West Valley City to pay $1.4 million to settle lawsuit in high-profile police shooting

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SALT LAKE CITY — West Valley City will pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a woman killed in a high-profile police shooting.

City officials called the settlement in the death of 21-year-old Danielle Willard a compromise rather than an admission of liability Thursday.

Willard was killed by former West Valley City police Detective Shaun Cowley as she backed up her car in November 2012. Cowley said he fired at the unarmed woman because he thought she would hit him with her car after he tried to stop her during a drug investigation.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the officer's life wasn't in danger and filed a manslaughter charge against Cowley, but it was tossed out by a judge in October.

Her death sparked protests against police.

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