Lauren McCluskey: When Officers Betray Trust

You are a young woman, a student at the University of Utah with a clean record, who is being threatened and is receiving death threats from an ex and needs protection. You hand personal and very private information as evidence, including explicit photos to police, who have sworn not only to protect you but are getting paid to do it. One of those officers ends up taking that evidence, your photos, to enjoy at their leisure, boast about how cute you are to their colleagues, and pass it along. Meanwhile, you are killed by your ex.

On October 22, 2018, 21-year old Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed outside her University of Utah campus dormitory by the accused.

Salt Lake magazine covered the heartbreaking murder of the 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck last year in Lover for Sale. Mackenzie’s murder took place in the summer of 2019, while U of U student Lauren McCluskey’s was in 2018. We chose not to mention Lauren’s story in this particular article merely because we classified it in another victim category, but wish to call out her name today. Because of new reports we have learned that Lauren McCluskey was indeed victimized by more than just her ex.

In her memory, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation @LMC_Foundation honors Lauren’s legacy by supporting charitable work in her name. Let Her Light Shine. #ForLauren

When an individual is being stalked, harassed or threatened, and goes to government authorities with evidence, it should be taken seriously. The response of this particular officer (and those who didn’t speak up) brings that into serious question. And, with the BLM protests, incidents such as this, and most recently the excessive force displayed by local officers at a Cottonwood Heights protest on Monday, August 3, 2020, the need for local citizen review boards, police reform, just prosecution, de-escalation training, and yes defunding are gaining momentum.

Lauren McCluskey’s story from The Salt Lake Tribune: University of Utah police officer shows explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey to his co-workers.

“Days before student-athlete Lauren McCluskey was killed, a @universityofutah police officer showed off explicit photos that McCluskey had taken of herself to at least three of his male co-workers without a work-related reason, according to a months-long investigation from the Utah Department of Public Safety…

The state’s final report reinforces and expands on The Tribune’s reporting, concluding the images were displayed inappropriately at the end of a staff briefing in October 2018 by the same officer who was supposed to be investigating McCluskey’s concerns of exploitation by a man she had dated.⁠”

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Jen Hill
Jen Hill
Former Salt Lake Magazine Associate Editor Jen Hill is a SLC transplant from Bloomington, Ind. As a blogger and feature writer, Jen follows the pulse of the community with interests in urban agriculture, business, fitness & beauty and anything that allows her to get out of the office and into the mountains.

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