Bodycam video shows moment 25-year-old was shot dead by Utah police during traffic stop

Police in Farmington, Utah on Wednesday released footage showing the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Chase Allan following a traffic stop on March 1.

According to Farmington police Chief Eric Johnsen, police pulled Mr Allan over for driving with an illegal licence plate on his blue BMW vehicle. After Mr Allan pulled into a parking lot and was confronted by the officer who pulled him over, the situation quickly escalated.

Backup officers arrived on the scene as Mr Allan, who had a licence plate that read “American State Citizen, Utah” and suggested he was aligned with the extremist anti-government Sovereign Citizen movement, repeatedly claimed that he was under no obligation to identify himself to the police.

Finally, Mr Allan handed over a passport to an officer who took it out of the car window.

“Thank you so much, Mr Chase Allan,” the officer responded as he looked at Mr Allan’s passport.

“That is not me, that is a piece of plastic paper,” Mr Allan responded.

“So you have a fraudlent passport? Wonderful,” an officer sarcastically responded. “That’s what I’m hearing. Step out of the car for me.”

Chase Allan (Diane Allan/Facebook)
Chase Allan (Diane Allan/Facebook)

Mr Allan refused to get out of the car, telling the officer that they were going to “have an issue.”

“If you don’t step out of the car, we’re going to break the window and pull you out,” another officer threatened.

Moments later, police claim, Mr Allan reached down to grab a weapon. That is not clear from the body camera footage, which does not conclusively show what Mr Allan was reaching for in the seconds before one of the officers screamed “Gun! Gun! Gun!” and police unleashed a torrent of bullets at the car.

Mr Johnsen said at his press conference on Wednesday that Mr Allan was wearing an empty gun holster and that the body camera footage later showed a gun on the floor of the vehicle, though Mr Allan was also reportedly holding a cell phone at the time of the shooting.

Police shot Mr Allan 12 times in what his family described in a statement as a “brutal murder.” Mr Allan’s family also accused the Farmington police department of “stonewalling” them and suggested the encounter that led to Mr Allan’s death was not the routine traffic stop police have framed it as.

“We have learned more from media coverage about what occurred than anywhere else right now,” the family’s statement read. “Officers claim it was a routine traffic stop, yet the officer requested multiple other officers to the scene a couple of blocks prior to the stop.”

Mr Johnsen at his press conference called the assertion that the police called for backup prior to the incident “absolutely untrue.”

Mr Allan’s decision to drive with an illegitimate licence plate and insistence that he did not have to provide documentation to or cooperate generally with police suggested that he had some amount of ideological opposition to the state apparatus. Mr Allan’s mother, Diane Killian Allan, claimed in a lawsuit last September that she is a sovereign citizen not subject to the laws of the state after she was also pulled over for driving with an expired vehicle registration.

Mr Allan’s sister, Courtney Vandegrift, wrote in a statement to Heavy that Mr Allan was not part of the Sovereign Citizen movement but rather an “American State National” — a term, according to the Anti-Defamation League, often used by sovereign citizens and QAnon adherents to reflect their belief that they are not citizens of what they consider to be an illegitimate state.

According to reporting by CBS News, four of the five Farmington police officers who responded to the situation had been with the force for less than a year.

Traffic stops in the US regularly turn violent, as was the case with the stop that led to the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. Police in the US have killed more than 800 people following traffic stops since 2017, according to data from Mapping Police Violence.