A Utah police officer will not be charged for the death of a Black man he shot and killed. They stopped 50-year-old Patrick Harmen for riding his bicycle across six lanes of traffic. An altercation ensued and ended up in his death. Read the full story below.
The New York Daily reports:
The Salt Lake City District Attorney's office released the bodycam footage in a fatal police-involved shooting it has since said was justified.
A Salt Lake City police officer, identified as Officer Kris Smith, pulled over 50-year-old Patrick Harmon after watching him ride his bicycle across all six lanes and the median of State Street the night of Aug. 13, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Harmon's bike was missing its required red tail light, according to documents from the DA's office.
When asked for identification, Harmon gave the officer a name that was not in the database, prompting him to call for backup. Officer Clinton Fox responded with another officer.
Footage from all three cops released by officials Wednesday shows Smith again ask Harmon to spell his name. According to the district attorney's report, Harmon gave "a couple of different names."
After Smith was able to identify Harmon, he learned he had active felony warrants for aggravated assault, according to prosecutors. Harmon appeared "emotional and distraught" and told officers he had been trying to take care of it, Fox testified.
The officers told him he was going to be arrested, but Harmon "bolted and ran." As the trio of cops pursued him, Harmon "turned quickly" to face them, according to the Tribune.
Smith drew his Taser while Fox and the other officer drew their firearms. All three reported that Harmon threatened to cut them and that they saw him reaching for his pocket.
Investigators did find a knife on the ground at the scene, according to the newspaper.
In the footage, Fox can be heard shouting, "I'll f-ing shoot you!" before he fires off three rounds just as the other officer discharges his stun gun.
Harmon was handcuffed and transported to the a hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Prosecutors in Salt Lake City said the shooting was justified because the officers feared for their lives. Harmon's niece Alisha Shaw pushed back against such claims.
"They just murdered him flat out," she told the Guardian. "They are lying. There is no way they were threatened by anything. He was only trying to get away."
Authorities declined to comment on the case, but Chief Mike Brown told the news outlet they "trust the process and support the decision from district attorney Sam Gill.
"I believe our officers have the training and judgment and ability to make split-second decisions in dynamic situations."
It's rare for police officers to be charged and even more rare for them to be convicted in such cases as the law allows the use of lethal force if they perceive a threat.
"He was just being profiled," Shaw added. "Why do we have to fight so hard for justice? All we want is to be treated equal as a black person instead of being profiled and looked at as if we were a threat."