Body-cam footage released by police in fatal shooting ruled justified
WARNING: The video and photos from police body camera footage depict a shooting and may be disturbing. KUTV is showing only a portion of the video but descriptions of the portion of the video not shown may be disturbing. Read and watch with discretion.
(KUTV) The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office released body camera footage from three police officers involved in an arrest that ended with a fatal shooting.
Wednesday the DA's office released the details about its findings, saying the lethal force was justified under Utah state law, because lethal force was used in defense.
Wednesday evening the DA's office also released body camera footage from each of the three officers from the Aug. 13 fatal shooting of Patrick Harmon. The shooting happened at 1002 South State Street. just after 10 p.m.
A police officer, identified as Officer Smith, originally stopped Harmon as he was riding his bicycle because he didn't have a required tail light, according to documents from the DA. Smith called for backup when Harmon provides different spellings for his name.
After Smith identified Harmon, and determined he had active felony warrants, including one for aggravated assault, the officers attempt to cuff him. The footage shows the inside of the cruiser as police access Harmon's information on a computer.
Harmon seems to explain, in audio that is not clear, that he has a warrant on him but was trying to work it out with a judge. The officers' responses are recorded clearly but Harmon's speech is not picked up by the body camera mics.
Two officers, Fox and Robinson, arrived to assist Smith and asked Harmon to remove his backpack. Harmon seemed upset but did not act angrily on the video.
After removing his backpack, Harmon is told to put his hands behind his back so officers can secure him but as he is doing so, he suddenly withdraws his arms and bolts away from the officers that are behind him and on both sides of him. He pushed one down, reverses direction and heads in the opposite direction. He runs a few steps and half turns while still running away and yells something, that the DA documents said is "I'll cut you," as he apparently draws a knife.
A writer at KUTV thought it sounded more like "I'll (expletive) shoot you!"
It is clear from the different officers' comments on the remainder of the tape -- that KUTV is choosing to air only a portion of -- that an officer who did not fire also saw a knife. During the video officers involved never have a chance to discuss the shooting.
The weapon isn't easily visible in camera footage.
The DA said the knife was recovered from the scene.
One officer, identified as Fox, fires what sounds like three quick shots at Harmon, who falls to the ground immediately. The officer who fired continues to point his gun at Harmon for a few seconds after the shooting, at about one minute into the video.
Smith immediately calls in the code: "244 shots fired, start medical."
He also fires a Taser at Harmon, who isn't moving, face down on the ground. Harmon can be heard groaning or crying, perhaps after the Taser is used. His arm appears to be limp when officers attempt to grab it to cuff him.
The remaining five minutes of video are of the officers cuffing Harmon's his hands behind his back and then attempting to treat his wounds, after strugging to roll him on his back.
To locate the hip wound, officers cut off Harmon's pants and try to stop the blood flow and said to him several times, "Stay with us,"
Sirens can be clearly heard approaching as Fox grabs gloves from his car as the other two officers attend to Harmon.
Radio calls can be heard to shut down the area of State Street where the shooting took place and other officers arrive to assist.
The other officers search forHarmon's wounds, finding one in his arm and another in his hip. Harmon is losing consciousness as the other officers attempt to apply a tourniquet to stop blood loss. As other police arrive, Fox steps away. He seems to sit, away from the victim as others work on Harmon. It appears Fox is sitting with his hands clasped in front of him, as police new to the scene stand in front of him
Voices ask him if he is OK. He replies that he is.