Cop Who Showed Off Nude Photos Of Murder Victim Faces No Charges

 

Former Salt Lake City Police Officer Miguel Deras shared explicit photos of a 21-year-old murder victim with his friends just before she was killed by her stalker in 2018. The victim, Lauren McCluskey, was a student at the University of Utah, and she went to the police numerous times about her stalker, but they did nothing to help, which is typical in stalking cases.

Earlier this week, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office announced that Deras will not be facing any criminal charges for his actions, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said that while Deras was “definitely reckless,” he technically didn’t break any laws.

“We realized there was no real statute we could use for this case. We’re incensed like everyone else by the behavior. It was inappropriate. But if there’s not a statute, there’s nothing we can do,” Gil said.

In 2018, McCluskey was shot and killed by her stalker Melvin Shawn Rowland, a 38-year-old man that she previously dated, but stopped seeing because he lied about his age and his status as a convicted sex offender. In the weeks leading up to the killing, Rowland was relentlessly harassing McCluskey, and also attempting to blackmail her with explicit photos that were shared during their brief relationship.

McCluskey contacted campus police to report the harassment and she dealt with officer Deras. She gave Deras a copy of the communications that she had with the stalker in hopes that it would help them with their investigation, and these communications included the explicit photos that she was concerned the stalker would leak.

Instead of taking the matter seriously, Deras shared the photos with at least three of his male co-workers who were not involved in the case. An investigation by the Utah Department of Public Safety also found that Deras and his friends made lewd comments about the images.

Transcripts of 911 calls made by McCluskey before her death shows that she complained about how her case was being handled.

District Attorney Sim Gill is being accused of intentionally failing to prosecute Deras because there was actually a statute that he could be charged under, but the time limitation had expired by just one day when he made his decision.

“We just got it so late and were limited in what options we had,” Gill said.

Attorney Jim McConkie, who is representing the McCluskey family, says that she went to the police to report abusive behavior, and they abused her again by sharing those photos.

“What Gill is saying to women with this decision is, ‘We can’t help you. Don’t come to us,’” McConkie said.

This is just one of many cases that is bringing prosecutorial powers into question. Similar complaints have arisen in the case of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, where the state’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron has been accused of going to great lengths to protect the police officers involved in the killing.

Prosecutors are essentially on the same team as the police, and the same goes with the judge as well, which represents a very serious conflict of interest.

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