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Cop Cleared After Appearing to Shoot, Kill Man as He Ran Away

Activists and family members outraged in Patrick Harmon case
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2017 3:39 PM CDT
DA Clears Cop Who Appeared to Shoot, Kill Man as He Ran Away
Patrick Harmon   (The Harmon Family)

Two months after police in Salt Lake City, Utah, shot and killed 50-year-old black man Patrick Harmon, the Salt Lake County district attorney determined Wednesday their use of deadly force was justified. Soon after, the police department released body cam footage of the shooting, sparking outrage among many in the community who believe Officer Clinton Fox shot Harmon in the back unnecessarily, CNN reports. Even District Attorney Sim Gill says when he first saw the video he thought, "Oh my god, this isn't right," CBS News reports. But after slowing the video down Gill says one could see Harmon pivoting toward the officers. Since Harmon was shot in the side, and since a knife police claim Harmon was holding was found at the scene, Gill determined the officers feared for their safety.

Members of Harmon's family say they see things differently, especially after viewing the footage Thursday. They say Harmon, who had been pulled over by the officers after riding his bicycle across six lanes of traffic without a red tail light on Aug. 13, was bipolar and schizophrenic. One of Harmon's nieces, Alisha Shaw, told the Guardian, "They just murdered him flat-out." The Salt Lake City Police Department had received praise before the shooting for its implementation of de-escalation training, which had resulted in more than two-and-a-half years without a fatal officer-involved shooting in the city. But, according to a local Black Lives Matter activist, that training failed Patrick Harmon. “That officer disregarded his de-escalation training,” Lex Scott says. “How could anyone with eyes and ears believe that that officer was justified?” (More Utah stories.)

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