Our View: Morgan deputy should be punished

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:20 AM

Editorial Board

A Morgan County deputy who fired upon a suspect after a long vehicle chase should be disciplined by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. It could include probation, suspension or termination, but he needs to be punished.

Although a report from Davis County Attorney Troy S. Rawlings does not recommend prosecution for Morgan Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Scott Peay, his investigation clearly comes to a conclusion that Peay’s actions were improper. Peay shot Kristine Nicole Biggs, 41, of Rock Springs, Wyo., in the eye after a chase that covered 32 miles and ended near South Weber.

In the report’s summary, Rawlings writes, “The Davis County Attorney’s Office cannot and will not say that the shooting of Kristine Biggs is justified under the four-corners (of state law)...because we believe that a better and more credible view of the evidence is that it was not justified. However, we also believe a unanimous jury would not convict Sergeant Peay of a crime when presented with all the evidence.”

A law enforcement officer’s job is a very difficult one, and often comes with life-threatening situations. We have sympathy for the real-time, instant decisions that need to be made. Nevertheless, it’s clear to us that Sgt. Peay was not in danger when he, in our opinion, recklessly shot at Biggs, who has pleaded guilty to failure to stop at the command of a police officer, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. Rawlings’ report correctly notes that she caused danger with her illegal actions.

Nevertheless, shooting her to end the situation was an inexcusable act that we can’t have officers of the law committing without severe consequences. Rawlings, in the report, notes, that Peay’s shooting Biggs “does not squarely fit with the letter, scope and intent” of state law as well as significant cases from the U.S. Supreme Court.” It further states, “An objective and impartial analysis concludes that the use of potentially lethal force in the shooting of Kristine Biggs was not necessitated by the facts.”

An independent report has been issued that Peay made a bad decision that could have had a lethal impact. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office needs to take action.

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