This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As we hear more about the killing of Danielle Willard by two West Valley City cops last November, expect to hear the defense continue to harp on the tired old "vehicle was a weapon" theme.
Let me ask you this: If you're in a parking lot and you see a driver behind the wheel of a running vehicle, and you think that driver might be desperate, impaired, geriatric, juvenile, etc., would you be fool enough to place yourself in the path of that vehicle? And if you were in the path of that vehicle when it started moving, wouldn't your first logical action be to quickly remove yourself from the path of that vehicle? And if you were unsuccessful in removing yourself from the path of the vehicle, would you then be justified in firing upon and killing the driver of that vehicle?
We can attempt to complicate the facts all day long with stories of illegal drug use and/or addiction. But no matter how you look at it, there was no justifiable reason for two armed officers to summarily kill a little unarmed gal sitting behind the wheel of a car in a parking lot.
T.J. "Joe" Taylor