Saturday, October 16, 2021

Mesa County deputy bodycam video shows ‘lynching’ of woman

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The Minneapolis cop who was slammed to the ground by Utah police said he was instructed by his superiors to stop the woman allegedly involved in her son’s death after they suspected she had a hit list.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Smith was recorded slamming a white woman, Kelsie Petito, and her fiance, Scott Haney, to the ground and onto the hood of their car while trying to pull them over.

Footage from Smith’s bodycam shows the couple’s car following the officer into a gas station parking lot and another driver identifying the duo. Petito later described the situation as a “lynching.”

Mesa County, Utah, Sheriff’s Office

Smith was in the process of being booked when he was finally given an order from his superiors, according to a bodycam recording obtained by CNN.

“All right officer, you’re instructed to stop her,” the supervisor could be heard saying.

“OK, go ahead and start with her,” Smith replied.

The audio recording includes multiple commands from the lieutenant and other deputies.

NBC News was unable to reach Smith’s supervisor for comment.

Many social media users raised the alarm about whether the officers violated the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Black Lives Matter protests against police actions toward African-Americans.

Mesa County, Utah, Sheriff’s Office

In 2015, Petito’s 20-year-old son, Cody Lee Haney, and his girlfriend, Emily Mance, 22, were shot and killed by deputies after a standoff. Mesa County police said at the time that Haney had a loaded gun and fired at them.

Smith’s bodycam recording has since been removed from the department’s internet site.

“It is ludicrous that investigators would first accuse this black woman of taking out a hit list,” activist Algernon Austin wrote on Facebook.

– Lindsay Conner, Stacy Doan, Gregory Wallace, Joe Sutton and Gregory Wallace-Dollisson, CNN

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