SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The family of black man fatally shot after he ran from police in Utah said Monday that body-camera footage of the shooting shows that the officer should lose his job.
Watching the video of the Aug. 13 shooting that killed Patrick Harmon is heartbreaking and shows police didn’t do enough to de-escalate the situation, said his sister Antoinette Harmon.
“They need to stop killing people,” she said. “Who gave police the right to be the judge and jury to take people’s loved ones?”
Her comments came after weekend protests in Salt Lake City by Black Lives Matter and other groups following a ruling that the shooting was legally justified.
The footage appears to show Harmon, 50, shot from behind after Officer Clinton Fox yelled “I’ll f….ing shoot you.” The images that have fueled public anger about the shooting.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, however, said a slowed-down version shows Harmon turning toward officers. He was struck in the upper left buttock and left arm at a trajectory that would fit a pivot toward offers, Gill said.
Police said Harmon had a knife in his hand and threatened to stab or cut them. Though a knife isn’t discernable in the video, officers found one at the scene.
Harmon was stopped after a Salt Lake City Police officer saw him ride his bicycle across all six lanes of traffic on a downtown street and noticed that he didn’t have a required rear light.
Police started to arrest him for outstanding warrants. The video shows Harmon looking distraught but cooperating before he suddenly breaks into the run that ended with his death.
Antoinette Harmon said her brother suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
His niece Alisha Shaw also remembered him as a family protector who was “bubbly, funny, just full of life.”
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown has said his officers have the training and judgment to make split-second decisions.
Protesters have also called for Gill’s resignation as the county’s top prosecutor. Gill said he believes protesters have an important civic role, but he stood by the decision not to file criminal charges against under Utah law. He found Fox, who is white, was legally justified because he could have reasonably feared death or serious injury.
“I’m not going to go anywhere for trying to apply the law that’s given and struggle through it,” he said.
The shooting comes amid an intense debate throughout the United States about race and policing following the fatal shooting of many black victims.
High-profile cases in Utah have included 22-year-old Darrien Hunt, who was killed while holding a samurai sword in 2014, and Abdi Mohamed, a teenager who was wounded after police said he refused to drop a broom stick in a 2016 fight.