Patrick Harmon, a 50-year-old Salt Lake City man, was shot and killed during an August arrest while trying to flee from police.
The Salt Lake City District Attorney’s office released the body cam footage after their investigation, and determined that the shooting of Harmon was justified.
What events led up to the shooting?
Salt Lake City Police Officer Kris Smith pulled over Harmon after catching him cutting across six lanes of traffic on his bicycle in Salt Lake City in August, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Harmon’s bicycle was missing its red tail light, which is required by local law.
Harmon was stopped by Smith and asked for identification.
According to reports, Harmon gave a “couple of different names” before police were able to correctly verify his identity.
Once law enforcement identified Harmon, they discovered that he had outstanding felony warrants for aggravated assault.
When officers told Harmon that he was going to be arrested, he became “visibly emotional and distraught,” and attempted to flee the scene.
According to the Tribune, Harmon “turned quickly” to face Smith and two other officers who had been called in for backup.
The two officers drew their weapons, and Smith drew his Taser gun.
The three officers all reported that Harmon threatened them with a knife, and confirmed that they saw him reaching toward his pocket.
In the video, one of the officers can be heard warning Harmon, saying, “I’ll f***ing shoot you!” before firing three rounds.
Harmon immediately goes down, and can be heard moaning and crying after the shots were fired.
He was handcuffed and transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time after.
The Tribune reported that a knife was found on the ground at the scene of the crime.
How was the shooting justified?
Salt Lake City prosecutors deemed the shooting justified because the police officers feared for their lives during the altercation
Police Chief Mike Brown told the Tribune that local authorities “trust the process and support the decision from [the] district attorney.”
“I believe our officers have the training and judgement and ability to make split-second decisions in dynamic situations,” Brown added.
What did Harmon’s family say about the shooting?
Harmon’s niece, Alisha Shaw, refused to accept the decision on the case.
“They just murdered him flat out,” Shaw told The Guardian. “They are lying. There is no way they were threatened by anything. He was only trying to get away.”
She added, “He was just being profiled. 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.”
Another one of Harmon’s nieces, Adriane Harmon, said that her uncle was simply “scared.”
“All he did was run,” she said. “It hurts … They said ‘I’m going to kill you’ and they shot him three times. He’s just moaning on the ground.”
You can watch the video here.