Police officer behind Target misfire should not be punished, union says

The president of SHOPO, the police officers’ union, says the officer who misfired his gun in a Target bathroom doesn’t deserve to be punished.

Tenari Maafala says the whole thing was an accident, so no crime was committed.

The shooting happened Saturday night in the bathroom of the Salt Lake store. The bullet ricocheted and hit the wall of the next stall, but nobody was hurt.

HPD says the officer is still on patrol duty because he’s not endangering the public. An investigation has been launched and it’s not clear if the officer will be punished.

“I don’t think he should be because this is a great officer,” Maafala said. “He made an honest mistake, an honest accident. It was purely an accidental discharge. It’s not like he intentionally let off a round in the bathroom stall.

“I can understand why Chief Kealoha did not put him on ROPA or put him on administrative leave because it was accidental, there was no criminal implications or no criminal intent,” he added.

Maafala says it was an unfortunate situation that happened to a good officer who has been with HPD for two years.

As to why there was no report of the incident made available to the public, Maafala says there was no cover up and police officers need to make a full investigation before filing such a report to protect the police department from liability.

Police officers were issued new types of guns this year called Glocks, but Maafala says that has nothing to do with any misfiring incidents, because officers get intensive training before handling their firearms.

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