On a crisp November day in West Valley City--neighbor to Salt Lake City, Utah--vibrant, beautiful Danielle Willard, only 21, was sitting in her parked SUV at an apartment complex and was shot twice in the head by undercover West Valley City narcotics officers and killed. Danielle was unarmed.
This murder at the hands of the now-disbanded West Valley City Neighborhood Narcotics Unit occurred on November 2nd, 2012. Despite the ample time, Danielle's family still does not have even the most basic of questions answered ("Why?"). Their daughter moved to Utah to turn a new leaf and overcome her drug addiction. Danielle returned home in a casket, mutilated by the exploits of those employed by the people to protect the people.
Incredible numbers of mostly drug-related charges against the Utah people have been dropped in recent months following the disbanding of the aptly-named WVC Neighborhood Narcotics Unit, among others. Officers allegedly planted/altered evidence, stole evidence for personal "trophies" and other purposes, stole personal property from suspects during arrests, and gross misuse--at best--for basically any item of value at the hands of the WVC Neighborhood Narcotics Unit. The FBI has now launched an investigation into this laughably "Neighborhood"-geared gang of narcotics officers, as it's evident that Utah's own police and government cannot be trusted with the mere management of its police, let alone a thorough, impartial, transparent investigation. The faith of Utahns in the very men and women sworn to protect the people is not precariously faltering--it's gone.
Each and every police department/force statewide needs to communicate transparently with the public regarding corruption, District Attorney Sam Gill (who will determine whether Danielle's murder was justified), and Utah's Attorney General (currently John Swallow, though unrelated corruption and scandals may expedite a new UtAG).
Danielle Willard's family deserves answers regarding their daughter's murder. Individuals wrongfully arrested, tried, and found guilty on entirely fabricated charges by Utah police deserve transparency. The public--criminal record or no--deserves to trust those sworn to protect them. Instead, Utah police are protecting the people from the likes of petite, unarmed, non-violent 21-year-old female Danielle Willard.