Darien Hunt received the death penalty for the crime of carrying a toy sword, and his killers were absolved of any criminal wrongdoing after they shot him seven times as he fled.
A prosecutor cleared two Utah police officers of criminal charges in the killing of a young black man wielding a samurai sword, saying Monday the shooting was justified because the man had swung the sword at the officers.
Two Saratoga Springs police officers fired a total of seven shots, Utah County Attorney Jeff R. Buhman told reporters, hitting Darrien Hunt, 22, six times -- at least once in the back as he ran away. Buhman's office investigated the Sept. 10 incident for nearly two months.
Buhman told reporters in a televised news conference that the officers had stopped to talk to Hunt, who was carrying the sword in public -- which is not a crime in Utah -- and that Hunt lunged "abruptly and without apparent provocation."
Sure he did.
The officers opened fire and may have wounded Hunt, who fled with the officers in pursuit. One of them, Cpl. Matthew Schauerhamer, shot Hunt from behind because he feared that Hunt would attack other people, Buhman said.
Sure he did.
Hunt's family is understandably upset.
"All along, we were praying the [prosecutor's] office would show some integrity and honesty in the case, and apparently they chose not to," Hunt's aunt, Cindy Moss, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “It’s disgusting. It’s disgusting, the corruption that’s in that county and city. I guess it’ll all come out in court."
Carrying a sword in public in Utah is not a crime. Carrying a sword in public in Utah and being black apparently is a crime, worthy of instant judgment and sentencing.
The lesson to learn here is that cops will always find a way to craft their story to fit a narrow set of criteria for what they did. And dead men tell no tales.