The case of Darrien Hunt is almost starting to resemble the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson based upon the huge differences between the two stories being told. Police officers say they shot Mr. Hunt four times when he lunged at them with a sword. The Hunt family has a dramatically different story to tell, claiming that the cops shot him in the back.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Susan Hunt, the mother of Darrien Hunt, said her son purchased the cosplay samurai sword at gift shop. Police responded to a complaint of a "suspicious individual" with a sword and the initial police statement claimed Hunt had "brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword" before they shot him. Mrs. Hunt also believes the police officers overreacted because of the race of her son.
"They killed my son because he's black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away… Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family."The Utah County Attorney's Office officially denies the officer's actions were the result of Mr. Hunt's race.
Police say Hunt was holding a blunt-edged fake replica of a katana, a Japanese sword that was apparently created as part of a cosplay costume in order to cosplay as Mugen from the popular anime Samurai Champloo. For example, this Twitter tweet gives an example of the character Hunt apparently liked to dress up as for fun.
This is what Hunt was wearing when he was killed. Compare to the character from Samurai Champloo. Was he cosplaying? pic.twitter.com/TlFS49OTYJEven if Hunt had purchased the sword with the intention of using it to cosplay, a recently released photo shows Hunt before the shooting and it's apparent he is not dressed as the anime character (shown above).
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) September 15, 2014
Police reports also claim Hunt "brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword" before they shot him. On Monday, Tim Taylor, the chief deputy attorney for Utah county, told the Guardian that Hunt was alleged to have lunged at the police officers in front of a bank, which is several dozen yards from where he actually died in front of a Panda Express. Police say that Hunt was first "shot at" in front of the bank, although it's not clear when he was struck the four times by bullets. Taylor remained unclear in his statement.
"Whether or not the individual lunged again at point two, the other location, I don't know about that," Taylor said.
Randall Edwards, an attorney for Hunt's family, noted that "this appears to be a major change in the official story."
According the Guardian, Hunt's family also claims a a private autopsy proves Hunt was shot in the back six times. Hunt was shot once in a shoulder, once in the back, once in an elbow, twice in a leg and once in a hand.
"The shot that killed Darrien, which was straight in the back, did not have an exit wound. It raises the question as to how you can lunge at someone and be shot in the back at the same time."Witnesses seem divided on what actually occurred. Mrs. Hunt says she received a photo of her son standing peacefully next to the cops moments before the shooting and the samurai sword is not being brandished at anyone. Multiple witnesses say they saw Hunt running away from the police before being shot. Some say he was quite distressed while others say he appeared calm.
On Sunday, the Saratoga Springs police department responded to these types of allegations by writing a now-deleted Facebook post that claimed the media was exaggerating reports of Darrien Hunt being shot in the back.
"Everyone should remember that the news outlets have ratings they need to gain. They don't report facts. They use innuendo, opinion and rumor and then report it as fact. The same thing happens here on FB and other social media. The real facts are being determined by an independent investigation, and not in a rushed or haphazard manner. When those facts are gathered and analyzed, they will be reviewed by independent legal authorities. There is no cover up and there is no corruption. While this process is played out, we ask all persons to have patience with the process and allow the process that has been legally established to go forth. No one has been charged with any crime. The law has established that there must be probable cause for charges to be filed. Then even when and if charges were filed, in this country, all persons are innocent until proven guilty. This protection is extended to all persons, including cops."An investigation is currently underway into the actions of the police officers but chief deputy attorney Taylor admits the cops involved in the shooting still hadn't been interviewed almost a week later even though normal protocol called for an interview within 48 to 72 hours.
"We haven't even interviewed the officers yet. We've talked briefly with them just to kind of get an idea of what the scene was at the time."The Hunt family attorney says he was surprised by this revelation.
"I'm stunned. I find that almost incomprehensible. You want to speak with the officers almost immediately afterwards, when their memories are fresh and before they have had a chance to corroborate their stories. Do we trust the police to do a thorough investigation to find any kind of wrongdoing, and to ultimately punish the wrongdoer? I think the jury is still out on this one. If it appears that there was some sort of criminal activity on the part of the officer, obviously we would like to have that followed through with."Taylor says the county attorney's report will not be finished until the Utah medical examiner's office completes their autopsy of Darrien Hunt.