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June 17, 2019

Utah police stand behind officer who aimed gun at disabled boy

June 12, 2019
Jerri Hrubes stands next to her son DJ during a news conference Friday, June 7, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Hrubes is calling for an independent investigation after she says a police officer pointed a gun at her 10-year-old son’s head in what she calls a racially motivated incident. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Utah police are standing behind a cop who pulled a gun on a reportedly disabled 10-year-old boy, in an incident the boy’s mother insists was racially motivated. Authorities apologized to the family Monday, but maintain the officer didn’t do anything wrong.

DJ Hrubes, 10, was playing on his grandmother’s West Bountiful lawn Thursday when a Woods Cross cop held him at gunpoint, aiming the weapon at his head, according to DJ’s mother Jerri Hrubes, AP reports. Hrubes said that she demanded the officer explain himself but he left without a word.

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Though she complained to dispatch and the officer returned to apologize, Hrubes called for an independent investigation at a press conference Friday, believing the incident was “clear prejudice” against DJ, who she said is mentally delayed and sight-impaired.

“I support all police officers. I see good in them,” Hrubes said. “But, I do not support putting a child of 10 years old at gunpoint with no explanation. … Does he look like he’s 30? Does he look like’s 18? No.”

“First, we’d like to sincerely apologize to DJ and his mother,” Wood Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe said publicly Monday. “We are truly sorry.”

Despite the apology to relatives who “may have been traumatized,” Soffe was adamant that the officer “did not violate any of our procedures or policies, and we are not looking at termination of this officer, who is a seasoned veteran.” Instead, he will continue working while an independent review is underway.

Soffe explained that authorities were seeking armed and dangerous suspects, two of whom were described as black males, accused of a shooting in Centerville earlier Thursday, the Deseret News reports.

“The officer said he matched the description that had been given to him earlier,” Soffe said.

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