Biracial Man Shot Dead by Cops in Small Utah Town Was Shot in the Back, Autopsy Reveals

The victim's mother says the cops shot her son because he is black.

A 22-year-old biracial man was shot dead by cops in a small Utah town last week after, they claim, he charged them with a sword, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Details over Darren Hunt's shooting last Wednesday morning are not clear, but an autopsy revealed that officers from the Saratoga Springs Police Department him shot six times and the bullet that killed him entered from his back.

Hunt’s aunt, Cindy Moss, told the Salt Lake Tribune that Saratoga Springs police have not communicated with the family since the shooting. "They say if you have any questions, call us. But then they won’t tell us what happened," Moss said.

Moss says the family has been shown a photo of Hunt speaking with police. "He is relaxed and his hands are down to his side," she said. "We want to know how it went from that to a shooting."

Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor said Hunt attacked the officers.

"When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot," Taylor said in a statement.

The family is not buying it. They believe race played a role in the shooting, and say the sword Darren Hunt was carrying was a Katana, a souvenir sword bought from an Asian gift store that has a rounded edge, not a blade. Susan Hunt, Darren's mother, told the Desert News: "They killed my son because he's black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away. Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family."

Saratoga Springs police denied that race played a role, and published a statement on its Facebook page asking that the community not rush to judgement.

"Everyone should remember that the news outlets have ratings they need to gain," the statement read. "They don’t report facts. They use innuendo, opinion and rumor and then report it as fact. The real facts are being determined by an independent investigation, and not in a rushed or haphazard manner. When those facts are gathered and analyzed, they will be reviewed by independent legal authorities."

The Hunt family's lawyer, Randall Edwards, said that the investigation needs to reveal what justification the cops had in taking the young man's life. "We have witnesses saying that he was running when he was shot," Edwards said. "The family wants to know precisely what happened."

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior editor at AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @Russian_Starr.

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