Homicide victim begs Salt Lake City police not to kill her in body-cam footage
0:00 - Body cam 1
1:33 - Body cam 2
5:09 - Body cam 3
Body-camera footage shows Megan Joyce Mohn screaming for help and begging officers not to kill her during an officer-involved critical incident that resulted in her death.
The 40-year-old woman became unresponsive while being restrained by Salt Lake City police during the Jan. 11 incident. She was transported to Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, where she died Jan. 30.
The Salt Lake City Police Department on Thursday released body-camera video from three of the four officers who responded to the early morning incident near Marathon Petroleum, 474 W. 900 North.
A security guard at the Salt Lake City refinery said Mohn attempted to get into a secure area, according to police. The woman later was seen “waking in circles” and carrying a piece of rebar in the intersection of 900 North and 400 West, police said.
The exact time officers first made contact with Mohn is unknown because the first officer to arrive did not have an active body camera, according to a news release from the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Body-camera footage shows the second officer responding at 3:36 a.m.
Mohn is restrained and kneeling in a grassy area near the intersection when the officer arrives. She is heard screaming for help while an officer threatens her with jail time if she doesn’t provide her name.
After asking officers to use their cellphone to call police, the woman screams, “Help! They’re going to kill me! Help me!”
After being instructed by police to “sit down,” the woman begs, “Please don’t shoot. … Don’t kill me. I don’t want to die.”
The woman also asked police for water but was told she needed to provide her name to receive any water, according to the body-cam footage.
Officers then cut off the woman’s backpack, leading to a struggle during which the woman flails her legs and an officer orders her to “stop kicking.” After one officer rolls the woman onto her stomach, the woman again flails her legs while an officer attempts to restrain them.
The woman continues to cry for help while being held down by the two male officers — one kneeling and then sitting on the woman’s back while holding her head to the ground, and the other restraining her legs, body-cam footage shows.
An officer continued to kneel on the woman’s back while leg shackles and handcuffs are applied. The woman stopped speaking and moving while the leg shackles were applied. Moments later, an officer says, “See if you can get her into a recovery position.”
All three videos stopped when officers began rendering first aid.
Police said Mohn was breathing but unresponsive when she was transported by ambulance to Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. She was moved on Jan. 28 to the hospital’s intensive care unit and died Jan. 30, according to police.
“The Salt Lake City Police Department expresses its condolences to Ms. Mohn’s family,” Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said in a news release. “Ensuring we have a comprehensive investigation into this matter is critical.”
A statement of events from Salt Lake City police says “a struggle occurred” between the woman and officers, “which resulted in officers using arrest control techniques.”
“While being restrained, officers placed Ms. Mohn on her stomach. Officers gave Ms. Mohn multiple commands to stop resisting. Both handcuffs and ankle restraints were used by SLCPD officers. Ms. Mohn became unresponsive. Officers, as depicted on body-worn camera video, started performing medical assistance,” according to the police statement.
On July 28, the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner determined Mohn’s death to be a homicide. Salt Lake City police activated its officer-involved critical incident protocol on July 29.
An outside agency is conducting an investigation into the Salt Lake City Police Department’s handling of the case, as is the department’s Internal Affairs Unit, the release states.
“Our officers work tirelessly every day to live up to the expectations of our community and to fulfill their duties as police officers and public servants,” Brown said. “I know they are committed to their jobs and have a strong dedication to our community.”
Mohn had methamphetamine, spice and alcohol with her at the time of the incident, police said. The medical examiner determined Mohn’s death was caused by anoxic brain injury from cardiac arrest due to “probable methamphetamine intoxication in the setting of an altercation involving physical restraint,” according to a police statement.