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Darrien Hunt: Was Race a Motive in Police Killing of Sword-Wielding Man?

By    |   Monday, 15 Sep 2014 01:12 PM

Darrien Hunt of Utah was shot and killed by police while carrying a sword on Wednesday, and his family says racism played a significant role in his death.

According to the Deseret News, the 22-year-old son of a black father and a white mother was carrying a Samurai-type sword near businesses along Redwood Road in Saratoga Springs when someone called in a suspicious person report to police. Officers arrived around 9:40 a.m., and shot Hunt during their interaction.

On Friday, Hunt's mother said she believes her son was killed because he was black.

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"I'm in Saratoga Springs because it's a safe little community, and they killed him. They killed my son because he's black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away," Susan Hunt said Friday.

"Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family."

Later that day, Saratoga Springs police released a brief statement denying that race played a role in the incident.

"We sympathize with Mr. Hunt’s family during this difficult time. Any claim that our officers’ actions were a result of Mr. Hunt’s race are completely unfounded and speculative," read the statement. "Our officers responded to a call for service and addressed the situation that was presented to them. The Utah County Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the incident."

On Saturday, the police department imparted a new detail of the encounter saying Hunt had been aggressive towards approaching officers.

"When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot," said Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor. "There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers."

The lawyer representing Hunt's family questioned the police's story, however, saying an autopsy showed that Hunt was shot numerous times in the back, indicating that he was running away from the officers.

"This is consistent with statements made by witnesses on the scene, who report that Darrien was shot to death while running away from police," Randall Edwards said in a statement. "It would appear difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these facts with a story that Darrien was lunging toward the officers when he was shot."

Susan Hunt said the last time she saw her 22-year-old son was when he left the house wearing a nice shirt, and added that she suspected he might be going out to apply for jobs.

"I believe that maybe my son thought, 'Maybe I'll try to get a job at Panda [Express], maybe this sword will impress them,'" she said. "[He probably] thought he was cool with the sword. He was more of a little kid trying to be a teenager."

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Darrien Hunt of Utah was shot and killed by police while carrying a sword on Wednesday, and his family says racism played a significant role in his death.
darrien hunt, killed, police, sword
Monday, 15 Sep 2014 01:12 PM
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