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Body camera footage withheld in Salt Lake City shooting

| Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 10:27 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Police are refusing to release body camera footage of Salt Lake City officers shooting and critically wounding a 17-year-old Somali refugee, fueling public outcry and leading some to call the decision on revealing such footage inconsistent.

Footage from officers' body cameras is at the center of a national discussion about police use of force, especially with minority victims, and authorities around the country are working to decide when to provide video from the increasingly popular law enforcement tool.

Twenty-three states have created laws for body cameras, many passed last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Authorities have declined to release the footage from Saturday's shooting until they finish investigating. Keeping it private until investigators have sifted through the evidence to put the video in context is more fair to officers and the victim, said Unified Police Detective Ken Hansen, whose department is investigating.

Abdi Mohamed, who came to the United States with his family in 2004, was shot twice in the torso last weekend when officers tried to stop him and another person from beating a man with metal sticks, police said.

Officers told them to drop their weapons, but the teen moved menacingly toward the victim, authorities said. Mohamed remained in critical condition Tuesday.

The shooting stirred unrest Saturday in the city's bustling downtown, where about 100 officers in riot gear barricaded four city blocks as bystanders threw rocks and bottles. Hundreds of people turned out for a protest Monday.

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