organizer Josianne Petit said.
Lex Scott, founder of BLM Utah told CBS News: “That fact that this police officer still has a job, and they’ve defended his actions, sends a message that any officer can go out, aim a gun at a 10-year-old kid, and that’s OK. And that’s not OK to do.”