Crime

Photos Of Cop Who Shot Deaf Man Released (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani
Red and blue lights from police vehiclesRed and blue lights from police vehicles

Photos of the police trooper who shot and killed an unarmed, deaf father on Aug. 18 in North Carolina have been released.

Officer Jermaine Saunders shot and killed Daniel Kevin Harris, a hearing and speech-impaired 29-year-old, after stopping him for speeding, the Daily Mail reports.

Harris led Saunders on a brief pursuit before he eventually stopped and left his car.

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A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

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A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

However, Harris' family believe he may not have realized the police officer was attempting to pull him over.

"He could not hear their warnings," Harris' brother Jay explained. "He could not hear their commands to stop or to stay away from them."

Witnesses say they saw Saunders shoot the unarmed man almost immediately after he exited his car, and that Harris appeared to be using sign language to communicate.

"He was unarmed, and he is a deaf individual," Jay said. "And I think that he was just afraid."

However, Saunders -- unaware the man was deaf -- only saw the man advancing and disobeying his commands.

After firing a shot, the deaf father died immediately.

Many were outraged after the incident occurred, criticizing Saunder's "shoot first, ask questions" later approach.

‘You’re pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped," said Harris' neighbor Mark Barringer. "To me, what happened is totally unacceptable. They should have de-escalated and been trained to realize that this is an entirely different situation."

Meanwhile, Kevin's heartbroken family is trying to use their tragedy to enact change by campaigning to mandate states have their DMVs install a "DEAF" alert to pop up when officers search for a car’s license plate.

The family also plans to create a foundation in the future to "educate and provide law enforcement [with] proper training on how to confront deaf people."

Since Harris' death, the family has also created a crowdfunding campaign on YouCaring to cover Kevin's memorial and cremation costs.

"He was unarmed when shot and killed by a state trooper," they write. "His tragic death could have been prevented. Police brutality ends NOW."

Nearly 580 people have donated $25,625 of the fundraiser's $30,000 goal.

Sources: Daily MailYouCaring / Photo Credit: Tony Webster/Flickr, NCDPS via Daily Mail, Facebook via Daily Mail, YouCaring

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