Two police officers in Saratoga Springs, Utah, will not be charged for shooting and killing Darrien Hunt, a 22-year-old African American, on Sept. 10.
Hunt was reportedly shot six times in the back by Cpl. Matt Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson who confronted him while he was carrying a sword outside a convenience store.
“As Mr. Hunt was speaking with the officers, he abruptly and without any apparent provocation, withdrew the sword from its sheath, and immediately swung or stabbed it toward at least one of the officers,” Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said at a news conference on Monday, noted The Salt Lake Tribune.
After the officers started shooting at Hunt, he began running away, which brought more gunfire.
“He did not stop after being given a verbal command to stop,” added Buhman. “The time it would have taken for Mr. Hunt with the sword still in his hand after having stabbed or sliced at officers, it would have been a matter of seconds before he reached someone else.”
However, there were no people near the Panda Express restaurant where Hunt was killed, to which Buhman responded, "However, the law does not require that other persons be immediately present."
Hunt's family says the replica katana sword was actually a "toy" used for cosplay at conventions.
Buhman admitted the sword was "not sharpened to professional standards," but added that it was not "intentionally dulled."
Attorneys for the Hunt family say that a civil lawsuit will be filed against the Saratoga Springs Police Department.
"There are some unmistakable facts that are not in dispute," Hunt family attorney Robert Sykes told The Salt Lake Tribune. "I reread the state’s autopsy this morning. Every one of the six shots came from behind."
Witness Leonard Zogg says he saw Hunt unsheath his sword, but claims he did not see Hunt swing it as police claimed he stated at the time.
Witness Melanie Wride told police that she saw Hunt pull the sword and swung the object "very hard at the officer who had just pulled up in the police car."
“I think it’s a whitewash. I think it’s an exaggeration,” Sykes told Fox 13 Now. “I think they ignored good hard evidence to be contrary.”
“We do not believe a swing was taken with the sword, as was alleged. But even if that happened, the shooting in the back was not justified,” added Sykes.
Hunt's aunt Cindy Moss told ABC 4 News in September (video below) that her nephew was shot by police "because he's black."
"If those police get off there is something seriously wrong and we should all be scared," added Moss.