Lawyers Cry Foul at Suspect's Questioning by Media

Lawyers have a big problem with this.

As cops led Jeffrey Black out of the Salt Lake County jail, they stop and let the media ask the suspect questions.

Black was arrested in connection to the death of South Salt Lake Police Officer David Romrell.

The Salt Lake Tribune writes that Romrell was killed Saturday evening after he was run over by a black Chevrolet Impala driven by Black’s acquaintance, Felix Calata. Black was in the passenger seat — but now he’s facing the possibility of serious charges as if he had been behind the wheel. Calata was killed by police gunfire.

Video footage of Black being walked from the police station was seen on television sets throughout Utah Monday evening, causing concern with some about whether the police’s tactics may have violated the man’s constitutional rights or coerced him into sharing details about his alleged crimes to the media.

“I thought it was stunning,” said Brett Tolman, a former U.S. Attorney for Utah who is now in private practice. “Usually when you’re law enforcement, you’re transporting or you’re taking a prisoner somewhere. You’re not just stopping outside for a press conference. It felt awkward and odd.”

The footage shows police authorities as they stop Black from walking, and allow television cameras and reporters to come closer to the suspect — and as some reporters start asking him questions.

At first, Black says “no comment” to a question posed by a reporter. But police leave him standing there, cameras rolling. He then begins answering questions for more than a minute.