Police in Salt Lake City, Utah, fatally shot a black man from behind as he tried to flee from them.
Patrick Harmon, 50, was reportedly pulled over by Officer Kris Smith because he was riding a bicycle without a light. The video shows officers asking him to remove his backpack. As he took his bag off, the cops asked him to turn around and put his arms around his back.
However, as the officers tried to arrest him, Harmon attempted to escape. That is when officer Clinton Fox fired three bullets at him, before shouting, “I’ll fucking shoot you!”
Harmon died on the spot.
The black man’s family and civil rights activists believe the incident was a result of racial profiling.
However, the district attorney’s office had a different story and claimed Harmon threatened the police officers and said “I’ll cut you.” They also said that he turned and faced officers with a knife as he was running.
Salt Lake officials also arugued the shooting was justified as they cops feared for their lives.
However, the footage of the incident doesn’t show Harmon making any of the threats.
“They just murdered him flat out. They are lying. There is no way they were threatened by anything. He was only trying to get away. He was scared. All he did was run. It hurts … They said ‘I’m going to kill you’ and they shot him three times. He’s just moaning on the ground,” said Alisha Shaw, Harmon’s niece.
Antoinette Harmon, his sister, said, “The police are going to stick together no matter if it’s wrong or right. They don’t care about black lives.”
Police officers involved in the incident are not facing any charges.
The incident once again triggered debate on the spike of police brutality cases in the United States. Activists called Harmon’s killing as a “brutal execution.”
“That officer disregarded his de-escalation training. It’s just brutal. How could anyone with eyes and ears believe that that officer was justified?” said Lex Scott, a local Black Lives Matter organizer.
A number of cases have emerged that show police officers’ use of excessive force on suspects, however, they are hardly ever made accountable for their acts or charged.
Recently, circuit Judge Timothy Wilson acquitted white ex-police officer Jason Stockley in a fatal shooting of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith. The man was shot five times in his car after attempting to elude Stockley and his partner, who had chased the suspect over an alleged drug deal.
In another incident, a police officer in Oklahoma shot a man in front of his home, ignoring pleas from his neighbor that he was deaf and was unable to hear the commands. Madgiel Sanchez was reportedly holding a metal pipe and authorities repeatedly asked him to drop the tool before opening fire on him.
The man succumbed to his injuries and died. One of the officers involved in the shooting was only placed on administrative leave and the other is still on active duty.
Police brutality and racial profiling are claiming lives across the country. The surge in cases initiated a protest by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game and instead chose to kneel down.
Today, the protest has taken the form of a movement where several people have joined Kaepernick and they choose to #TakeAknee in protest of police brutality and racism.
President Donald Trump last month attacked the protesting players and urged NFL owners to fire players who do not stand for the anthem, claiming it was disrespectful to the country’s military.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Joshua Lott