Police Abuse

Former Cop Facing Manslaughter Charge After Shooting Unarmed Woman, Wants His Job Back With Back Pay


the hero, after shooting an unarmed woman
via KSL

Shawn Cowley, a former narcotics officer in West Valley City, Utah, is facing a single count of manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed woman in a parking lot during an undercover drug operation. Via the Associated Press:

Cowley fired at the unarmed [Danielle] Willard as she backed her car out of an apartment complex parking spot. He contended his life was in danger, but [the district attorney, Sim] Gill said that's not the case because Cowley was standing on the side of the woman's car.

Cowley's attorney Lindsay Jarvis has called Gill's decision to prosecute the former officer "incredibly disappointing" and said Cowley continues to maintain his innocence.

The district attorney previously found the shooting, which also involved another cop who is not facing any criminal charges, not justified, opening the door up to the current prosecution the cop's attorney calls "disappointing." Willard's mother, too, said she was disappointed, that Cowley wasn't charged with anything more serious, although she says she's happy he was charged at all.

Cowley was fired after the incident, but it doesn't sound like it was quite because he killed someone while on duty. The Deseret News explains:

Cowley and [the other cop, Kevin] Salmon were members of West Valley's now disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit. After the shooting, Cowley was fired from the department for allegedly mishandling evidence and being insubordinate. Salmon has remained on paid administrative leave since the incident. Cowley is in the process of appealing his firing before the West Valley City Civil Service Commission. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Aug. 25.

The generous labor protections afforded to police officers as public employees means Cowley could get his job back before he's convicted or acquitted, and could get paid for it. His first criminal hearing is July 7.

NEXT: Rand Paul Wants to Restore Felons' Voting Rights. What About Their Gun Rights?

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  1. After the shooting, Cowley was fired from the department for allegedly mishandling evidence and being insubordinate.

    He wasn’t fired for murdering someone?

    1. No, he was fired for not respecting some other cop’s authority.

  2. I like my nut punches in the morning, when I’m not drinking beers.

    1. Don’t the beers sort of numb that nut punch a little? If not, you’re not drinking enough beer.

    2. Stop whining you bitch. I’m writing fucking documentation right now, the farthest thing from having some beers. And I had hoped I’d get it done fast enough to get out to the pool before it loses the sun, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I still have a lot more to go.

      1. I write documentation every day. And Visio system diagrams … And worse, client test plans. Nothing is worse than test plans, nothing!

        1. Yeah, but I’m a developer. This is like torture for me. Plus a friend just called me from traffic and he’s close to my place and wanted to get out of traffic and hang out and I had to refuse him (I told him he could go sit on my deck in the sun but I’d still have to work). Because I have to get this shit done today. ARRGGGHH

          1. Um, dude, I’m a software engineer, developer if you like, but I do everything. I have 14 servers right now that I am developing and maintaining web applications on. I do have some help with the SQL admin side of things and server admin, but I do everything from IIS to CSS, HTML, writing all the SQL stored procs, all the code, vb.net and C#, documentation, test plans, everything.

            1. Also, just started using TFS 2012 and rolling out update patches with that. Still have a lot to learn on that front.

              1. I’m just a user….so you guys are Tech Support, right??

                Can you guys help me get my mouse to scroll a little faster???

                1. Use vaseline

                  1. *takes Scruffy’s advice*

                    This is ANOTHER fine mess you’ve gotten me into!

            2. Yeah I wear a lot of hats too, but I’m gone on vacation soon and I have to super-document everything because I wrote it all. It’s very annoying. And I and one other guy are the SQL and server admins too, no help at all. That’s pretty easy though.

              1. And I and one other guy are the SQL and server admins too, no help at all. That’s pretty easy though.

                I’ve been there too. There’s pretty much not anything that I haven’t done in IT. But mostly development.

                Now, it’s all development, but that includes everything, and most of the documentation and test plans, because no one else knows enough about the project, or has time to do it. Job security, you know. The project I am working on now is projected to take 18 months, lol. I can do it in 10 though, if we’re lucky.

              2. “I’m gone on vacation soon”

                You’re gonna bang a bunch of dudes in Germany too?

                1. Of course. My game is way better than jesse’s.

          2. Aw, just keep commenting instead

            1. Commenting is my little break from frantic typing. I’m almost done with the overview document and can go to documenting the code more extensively soon.

      2. Uh, stop reading H&R and start writing documentation.


        2. Your mom keeps distracting me! It’s hard! You know what I mean!

          1. It’s hard – THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

          2. See, here you are, not working again.

            Do me a favor and tell my mom she’s an odious little monster for me.

            You’re a man (most of one anyway), have some self-discipline.

            1. It’s hard!

  3. I’m no physics professor, but I think that I can say this with some scientific certainty:
    A car is not a deadly weapon against an adult if it is in reverse, especially if it is backing out of a parking spot. My car can do 20 tops in reverse without blowing up the engine.

    1. 20? Are you driving a 1985 K-Car?

      1. I proudly drive a Swagger Wagon.

        1. Shudder….. OMG, dude, that thing is a Soccer Mom mobile! No wonder you’re going to wreck at 20mph in reverse!

          1. I laugh because I bought my wife one ten years ago and she still resents it.

            1. I want to buy my wife a tank with laser beams that vaporize any car that comes within 10 yards of it, I don’t trust her being safe in anything else on the 695 beltway, 10 lanes of suicidal maniacs.

              1. Instead of a tank, I suggest a late 90’s Suburban. Don’t wash it, more intimidating.

              2. “I want to buy my wife a tank with laser beams that vaporize any car that comes within 10 yards of it..”

                You need the Wagon Queen Family Truckster..

            2. She wanted the Honda Odyssey instead?

              1. My wife wants a Honda Crosstour, we’re thinking about it.

                1. I honestly can’t complain about the Sienna. Good mileage, easy smooth ride, and it isn’t all about the kids. I have the bose speakers with subs, an iPad compatible stereo with headrest monitors, tow hitch with bike rack, and it will comfortably fit 8 with skis on top.

                  It’s a great family car, but I can also get crazy with the college friends (I always make someone else drive it).

              2. She wanted the Lexus RX. My wallet said nope, no sirree.

                1. Good grief, you one percenter! Even thinking about that makes you a Kochtopus puppet!

            3. Get an FJ Cruiser. Like driving a bank vault. Hang some iron off the front, and its plenty, umm, assertive.


        2. I’m sure you and the wife can’t wait for the kids to grow up so driving that won’t be necessary.

          Is that the only car you have?

          1. God no, there are 2 of us. She drives a Murano. Her next ride is going to be a Range or Infiniti. She’s the looks of this whole operation.

            1. How do you guys like the Murano? I’m considering one for my next SUV.

              1. But strongly considering a Toyota FJ Cruiser. A co-worker of mine has a new one and I love the way that thing looks, it’s total testosterone!

                1. I like the FJ. My ideal car would be a 4 runner from the late 90’s, if they sold those brand new right now.

                2. I have two. Built like a cinder block. And tons of cool add-ons; Mrs. Dean’s has the supercharger, ARB bumpers, lifted, etc.

              2. Love it. The CVT takes a little bit of getting used to, though. When you stomp it to pass someone, you expect it to downshift, but it doesn’t.

            2. Huh. I just got the Rover Evoque. I waivered between it and the Infiniti QX60. I’m pretty happy with my choice.

              1. Isn’t the QX60 a hybrid? I’m all for hybrids where they make sense, but….

                1. Two version are hybrid and two are standard. Mine is a standard.

                  1. Ugg. The one I considered was a standard.

            3. My mom was very happy when her kids got old enough to where she could ditch the Chrysler minivan for something smaller.

    2. I think my Mustang can do about 40 in reverse.

      Here, hold my beer, I’m gonna go try something….

      1. Be sure to report back here immediately afterwards.

  4. You see, here’s what happens when you legalize pot:

    Crazed marijuana induced face eating

    1. Are they SURE the dude wasn’t on teh bath saltz??

      1. But … Uruguay just legalized pot!(sort of). Coming next to a neighborhood near you, you heathens in WA and CO!

  5. carman
    Wasatch Front, UT
    Clearly there is joint culpability here. The officer should pay for his poor judgement and its tragic consequences. But neither was Danielle Willard without fault. She failed to get out of the vehicle when asked, she tried to flee from the police and endangered others in the process, she had drugs in the vehicle, and was far from a law-abiding, upstanding citizen of the community.

    None of which is germane as to whether or not the officer used lethal force appropriately! This need to rationalize thuggery and justify what amounts to a death sentence for the mildest sign of disobedience depresses and infuriates me. The victim used drugs? She deserved to be murdered by an animal with a badge. Resisting arrest results in immediate execution. And so forth.


    1. But she had DRUGS in the car, D. DRUGS! She was FAR from a law-abiding, upstanding citizen!

      FAR. And….DRUGS!

  6. Salon parody account is brilliant.

    The Second-Amendment-Minus-One: Why so-called “free speech” is a slavery-era weapon of racial oppression

    How the Obama administration made America less othered

    “Show me a number not made by human hands.” Naomi Wolf on why hard sciences are less true than liberal arts

    Salon.com @Salondotcom ? 1h
    How the neoconfederate tea party agenda poisoned Gary Oldman’s mind

    1. **squints** Are you sure that’s a parody of Salon?

      I mean Salon did post this a few days ago

    2. Which law is it again – Poe’z? Yeah – this is teh awesome

  7. Vox explains the news.

    You’ve been using paper towels wrong your whole life. Here’s how to completely dry your hands using only one.

    1. Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels a year, and this could drastically cut that waste down though smarter shaking and folding.

      Paging Michael Bloomberg ….


    How dates got so complicated

    The downside is that when anything can be a date, any platonic friendship activity can be construed as a date. That’s part of the reason why there’s that startling number of women in Glamour’s poll who can’t tell whether they’ve been on a date. It’s not that they don’t have working definition of dating or what a date is. It’s that they can’t tell what the person they went on that “date” with is working with the same definition.

    I like to imagine a Vox writer just hanging out with a friend. Halfway through he realizes it’s a date and gets really nervous so he needs to go freshen up in the bathroom.

    Twenty minutes later he’s found dead next to the sink, covered in thousands of paper towels. Scrawled feverishly on the wall in blood is a miserable and pathetic missive:


    1. When you’re dissecting a Glamour poll, you’re out of news.

    2. I call Bullshit. No one at Vox has every been on a date and definitely never been laid.

      1. They bothered the guys at SBNation (same parent as Vox) until they finally coughed up what it’s like to be near someone of the opposite sex.

  9. Have to give credit to a DA who would actually charge this shit bag…unfortunately his career in the public sector will be short. There are actually a few in the legal profession who take ethics seriously and I’ll give him a hat tip here and hope he does well going forward.

  10. Lets jsut roll with the punches dude.


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