Police officers have been accused of committing a “brutal execution” in Salt Lake City, Utah after shooting and killing 50-year-old Patrick Harmon, who was stopped by police for riding his bicycle without a light. When Harman attempted to flee, officer Clinton Fox shouted, “I’ll fucking shoot you!” before only seconds later firing three bullets into his back as he ran in the opposite direction.
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) October 5, 2017
Salt Lake officials have maintained that officers were justified in their use of deadly force, claiming that the police officers feared for their lives. According to The Guardian, the district attorney’s office claims that Harmon threatened to “cut” them, before turning and facing them with a knife. The video, however, paints an altogether different picture, as Harmon can be seen clearly advancing in the other direction. No audible threat can be heard in the video, either.
An exasperated Harmon was initially stopped because officers saw him “ride his bicycle across all six road lanes and a median” and didn’t have the “required red rear tail light.” Minutes later, Harmon had been killed.
“They just murdered him flat-out,” Alisha Shaw, Harmon’s niece, said. “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,” said Adriane Harmon, another niece, after witnessing the footage. “It hurts … They said ‘I’m going to kill you’ and they shot him three times. He’s just moaning on the ground.”
According to The Guardian, “Salt Lake City has previously received national praise for its “de-escalation” training, aimed at encouraging officers to communicate with people and limit confrontation and use of lethal force. The department even gives out “de-escalation awards” to recognize officers who rely on these tactics.”
Police Chief Mike Brown said in a statement, “We trust the process and support the decision from district attorney Sim Gill. I believe our officers have the training and judgement and ability to make split-second decisions in dynamic situations.” He added, “Officer Fox reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself and/or others and therefore his use of deadly force was ‘justified’.”
While Salt Lake City’s police department may have reveled in praise for their progressive policies, it has obviously failed in implementing them. It is not police officer’s job to use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect. In his gross unpreparedness to carry out his duties, Officer Fox is nothing more than a murderer with a badge.