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5 Farmington police officers legally justified in March killing of motorist

Allan refuses to answer the officer’s questions in the video and claims he doesn’t need registration for his vehicle. At that point, backup officers are called

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Body camera video from a fatal police shooting on Mach 1 in Farmington. The Davis County Attorney’s Office has concluded Farmington police officers were legally justified in shooting an armed man during a traffic stop.

Farmington Police Department

Five Farmington police officers were legally justified when they shot and killed an armed man after he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation, the Davis County Attorney's Office has concluded.

In a letter sent to Farmington Police Chief Eric Johnsen, dated July 28, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings says he will not be filing criminal charges against Sgt. Taylor Jacobson and officers Eric Gonnuscio, Justin Boucher, Kyle Carey and Harrison Chen in the shooting death of 25-year-old Chase Allan.

"It is the unanimous view of all prosecutors in our office who participated in screening this case for criminal charges against the above named (law enforcement officers) that they acted within the scope of (Utah law). The evidence is persuasive. There is no reasonable probability of conviction. The officers had a reasonable, articulable and objectively verifiable belief that use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others," Rawlings states in his letter.

On March 1, Allan was pulled over in a parking lot at 145 E. State Street for having an illegal license plate. Police say the plate is the type used by people who claim to be "sovereign" citizens, but the plate is not legitimate in any state.

In body camera video released in March, Boucher approaches Allan's car. Allan keeps his window mostly rolled up as he speaks to the officer and Johnsen said Allan immediately asserted "his right to not obey the laws of the land."

Allan refuses to answer the officer's questions in the video and claims he doesn't need registration for his vehicle. At that point, backup officers are called. After Allan continues to be uncooperative with police, they attempt to pull him out of his car.

In the videos, as one officer opens the driver's side door and another officer reaches into the car, an officer immediately and excitedly yells, "Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun!" After 15 to 19 shots are fired, one officer can be heard yelling, "Cease fire!"

Since the high profile shooting, Rawlings states in his letter that his office has received "some aggressive input from persons concerned about this case," notably from those who believe the officers should be prosecuted.

However, Rawlings said it is important to note that Allan was not shot because of an illegal license plate.

"They fired in self-defense because deadly force was in the process of being engaged against them," his letter states. "The law does not require a person get shot, or even shot at, before returning fire."

Rawlings says the requirements of the justification defense law "were clearly present in this case."

"The deceased refused to step out of the car indicating by word, deed and demeanor that he would not comply. The deceased attempted to withdraw a loaded firearm on the assembled officers, actually succeeding in getting it out of the holster he was carrying it in," his letter says.

Rawlings adds, there are ways for people to challenge laws that they do not believe are constitutional. But those issues are handled in a courtroom, "not with a gun in a parking lot."