Draper Police Dept. releases body cam video of fatal officer-involved shooting

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DRAPER, Utah -- A chase and struggle, followed by a shooting, was all caught on camera by police involved in a shooting in Draper Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey Nielson, 34, was killed in the shooting after police said he attacked them with a knife.

Draper shooting jeffrey-nielson suspectThe video, released by Draper Police Friday, is nearly 30 minutes long.

It begins with West Valley City Police officer Jason Vincent questioning Nielson on the side of a street.

“If there’s dope in your car, now’s a good time to say. You can smell it,” Vincent said.

“There’s not dope in the car," Nielson responded.

The exchange is brief, with Nielson explaining he’s “lost everything” and does not sell or do drugs.

Over the next 15 minutes of video, Nielson appears calm, and he is compliant with officers' commands.  Eventually, police said they discovered evidence of drugs in Nielson’s vehicle, which prompts them to put him under arrest.

“Is this heroin? Hey, is this heroin?” an officer asked, after searching Nielson.

“Let me see it. Yes, it is,” Nielson said.

Nielson sits down on the sidewalk, cuffed, and at one point an officer helps him light a cigarette, at Nielson’s request.

However, things suddenly change a few minutes later.

A Draper police officer begins to remove Nielson’s handcuffs, in order to replace them with ones from West Valley City, the department handling the case.

That’s when things go south.

“As you can see, from watching this, how dynamic things are and how quickly things change,” said Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts.

An evidence photo of a knife used by a suspect who was shot and killed by police in Draper. Image via Draper PD.

An evidence photo of a knife used by a suspect who was shot and killed by police in Draper. Image via Draper PD.

The video shows Nielson running from police, back to his car.  As he tries to jump in, a struggle ensues, at which point police said Nielson pulled an 8-inch blade from the car.

The body camera, worn by one of the Draper Police officers, fell to the ground amidst the struggle. But seconds later, five gunshots are heard.

“The suspect had a knife in his hand,” Roberts said, “The officer perceived a threat of great bodily injury to himself and those other officers.”

Police said Nielson had told them about the knife being in his vehicle. Police said they did not remove the knife because at the time it was not relevant to their drug investigation.

Nielson was shot a total of five times, with wounds to the side, arm, back and front--according to Roberts.

Prior to the shooting, Roberts said a West Valley police sergeant did attempt to use a Taser on Nielson, but it was ineffective.

“We can assume we have a cooperative person that we are contacting, but all the while there is something else going on in that person's mind,” explained Roberts. “And then it changes so quickly.”

Officer Vincent of West Valley fired all five of the shots.  He was immediately put on paid administrative leave, pending an internal and external investigation.

West Valley City Police said Officer Vincent is a 12-year veteran on the force.

Authorities said he was involved in a previous shooting in Dec. 2013 and was cleared.

The other officers, two from Draper and one from West Valley City, have been allowed to return to duty.

Police identify suspect shot by police after knife attack

Family of man shot, killed by police says drugs led him into trouble

WVC officer in Draper shooting involved in previous shooting, DA declared justified

56 comments

    • C"MON WRUNGUSAMUNGUS

      All you need to know is that they do have bodycam footage and it justifies the officers shooting.

      • brady mosher

        That was murder..4 shots..wow talk about murder that was it but cuz they have a badge it makes it o.k. four officers on top of one guy with a little fruit peeler knife… gimme a break when is sic gonna wake up and see officers are murderers the real criminals..

  • Jesse Johanson

    I have known Jeff for over 15 years and that cop should be charged with murder… Yes it was horrible what Jeff did but that was no excuse to shoot him… You could here him saying owe the whole time, And I know he would have never stabbed anyone with a kitchen knife…. Why is and I’ve never mentioned in the struggle… He was contained…. That was murder and the police force is out of control!!! The knife knowing him was to cut apples up for his children….. There was no knife ever brought up or shown in the video… Why does it look like he was hog tied why wasn’t they other officer trying to help instead of drawing his weapon… Whatever happened to taser someone..I never saw any immediate danger of the officers lives.

    • C"MON DEEZ NUTZ IN YOUR MOUTH

      I have known Jeff for over 15 years and that cop should be charged with murder… Yes it was horrible what Jeff did but that was no excuse to shoot him… You could here him saying owe the whole time, And I know he would have never stabbed anyone with a kitchen knife…. Why is and I’ve never mentioned in the struggle… He was contained…. That was murder and the police force is out of control!!! The knife knowing him was to cut apples up for his children….. There was no knife ever brought up or shown in the video… Why does it look like he was hog tied why wasn’t they other officer trying to help instead of drawing his weapon… Whatever happened to taser someone..I never saw any immediate danger of the officers lives.

      LOL, they police officer took the cuffs off him because he thought Jeff would be a decent human being and comply. He wasn’t contained, as a matter of fact, when he took off and got to his car, police tried to stun him but the taze as unsuccessful. Once the final means of unlethal force has been expended, there’s no other choice but to use deadly force to combat even potential deadly force. If the knice was used for cutting apples for his children, A) why isn’t the knife at home with the apples, B) why aren’ the children with him and the knife?

      THEY DID TRY TO TAZE HIM BUT, OBVIOUSLY, TAZing ISN’T as EFFECTIVE AS A FIREARM WHEN DEALING WITH A THREAT.

      • whoascary

        I watched the video a couple of times. At about 19:18 you hear them say… that’s the knife he was going after… if he didn’t have the knife in his hand and wasn’t trying to stab anyone with it when they fired, then I would say that he was not an immediate threat. There was no need to shoot him at that moment. He was not a danger to society! what was the worst thing that would happen if he got away? They had his ID… They knew where he lived…. Go get him later. Or if he got in the car and shut the door, coax him out. If he drove away, blow out his tires, he wouldn’t get far. There has to be other options then just shooting!
        This Judge Dredd police work is quite scary. I’m scared for some of my friends/family (yes, I realize that some of you are way above the rest of us and don’t have loved ones that have struggles so it’s easy for you to consider them scum or that they deserve it) But they should not get the death sentence for fleeing from police or having a drug problem! It is a pretty good argument that drug addiction is a disease, and they can’t just stop the behavior. Again… should not be a death sentence.

      • BOB

        WHOASCARY – You really have to work at it to get yourself shot by the police. They’d much prefer to take pukes like yourself to jail. Less paperwork.

    • Ron

      In those 15 years you have known Jeff, you couldnt tell him to clean up and stop using drugs or stop terrorizing his wife?
      Or are you going to say that you never knew him to use drug?

      Some friend you are! He made his death bed and laid in it, no one else is responsible for his death but jeff alone!

      The officers followed their department policy if not the Department would not go out in public and say so. even if there was a .0000001% of a chance that these officers did not follow procedures their department would not back them up.

    • Dave

      There is one REALLY easy way to avoid all this, comply with police officers. Many have just a GED… we are not dealing with rocket scientists. Your day is in court, not on the street. I have no sympathy for anyone who is resisting and gets themselves shot… what did you think was going to happen?

  • Tyler

    This could have been prevented if they had just followed procedure. It is very basic (and I can’t emphasize how basic) police academy training that when you transfer a prisoner you leave the first set of cuffs on. Then you attach a second set of cuffs. ONLY AFTER the second set is on do you remove the first set. Had these officers followed protocol instead of being lazy, he would not have run to his car and grabbed the knife. Now, because of complacency, a man is dead because some lazy cops didn’t want to take the time to do it right. Now of course, if someone pulls a knife on a cop they will be shot. The point is that the man would never been able to have grab the knife if they did their jobs right. This death is due to laziness, pure and simple. One simple mistake that cost a life.

    • Ron

      Tyler you have no idea what youre talking about.

      what you get taught in the academy is different than what goes on in the real world.

      • Tyler

        “As for the switching of the handcuffs when you assume custody from another officer, it is best to place your cuffs on first and then remove the other officer’s handcuffs. This tactic keeps the prisoner secure at all times.” Train how you fight, to say that the academy is not the real world is a cop out, no pun intended. The academy trains people to do things a certain way for a reason. The reason that the police academy trains officers to put the second set on first, is to prevent this exact scenario from happening. Complacency kills, in this case complacency killed the suspect.

        “The training that we give officers on what we call our procedure of stacking includes constant monitoring of the subject, not being complacent in your duties,” adds ASP trainer Harmon. “Many times you’ve done it 100 times so it’s like, ‘OK, this is nothing.’ It’s that 101st time that it becomes a problem because you become complacent.”

        Lazy police work caused this, and was the proximate cause of the suspect’s death.

  • brady mosher

    They had 4 cops on him and the knife was a fruit carver… when 4 cops are on a single guy and just wow did he really need to fire 4 rounds into this man…200%execution here..that cop should be charged with first degree murder no ifs ands or buts… we got the worst police force in USA..that was murder

  • Emily

    I watched the whole 30 minute video. I am disgusted. Three cops held him down and murdered him. Yes, that was wrong on there part to un-cuff him and he ran to his car. Even if he did pull out a knife. They had him pinned to the ground. He was screaming in pain and they shot him three times. That is wrong. They should have handled it another way. Murdering someone is not doing anyone any justice.

    • C"MON EMILY

      It’s not murder if he is resisting arrest and fleeing in the direction towards the knife. Have some common sense

    • Mimi

      Emily how did you watch the whole video? I would love to see it. I’ve seen clips but I want to see all of it.

    • BOB

      About the time officers feel their lives are threatened all bets are off. Don’t want to get shot by a police officer? Then act like a human being instead of a rabid dog.

    • Jimi Boy

      Have a look at the video. He died suspended in his vehicle. Legs intertwined in his steering wheel. Police never held him down. Always sad to see a death, but he was fighting and made a costly error in judgement. Cost him his life. Next.

  • BeatrixKiddo

    Don’t always fall for what the media tells you I never saw anyone threaten the officers with a knife in the video because none of us were there all we know is what were told by the police officers

  • jc

    its funny how the webcam just happened to fall on the ground and there’s no video footage of the victim that was shot grabbing the knife and no footage of the actual knife attack. there also was no mention of any kind of injury to the officers from the knife. They didn’t have to kill him. why didn’t they taze him or knock him out. there were 4 against 1. there should have been no problem with all four officers to be able to put him back in handcuffs. 4 guns 1 knife . Seem suspicious too me. it just seems that these days that the police no longer use shoot to injure now it’s just shoot to kill. I believe if he wanted to hurt the officers he would have did in the beginning. to me it look like he was just trying to get away. there’s only really one person that knows the truth.
    sincerely,
    jc

    • BOB

      Nobody really cares what seems suspicious to you JC. Your opinion and a dime won’t even get you a cup of coffee.

  • ANOTHERRBOB

    K DOUBLE E – Why’s the nife on the ground? You mean as opposed to sticking out of a police officer’s ribs?

  • Nathaaniel Green

    This guy ran from the Police. He fought the Officers and grab a knife from where ever and attempted to use it against the Officers now he is dead end of story You fight the Cops you get what you get and sometimes you get dead. better this thug then one of the Officers.

  • Shellie Maynard

    This all happened because they were worried about a stupid pair of friggin handcuffs!!! C’mon, leave the handcuffs and get them back later. Oh,. ya need them now? While they are on this guy? The arresting officer or the one taking possession of the criminal, because we all know you’re guilty until proved otherwise, or if you manage to stay alive until booked into jail, should have given the cop without cuffs his to use. I mean, someone obviously is going to leave without the handcuffs. What is the big deal in getting “my” cuffs back?
    And, if the cops knew of a knife in the suspect vehicle, they should have taken that into their possession immediately. Geez, how long has that veteran been a cop? And he hasn’t figured this one out by now? What the hell kind of training do these guys get anyway? There is absolutely no reason that this guy should be dead. Especially with four cops holding his feet and all over him like they were. Cops were not afraid for their safety, it is simply that all of the previous cop involved shootings/deaths have been declared justified. Every time that happens, there is going to be more and more shootings because they are above the law.
    And I don’t wanna hear from any of you that believe anything else. Time will tell

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