SALT LAKE CITY — Just one day after the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah announced it had hired Aaron Kinikini as its new staff attorney, Salt Lake police arrested him after they say he fired a gun at a car in which his children were riding.
The mother of at least three of Kinikini’s children arrived to pick them up at his residence Friday evening. The woman and three children were inside the vehicle when Kinikini “stood behind the vehicle, preventing the victim from leaving,” according to a police booking affidavit.
Kinikini told police that the woman “drove at him at a high rate of speed,” the affidavit states. Police say he then produced a handgun and fired at the vehicle, hitting the “driver side front and rear tires.”
The report does not indicate whether anyone in the vehicle was injured by the gunfire.
Kinikini was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault, three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, unlawful detention, criminal mischief and illegal discharge of a firearm.
Kinikini’s Twitter account says he is a father of five. Court records indicate divorce proceedings occurred in 2014.
Police requested that he be held without bail, saying his release “would constitute a substantial danger to another individual or to the community, or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court if released on bail,” according to the affidavit.
A spokesman for the ACLU of Utah declined to comment Saturday about Kinikini’s arrest.
According to a press release distributed Thursday by the ACLU, Kinikini is a graduate of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, served most recently as the legal director at the Utah Disability Law Center and is an active member of the Utah State Bar.
The news release touts Kinikini’s legal career, noting he had “a proven track record of active and innovative civil rights litigation on behalf of clients of all ages.” The ACLU of Utah wrote that in 2018, the organization worked with the Disability Law Center, then under Kinikini’s legal direction, to reach a positive settlement with the state of Utah to “expand and strengthen legal protections for adults with disabilities involved in guardianship proceedings with their parents.”
The release also includes a quote attributed to Kinikini in which he shared his excitement for joining the organization and working on behalf of the disadvantaged.
“I am honored and excited to be joining this organization as it continues to expand its advocacy work beyond the courthouse and into grassroots organizing and efforts to engage with, support and empower communities of color, the unsheltered, the incarcerated, and all Utahns whose legal and human rights are at risk,” Kinikini said.