Police in Saratoga Springs, Utah, fatally shot 22-year-old Darrien Hunt at least four times from behind, according to the official state autopsy released on Tuesday. In the law-enforcement version of events, Hunt either “lunged” or “charged at” officers with a samurai sword. But according to his family, the two-and-a-half-foot rounded blade was a toy, and Hunt was just dressed as one of his favorite anime characters.
A narrative in the autopsy states an officer fired three shots when Hunt charged at him, swinging the sword, as the officer got out of his car. Hunt ran away and police fired four more times as they chased him, the report says. […]
The autopsy shows four of the gunshots found in Hunt’s body traveled back to front. A fifth shot that struck his left arm appears to have come from the front and a sixth traveled downward after entering the back of his forearm.
“I think that means they were pursuing him, he was running away. He was probably sacred to death,” said a lawyer for Hunt’s family. (An independent autopsy commissioned by the family resulted in similar findings.)
Complicating things further is the photo above. Utah chief deputy attorney Tim Taylor, who is investigating the shooting, said Hunt dealt cordially with the officers before things turned violent, and that the young man “was calm and was looking for a ride” prior to allegedly attacking with the sword. An investigation into whether or not the shooting was justified will be completed by November 5.
“I don’t think anyone would have thought twice if it wasn’t someone with an afro,” said Susan Hunt, Darrien’s mother, who is white, adding that she hopes “the officers involved will never hold a gun again in their hands.”