WOODS CROSS, Utah (KSL/CNN) - An independent review will be conducted in the case of a Utah police officer who held a 10-year-old boy at gunpoint, after police say the officer did nothing wrong.
Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe made a public apology Monday to 10-year-old DJ Hrubes and his mother after an incident in which the boy was held at gunpoint and ordered to the ground by an officer responding to the report of a violent crime.
“First, we’d like to sincerely apologize to DJ and his mother,” Soffe said. “We are truly sorry.”
Soffe says no disciplinary action will be taken against the officer because he did not violate procedures during the incident. However, he has agreed to have an independent review done.
"He did not violate any of our procedures or policies, and we are not looking at termination of this officer, who is a seasoned veteran,” Soffe said.
The chief says officers were looking for armed and dangerous suspects accused of a shooting in Centerville, Utah, last Thursday. The suspects were described as black males.
One of the officers saw DJ, a black 10-year-old, who was playing on the front lawn of a nearby house. DJ’s mother says the boy is developmentally delayed and visually-impaired.
"Our officer draws his gun and gives commands for the young man to get on the ground, thinking this is one of the suspects we are looking for,” Soffe said.
Soffe says once the officer got closer, he realized DJ was not one of the suspects and holstered his weapon. He says the encounter lasted less than a minute.
DJ’s mother Jerri Hrubes, who is white, believes the incident was racially motivated and involved “clear prejudice” against her son.
Witnesses say the officer held the gun to the 10-year-old’s head.
Soffe acknowledged the gun “could have been pointed” at DJ, as he got on the ground.
“When he went down to the ground, the low ready position is forward at about a 45 degree angle, so as he went to the ground, yes, it could have been pointed at him. But it is not our training to point our guns at anyone’s head," he said.
The officer did not activate his body camera during the encounter with DJ.
The Davis County Attorney’s Office will review the incident.