A Salt Lake City police officer who fatally shot a Black man in August has been cleared of wrongdoing related to the incident, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The city’s District Attorney Sim Gill cleared the officer on Wednesday despite there being body camera footage of him fatally shooting 50-year-old Patrick Harmon.
Harmon—an African American man who reportedly lived in a homeless shelter—was stopped by police after he was allegedly spotted riding his bike across six different lanes without a taillight. When Harmon was asked to provide identification, he gave the officers a few different names; none of which matched any names in their database, according to a report compiled by Gill.
Harmon reportedly notified the officer that there may be a warrant out for his arrest. The officer then walked back to his patrol vehicle to call for backup and two other police officials came on the scene. The officers discovered that Harmon did have arrest warrants, one of which stemmed from an aggravated assault charge that was issued in April.
When the officers tried to apprehend Harmon, he “bolted and ran” and then later turned back towards the cops and threatened to attack them with a knife, according to the DA’s report. Officers saw Harmon reach into his pocket to grab a blade, they said. Body camera footage shows Officer Clinton Fox yelling “I‘ll f—— shoot you!” before shooting Harmon three times. One of the other officers fired his stun gun. After Harmon received medical attention from the officers, he was transported to a local area hospital where he was later pronounced dead, the Salt Lake Tribune reports
The officer responsible for shooting Harmon told investigators that the incident was the “scariest situation he had ever been in.”
Prior to the district attorney’s ruling, Harmon’s loved ones and several activist groups held a demonstration calling for the body cam footage to be released.
Officer Fox is on “modified duty,” said the city’s police chief Mike Brown, who is backing the district attorney’s decision to clear the officer.
This incident came weeks after the acquittal of a White former police officer who shot and killed a Black man in St. Louis in 2011.
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