Oct. 8 (UPI) — Salt Lake City authorities released body camera footage last week of a police officer fatally shooting a man as he ran away and ruled the shooting to be justified.
The incident occurred August 13 when Salt Lake police officers stopped Patrick Harmon, 50, for allegedly riding his bicycle in an erratic manner and not having a red safety light. Harmon had an open warrant for an aggravated assault charge and was placed under arrest. But before officers could place him in handcuffs, Harmon ran.
Body camera footage collected from all three officers on the scene show Harmon running away and then turning his head back towards officer Clinton Fox, who yells out, “I’ll [expletive] shoot you!”
Fox then three shots at Harmon. The officer hit him in the arm, side and left hip. Harmon later died from the bullet wounds.
According to an investigation by Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gill, Fox claimed Harmon said, “I’ll [expletive] stab you!” and allegedly had an open blade in his hand as he ran away. Police said they found a knife lying next to Harmon’s body.
“Officer Fox said he feared if he didn’t immediately use deadly force, Mr. Harmon was going to stab him and/or the other officers,” Gill said in the investigative report. “Officer Fox said that in ten years of law enforcement and two military deployments, it was the scariest situation he had ever been in.”
Gill concluded that the shooting was justified under Utah state law because Fox “reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself and/or others.”
Harmon’s most recent address was a homeless shelter, reported the Salt Lake Tribune. Harmon’s sister, Antoinette Harmon, told the Guardian that he may have been struggling with mental illness and had not been in contact with his family since the death of a brother several years ago.
The investigative report said Harmon “seemed nervous” while interacting with police and said he was “talking about getting right with God and doing work for God.”
“He was scared. All he did was run,” said Adriane Harmon, Harmon’s niece.
“The police are going to stick together no matter if it’s wrong or right,” Antoinette Harmon said. “They don’t care about black lives.”