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Missoula mayor responds to death of Brendon Galbreath

Missoula OIC Rally
Posted at 9:34 AM, Aug 23, 2021

MISSOULA — The City of Missoula and Mayor John Engen have released a statement in the wake of calls for more information and transparency in the recent death of Brendon Galbreath that they say explains why the process takes longer than some would like.

Family and friends of Galbreath rallied in Missoula on Thursday to demand the police department be more transparent in the investigation, release the names of the officers involved and any video related to the death of Galbreath.

Following a field investigation by the Montana Department of Justice Criminal Investigation Division, they reported that after a police chase on Aug. 12, evidence strongly indicates that Galbreath died by suicide. They say an officer fired their weapon after an initial gunshot came from the car.

Mayor Engen listed several reasons why he says more details may not immediately be released in a news release. He says, in these situations, an outside agency is brought in to investigate, controlling the information.

Officers involved are placed on administrative leave, under the presumption of innocence until evidence proves otherwise. Additionally, all evidence is considered confidential.

As a matter of practice, Missoula Police do not release videos routinely for privacy and to not alter eyewitness recollections.

Mayor Engen asked for patience because investigations can take months. A funeral for the 21-year-old Galbreath was held last week in Browning.