Darrien Hunt is yet another representation of the grim statistic that a person of color is killed every 28 hours by a police officer. Hunt was fatally shot by officers in Utah because they claimed it was a sword; Hunt was unarmed and actually carrying a toy sword that was part of a Japanese anime costume he was wearing. A Comic Con event where attendees dress up as comic book characters had recently been held in the area. Similar to the case of John Crawford who was gunned down by police in a Beavercreek Wal-Mart, a bystander called police to report that Hunt was wielding a sword.
The official state autopsy report shows that Hunt had a total of six gunshot wounds, four of which entered from behind. This corroborates the findings of an independent autopsy that concluded that officers shot Hunt in his back while he was running away from officers. While police claim that Hunt had charged them and swung the sword at them, Robert Sykes, an attorney for Hunt’s family, says that there is a picture taken by a witness that shows Hunt smiling as he talked to two officers. Sykes believe the autopsy shows that police were pursuing Hunt, stating, “He was probably scared to death.”
Police also stated in their original report that Hunt, “apparently liked hallucinogens and had taken acid approximately three weeks,” prior to his death. However, both the independent autopsy and the autopsy performed by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office found no drugs in his system.
An open investigation into whether or not officers were justified in shooting Hunt may be completed this week according to chief deputy at the Utah County Attorney’s Office Tim Taylor. The shooting occurred September 10th near a strip mall in Saratoga Springs. Police maintain that race was not a factor, but Hunts family feels that excessive force was used because Hunt was Black.