DJ Hrubes, a 10-year-old Black kid who is developmentally disabled and visually impared, was playing in his grandmother’s yard in Woods Cross, Utah on Thursday (June 6) when an officer rolled up and pulled a gun on him.
Officer Mike Daugherty drew his firearm and ordered the boy to get down on the ground. According to Jerri Hrubes, DJ’s mother, she confronted the officer and asked why he was pointing a gun at her son. The officer then reportedly returned to his vehicle and drove off without explaining why.
According to USA Today, Daugherty later returned to apologize, but Hrubes says the experience made her question her safety in the area. During an interview with KTSU Fox 13, the 10-year-old said he was “just playing, running.”
During a press conference on Monday, Woods Cross police chief Chad Soffe defended his officer’s decision to pull a firearm on a disabled child because they had received tips that there was a shooting in the area and that the suspects were Black, Hispanic or Polynesian. He also claimed Daugherty did not overstep the department’s policies or protocol and will remain on duty.
Jerri Hrubes, who is white, identified the officer on Facebook after the incident and wrote, “I believe it’s because my child is BLACK!!!!”
Area organizers are calling for more action. Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Tri-State Conference for Idaho, Nevada and Utah, said an independent investigation is necessary.
“Any time that you pull a gun, it could easily go off. We’ve seen that happen before,” she told the Deseret News. Black Lives Matter Utah organizers are calling for the officer to be fired.
Lex Scott, founder of BLM Utah told CBS News: “That fact that this police officer still has a job, and they’ve defended his actions, sends a message that any officer can go out, aim a gun at a 10-year-old kid, and that’s OK. And that’s not OK to do.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans make up only 1.4 percent of Utah’s population.
Photo: KTSU Fox13