Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A Shameful Act on the Part of Utah County

On September 10th a 22 year-old black kid named Darrien Hunt was out playing alone in a Samurai costume with a replica sword. A calm 911 call informed the police that a person was dressed strangely. Officers confronted Mr. Hunt. The confrontation ended with officers Matt Schauerhamer and Nicholas Judson shooting Darrien Hunt six times in the back.

On Monday Afternoon, November 3rd, Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman released the official report claiming the shooting was justified.

Costume Play In Utah

Costume Play is common in Utah. The event happened days after a huge Comic Con Festival 50 miles to the north. "The World's Largest" scavenger hunt took place in the same week. The neighboring town just opened a thing called "Castle Park" to host the "Fairy Princess Festival" and other costume themed events.

There was a half dozen costume runs in the county between the shooting and official report. The only strange thing about Darrien Hunt's situation was the color of his skin.

The report claimed that officers were justified in the shooting because Mr. Hunt was openly carrying a weapon. This is in a state where open carry is legal and one routinely encounters people openly carrying guns (which are much more dangerous than replica swords).

Saratoga Springs spokesman Owen Jackson all but broke out in praise of the shooting claiming that the officers "performed their duties as police officers with fidelity and professionalism."

While it is impossible to know exactly what took place during the shooting. I believe can and should judge the administrators of Utah County for their conduct during the investigation.

The release of this report was timed to coincide with the fog of the national election. The release of this report took place a full two months after the shooting. The one and only reason that County administers would release the report on Election Day was to avoid scrutiny.

The shooting happened in the heat of a moment. The decision to release the report during the election was a collective deliberate act on the part of Utah County. The decision to release the report under the shadow of the election should receive sharp and severe criticism from all quarters.

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