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‘Did As They Were Trained’: Salt Lake City Cops Who Stood By, Played on Phone While Black Man Bled to Death in Elevator Cleared of Any Wrongdoing

After over two years of hoping and waiting that a Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board would offer justice for a stabbing victim allowed to bleed out for minutes under the eyes of police officers, a family is left with more heartbreak.

The board concluded “no determination is possible” against the officers who were accused of withholding vital aid that could have prevented the death of Ryan Outlaw, who died in November 2020.

What Am I Supposed to Do?': Salt Lake City Officers Stand By and Watch Stabbing Victim Bleed Because They Didn?t Want an Elevator Door to Close. The Father of Four Dies.
Ryan Outlaw, second from left, is pictured with his four sons. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/ Fox 25)

For eight minutes Salt Lake City officers Ian Anderson and Jadah Brown stood by and watched as Outlaw lost blood in a building elevator. Outlaw had already been waiting for more than 20 minutes after he’d been stabbed before the police arrived on the scene.

Related: ‘What Am I Supposed to Do?’: Salt Lake City Officers Stand By and Watch Stabbing Victim Bleed Because They Didn’t Want an Elevator Door to Close. The Father of Four Dies.

Instead of utilizing their medical training, body-camera footage shows one of the Salt Lake officers scrolling through social media and playing games on his cellphone moments after refusing to provide first aid to Outlaw, who was slowly dying in front of him.

At one point, officers tell him to crawl out of the elevator, but they never once moved to try to stop his bleeding.

The woman who stabbed Outlaw in a domestic squabble was present and can be heard asking the officers, “You’re not doing anything about it.”

“What am I supposed to do? We have medical coming,” Officer Anderson snapped at the woman.

The Salt Lake City Police Department did an internal investigation, and even with the video evidence of the cops doing nothing, investigators cleared them of wrongdoing, according to local station Fox 13.

Before the investigation was complete, officials like Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Chief Mike Brown threw their support behind the officers, commending them on following proper departmental policy and procedure.

“Our officers, we believe, did as they were trained,” the mayor previously said.

The chief would tell reporters, “I stand by these officers and what they did that day. I think they did a great job.”

The chief spoke to the press about the officers, but SLCPD never notified Outlaw’s family to let them know the results of the internal affairs investigation clearing the officers.

The SLC Civilian Review Board, a panel appointed by the mayor, conducted an investigation also. Like the department, the board was unable to pin fault on the two officers. It reviewed evidence like the body camera video, interviews, and written reports and still came to a ruling of “no determination is possible” due to “insufficient evidence.”

Not everyone believes that the officers should not be held accountable.

Anonymous law enforcement sources tipped the local news channel about the incident in 2020.

A few officers who spoke to Fox 13 under a promise of anonymity after hearing the remarks of the higher-ups said they did not agree with the chief’s assessment of the case. These officers say, according to the news outlet, they would have rendered first aid to Outlaw. However, they could not express that publicly, fearing someone in the department would retaliate against them.

Rae Duckworth, the operating chairperson for Black Lives Matter Utah, has been supporting the family and fighting for justice for Outlaw. But even she is discouraged, saying the decisions law enforcement and officials are making prove things will not change.

“We knew from the moment (Chief Brown and Mayor Mendenhall) patted their officers on the back that there was not going to be justice for Ryan Outlaw,” Duckworth told the station. “I saw a disregard for human life bleeding out. That’s what I saw.”

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