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Another cop got away with shooting a black man in the back

by Alex Lubben
Oct 6 2017, 10:12am

Disturbing footage of another policeman shooting a black man in the back has surfaced after the Salt Lake City district attorney cleared the cop involved, ruling that the use of deadly force was justified.

The Wednesday ruling dropped the charges against the cop who shot 50-year-old Patrick Harmon around 1o:05 on the evening of August 13, after pulling him over on his bike for riding without a light and crossing several lanes of traffic, according to prosecutors.

At the beginning of the police bodycam footage released Wednesday to local press, Harmon is compliant but seems upset about being arrested. He then turns his back on the three officers on the scene, and tries to run. Officer Clinton Fox shoots him three times, and claimed that Harmon had pulled a knife and turned toward one of the officers. That isn’t clear from the footage.

As Harmon runs from the scene, Fox can be heard yelling “I’ll fucking shoot you!”

Fox told investigators that he “felt terrified by how close Mr. Harmon was to the officers,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The district attorney’s office released a photo of a knife, taken by investigators at the scene, that Harmon was allegedly wielding.

Protesters had demanded the footage be released, and as of Friday there was no organized response to the ruling.

“They just murdered him flat-out,” said Alisha Shaw, Harmon’s niece, according to the Guardian, which reported first on Harmon’s death. “They are lying. There is no way they were threatened by anything. He was only trying to get away.”

Harmon had warrants out for his arrest — one for failing to show up for sentencing hearing for aggravated assault charges, to which he’d plead guilty.

Harmon’s death echoes the police shooting of middle-aged black man Walter Scott in April 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, when he was stopped for a broken brake light on his car and shot in the back as he fled. And several other cases have recently come to light that bear similarities — where a black man is stopped along the side of the road for a minor infraction and it ends violently.

Black men, in particular, are killed at disproportionately high rates, and cops very rarely face charges in cases like these.

“It’s just brutal,” Lex Scott, a local Black Lives Matter organizer told the Guardian. “How could anyone with eyes and ears believe that that officer [Clinton Fox] was justified?”