Newly released bodycam footage has revealed the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Chase Allan by police officers during a traffic stop in a Salt Lake City suburb.
Allan was pulled over by police in Farmington on March 1 after an officer spotted his illegal license plate.
Farmington police have not described the illegitimate plate that prompted the initial officer to pull Allan over, and it was not clearly visible in the body camera video released Wednesday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
As an officer approached the driver-side window, Allan, who was holding a cell phone, cracked the window open.
The officer informed Allan that he was being stopped because there was no registration on his vehicle, to which Allan responded, “I don’t need registration, and I don’t answer questions.”
Realizing the situation could become difficult, the officer called for backup and tried to obtain identification from Allan, who refused to cooperate.
The officer informed Allan that he was “detained and not free to leave” and calmly offered to discuss the laws he was violating after obtaining identification documents.
Allan argued that he did not legally have to hand over identification, but the officer responded, “You do not have an option to identify yourself. You are lawfully required to identify yourself.”
As assisting officers arrived on the scene, the first officer asked Allan to step out of the vehicle.
Allan warned the officers that they would “have an issue” if they continued to try and force him from his car.
As Allan moved his phone from his right hand to his left, officers noticed a holster on his hip.
As the officers tried to physically remove Allan from his vehicle, he reached for his gun, at which point an officer repeatedly yelled, “gun!” The five responding officers then opened fire on the vehicle. After they removed Allan from the car, a gun was seen lying on the floor of the car by the front seat.
Allan was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
In the news conference Wednesday, Chief Johnsen said it remains unclear if Allan ever fired his weapon. It also is unclear if Allan ever reached for his weapon, Johnsen said. The footage does not clearly show Allan brandishing it, but in a clip released Wednesday, the officer who had been leaning over Allan before police gunfire erupted can later be heard saying Allan was “able to get [his weapon] out,” which prompted the officer to “jump out” from Allan’s vehicle just before officers opened fire. Johnson acknowledged Wednesday that while Allan appears to reach toward his holster in the footage, he may have been reaching for his seat belt. The police shooting remains under investigation by the Davis County “critical incident task force” team, Johnsen said. That team will likely review any footage Allan may have recorded on his cellphone, the chief added, noting that if Allen did record anything, Johnsen had not personally reviewed it. None of the officers who opened fire on Allan were injured. All remain on administrative leave as the investigation continues. In a statement released last week, Allan’s family questioned the police account that the traffic stop was routine. They alleged, without citing the source of their information, that the officer who pulled Allan over “requested multiple other officers to the scene a couple blocks prior to the stop.” The footage released Wednesday does not show the initial officer calling for backup until he had already stopped Allan and approached his vehicle. Johnsen referred to the family’s claim Wednesday as “absolutely untrue.” ... But news footage from the scene that day shows Allan’s car bore a placard that included a known “sovereign citizen” symbol — part of a flag, with blue stars and red-and-white stripes — along with the words “Utah, American State Citizen” and “Notice, Private Automobile Not For Hire.” It is unclear whether the officer who initially pulled Allan over recognized the symbol on the placard. It also is unclear whether Allan considered himself specifically part of the “sovereign citizen” movement, but the placard put a spotlight on the loose network of extremists who reject government and law enforcement. The FBI considers sovereign citizens a domestic terrorist movement, and notes that followers regularly put false license plates on vehicles. Allan’s family, who have accused police of his “brutal murder,” said in their statement last week that Allan had been “studying law the last few years and was a patriot doing what he could to defend the people’s freedom and liberty in his community.” It did not name the sovereign citizen movement. At least one officer at the shooting scene March 1 seemed to believe Allan may have been associated with the movement, the footage released Wednesday indicates. Shortly after the shooting unfolded, the officer can be heard surmising to someone, “He was a sovereign citizen, we think, type deal.”