To serve and protect? You got to be kidding us!
A 21-year-old young college student in Salt Lake City was murdered. We can blame the system that was supposed to protect her, as well as the killer.
A deranged stalker murdered Lauren McCluskey despite multiple calls to 911 to report him. She did everything right, but the police did not.
How did this happen?
Back in 2018, McClusky made numerous calls to the police, but no one helped her. Instead, her young life was over.
Two years later, the story gets even worse.
Officer Deras, who worked on the case, kept the victim's nude photos, bragged about them, and shared them. Yet, he will receive no punishment.
Why is no one reacting?
People are furious, but the officials are not going to change their minds. Why? Here's a statement from District Attorney Sim Gill:
We realized there was no real statute we could use for this case; we're incensed like everyone else by the behavior. It was inappropriate. But if there's not a statute, there's nothing we can do.
But there was a lot to do; only the DA's office waited precisely one day too long to address the issue. Now, it's too late as the statute of limitations has expired.
Parents of the victim speak up
Jill and Matt McCluskey, Lauren's parents, said:
Instead of helping her, Deras showed her images to other male officers and bragged about it.
A consequence of Gill's decision is that women will hesitate to report extortion and harassment for fear that the private information they provide will be compromised or even leered at by officers for reasons unrelated to her case.
The mother tweeted all the crimes that the officer in question committed. And the list is rather long and scary.
How is this not a crime?
A report in the Salt Lake Tribune stated that when Deras was assigned to McClusky's case, he received the photos and saved them on his personal phone.
Days before McCluskey's murder, Deras showed at least one of the pictures to a male coworker. He bragged about getting to look at them whenever he wanted. Two fellow officers confirm that their colleague was committing a crime.
Neither officer reported it at the time, and Deras never faced any charges.
The University claims it didn't know about the inappropriate behavior or abuse of evidence.
The only reason officials looked into it, said University police Lt. Jason Hinojosa, was because The Tribune's records first brought it to their attention.
Victimizing the dead girl
Keeping nude photos on the phone while bragging about them to your coworkers days before the victim is murdered is a crime that deserves severe punishment.
It further victimized McCluskey and her family, proving just how careless the police were with her case. It will undoubtedly lead to other victims' fear of coming forward.
Jim McConkie, the family's lawyer, agrees, saying that McCluskey was harmed.
At the same time, she was alive while the officer chose to show off her photos instead of investigating her concerns. McConkie believes that the young woman's reputation should be considered.
McCluskey was 21 when she met 37-year-old Melvin Rowland in a campus bar in September 2018 and dated him for a month.
After finding out that Rowland lied to her about his age and discovering that he had a criminal past, she broke off the relationship.
Rowland was a convicted sex offender who violated his terms of release by stalking and extorting McCluskey, but police chose not to act.
Again, McCluskey called 911 to get in touch with the Salt Lake City Police Department on October 19. It was after she'd been dealing with the University of Utah campus police unsuccessfully for days.
One of the messages to the police dispatch said:
I'm worried because I've been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday, I reported, and I haven't gotten an update.
After ending the relationship on October 9, McCluskey asked for help for two weeks. She reported to both the campus police and the SLC police that she was harassed by a convicted sex offender and blackmailed.
McCluskey told police that Rowland forced her to pay him 1,000 dollars, or he would release compromising photos of her. No one said anything.
Sadly, they would never act, and on October 22, Rowland killed McCluskey. Her multiple 911 calls to police were useless, and her undividedly preventable murder did happen thanks to ridiculous police incompetence.
It was incompetent and criminal theft of evidence as the officers seemed more concerned with looking at her graphic photos than helping her.
Justice is blind and deaf.