On September 4, police were called by the suspect’s mother, who said her son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, was experiencing a “violent psychological issue.”
When officers arrived on the scene, the woman, identified as Golda Barton, told officers her son did not like police and might be armed with an imitation firearm. Footage released on Monday shows what happened next.
Warning: Some viewers may find this footage distressing.
Barton asked for a crisis intervention team member to be dispatched, after her son, Linden Cameron, had threatened to shoot one of her co-workers.
“He reacts to the outfits and everything like that,” she tells officers in the video. “He sees a badge and he automatically thinks, like, you’re going to kill him or he has to defend himself.”
The boy’s grandfather had been shot dead by police in Nevada in January after he allegedly threatened a neighbour with a gun. Linden had also reportedly had a previous violent altercation with the police.
“If it’s a psych problem and [the mom] is out of the house, I don’t see why we should even approach, in my opinion … I’m not about to get in a shooting because [the boy] is upset – sorry,” one officer can be heard saying on the recording. “Especially when he hates cops,” another agrees.
Barton informed officers she believed her son might have a replica firearm, but said she wasn’t sure whether it was a toy or a pellet gun. “I don’t believe it’s a real gun,” she said. However, in the video, Linden can be heard telling pursuing police, “I have a gun!”
Officers yelled, and chased after Linden, demolishing a part of a fence during the pursuit, before catching up to him and opening fire after he ignored repeated commands to stop.
They said no weapons were recovered from the scene and that Linden was shot in the “shoulder, both ankles, intestines and bladder.”
“Tell my mom I love her,” Linden can be heard saying, after he slumps to the ground, riddled with bullets. “I don’t feel good.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help finance his medical expenses.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown declined to directly address the content of the videos published, citing multiple ongoing investigations as the reason for discretion.
“[As] the mother of a 14-year-old boy, I am profoundly heartbroken, and I am frustrated,” Mayor Mendenhall said.
The officer who shot him remains on paid leave pending the investigation. A total of three separate investigations into the use of deadly force – by the local district attorney’s office, and the police department’s civilian review board and internal affairs division – are underway.
“We are facing a mental health crisis in this country, with a void of resources for those in crisis. And make no mistake, this is a crisis,” Chief Brown said.
Henceforth, all body cam footage will be released on the police department’s social media channels without the need for freedom of information requests or press conferences, the mayor confirmed.