Body cam video released after DA rules deadly shooting by SLCPD officer ‘justified’

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 4, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has found that the use of deadly force in August by a Salt Lake City Police Department officer was justified.

The incident in question happened on the night of Aug. 13, and resulted in the fatal shooting of Patrick Harmon, 50, by SLCPD Officer Clinton Fox.

According to information from the office of Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, Harmon rode a bicycle across all six lanes of State Street in the dark, and a nearby officer, Kris Smith, noticed that Harmon did not have the required red tail light on his bike.

Smith stopped Harmon and asked for identification, the SLCDA’s statement says, and Harmon gave the officer several different names and different spellings. Smith called for backup, and soon after, discovered Harmon was wanted on active felony warrants, one for aggravated assault.

Fox and a SLCPD Officer Scott Robinson arrived on the scene as backup, and while being arrested, Harmon broke away and ran. As officers pursued him, Harmon reportedly turned to face officers, showed a knife, and said “I will cut you,” according to the SLCDA’s statement.

Fox fired his gun three times at Harmon, who was treated at the scene and later was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the statement.

” … the D.A.’s Office declines to file criminal charges in the above referenced matter because we conclude that Salt Lake City Police Department (“SLCPD”) Officer Fox’s use of deadly force was ‘justified’ under Utah State law,” says the statement from Gill’s office.

The report by the DA’s office said body camera footage of the incident was evaluated, as was evidence at the scene. All three officers were interviewed extensively.

A portion of the report’s account of what Fox said starts below:

Officer Fox said Officer Smith told Mr. Harmon he was under arrest for the outstanding warrants and asked Mr. Harmon to remove his backpack. Officer Fox said Mr. Harmon complied.

Officer Fox said the other officers took Mr. Harmon’s hands to place him in handcuffs.
Officer Fox said as soon as Mr. Harmon’s hands went behind his back, Mr. Harmon bolted and ran. Officer Fox said he believed Officer Smith yelled at Mr. Harmon to stop.

Officer Fox said he saw Mr. Harmon’s hands move to his right pants pocket. Officer Fox said he heard Mr. Harmon say he was going to cut them, or that they (the officers) would get cut. Officer Fox said he quickly realized Officer Robinson was in a dangerous position if Mr. Harmon produced a knife. Officer Fox said he believed Mr. Harmon could have stabbed Officer Robinson. 

Officer Fox said Mr. Harmon stopped running, turned and yelled: “I’ll fucking stab you.” Officer Fox said Mr. Harmon came at the officers with something in his hand. Officer Fox said  he was terrified by how close Mr. Harmon was to the officers when Mr. Harmon stopped and turned towards them. Officer Fox said when Mr. Harmon turned towards the officers, Officer Fox saw that Mr. Harmon had an open knife in his hand. Officer Fox said he was afraid Mr. Harmon was going to stab him and/or the other officers.

Officer Fox said he didn’t know whether the other officers could see or perceive that Mr. Harmon was armed with an open knife. Officer Fox said he was worried about Officers Smith and Robinson if they tried to go “hands-on” with Mr. Harmon.

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. Officer Fox said he remembered he felt like Mr. Harmon was going to stab him. Officer Fox said he aimed his weapon at Mr. Harmon and fired three times.

Officer Fox said that in 10 years of law enforcement and two military deployments, it
was the scariest situation he had ever been in. Officer Fox said Mr. Harmon immediately gained the “upper hand” when Mr. Harmon produced the open knife as he stopped running and turned to face the officers. Officer Fox said he felt like Mr. Harmon presented a situation from which Officer Fox could not recover.

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