A Salt Lake City police officer shot and killed a man who assaulted him with a shovel on Thursday, and the argument and fight that proceeded the shooting were filmed by the body camera he was wearing.
According to the Daily Mail, the officer approached 42-year-old James Barker, after area residents had called to report suspicious activity on his part. In video of the incident captured by the police officer’s body camera, Barker claims that he is in the area offering to shovel snow. The cop, who has not been named, points out that there is little snow on the ground, telling Barker that neighbors had reported him.
During the confrontation, Barker became increasingly defensive and agitated, refusing to give the officer his name. According to Fox 13, the situation escalated about a minute into the conversation, when the cop disputed Barker’s claim that he was offering to shovel snow.
“Why aren’t you giving me your name?,” the officer inquired. “You know you’re required by law to give me your name when I’m doing an investigation or you can be arrested for failure to give me information.”
Barker became agitated, shouting at the officer. After radioing for backup, the footage shows the cop telling Barker to calm down, then pushing him away. Barker then threatens the officer with the shovel, and swings it at him. The officer’s body camera was damaged by the shovel, according to police, and stopped filming shortly before Barker was shot.
Witness Richard Grow reportedly saw the fight between the two men, before the cop shot Barker three times in the stomach at point-blank range, killing him.
“One guy flies off the porch, somebody else flies off the porch and lands on him,” he recalled. “I’m thinking this must be two roommates who came out of the house and are going to settle on the lawn. But then next thing I saw, he pulled out a gun and shot him.”
The officer was transported to a hospital, where he was found to have multiple fractures. After treatment, he was placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
Protesters in Salt Lake City denounced the shooting, which they claimed was unnecessary, in a Saturday afternoon rally. The activist group Utah Against Police Brutality questioned the practice of officers being investigated by their own department, calling for an independent third-party to look into the case. Similar panels have been suggested for other police shootings nationwide, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
Though Barker was arrested in the past for disturbing the peace and failure to give his identity, he had no record of major or violent crimes prior to the shovel attack and his subsequent shooting by the unnamed officer.
[Image: Salt Lake City Police Department via Twitter/ Cole Phelps]