The lack of information initially released regarding police gunning down a 22-year-old black man in Saratoga Springs, Utah has many, including his mother, wondering if police are trying to cover up what really happened. The man’s name is Darrien Hunt, and his mother Susan Hunt reported to the Associated Press that the official police statement claiming that Hunt lunged at them with a sword is misleading and untrue. Hunt reports that the “sword” her son was carrying was actually a blunt-edged toy version of a Japanese Katana sword that her son had purchased at an Asian gift shop. Officers also allege that Hunt had lunged at them with the sword, but an independent autopsy shows that Hunt was shot in the back, which supports eye witness accounts that he was running away from officers when he was shot.
Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor reports that police received a report regarding a “suspicious” individual with a sword. Taylor states, “When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, preliminary evidence suggests that Mr. Hunt brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot. There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers.”
Hunt’s mother feels different though. She states, “Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy…I’ve been begging the police, why from the time I saw the pictures of you just standing by him with his hands to his side, does he end up seconds later with a bullet in him? No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he’s running away.”
With many local news outlets reporting on the discrepancies between the official police statement, the independent autopsy, and eye witness accounts, the police department made a Facebook post to address the controversy. The post stated, “Everyone should remember that the news outlets have ratings they need to gain. They don’t report facts. They use innuendo, opinion and rumor and then report it as fact….There is no coverup and there is no corruption.” The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the statement was deleted not long after it was posted on Sunday.