This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

On the issue of recent officer-involved shootings, there is a clear distinction between Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and challenger Jackie Biskupski.

In a debate last week, Becker said he believed the shootings of Dillon Taylor, 20, and James Barker, 42, were justified and, in the same situation, he "probably" would have fired.

Biskupski, by contrast, said the separate shootings in Salt Lake City in August 2014 and January 2015 that cost the men's their lives were "unjustified."

Both shootings were ruled justified by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, although Taylor was unarmed and Barker carried a snow shovel.

For the past eight years, Biskupski has been a policy adviser and project manager for Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.

Winder has endorsed Biskupski, as has the Salt Lake Police Association.

The police union backed both officers in those shootings. Nonetheless, association President Mike Millard said Monday that Biskupski still has the group's endorsement.

"She called us up and told us where she was coming from," Millard said. "Then she asked us to have a discussion. That's something the mayor has never done."

Dillon Taylor • On Aug. 11, 2014, Salt Lake City emergency dispatch received a call from a 7-Eleven store near the intersection of 2100 S. State that a man with a gun was in or around the store.

Officer Bron Cruz was among the officers who responded.

His body cam was on as he exited his patrol car in the parking lot and approached three young men. One of them, Taylor, began walking away. With his gun drawn, the officer ordered Taylor to stop.

Taylor, who had his hands inside his pants, turned and began to lift his T shirt with one hand. The other hand was not visible in the video. Two shots rang out and Taylor fell to the ground.

James Baker • On Jan. 8, Salt Lake City police Officer Matthew Taylor responded to a call about a suspicious man in the Avenues neighborhood near I Street and 2nd Avenue.

Taylor, who also wore a body cam, approached Barker on a residential porch and asked him what he was doing. Barker explained that he was looking for work shoveling snow. The officer said it was not snowing and demanded to know Barker's name.

Soon, an argument ensued and Barker swung his shovel, hitting the officer.

The pair tumbled off the porch and wrestled on the ground. During the struggle, Taylor shot Barker. The officer suffered a broken arm.

In a debate last week sponsored by various community councils and the League of Women Voters, Becker said Salt Lake City reviews thoroughly all such shootings. In addition to the district attorney, there are inquiries by the police department as well as an independent investigation by the Police Civilian Review Board.

"In both of these cases," Becker said, "all the [investigative] bodies determined it was a justified use of deadly force."

The question from the audience asked the candidates to comment on the shootings of Taylor and Darrien Hunt, 22, who was killed Sept. 10, 2014, by police in Saratoga Springs after brandishing a sword. After the debate, Becker's campaign said he had confused Hunt with Barker and that the mayor's responses were limited to the two shootings in Salt Lake City.

Becker also noted that the Salt Lake City Police Department has a good record compared with other cities and that the police department continues to make improvements.

During the debate, Biskupski said that hiring and training practices are critical to the success of law-enforcement agencies.

Critics of the shootings have said the officers should have done more to defuse those confrontations so that deadly force wasn't necessary.

"I am a big proponent of all law-enforcement officers getting trained in de-escalation tactics," Biskupski said Monday. "I have a very strong desire to make sure our law-enforcement agencies are operating in best practices."

The candidates will meet in a debate Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library. The event, sponsored by The Salt Lake Tribune, is free and open to the public.