"Those Stupid Cops Thought They Had To Murder Over A Toy"

Susan Hunt holds a family photo.
Susan Hunt holds a family photo.
Susan Hunt holds a family photo.

Susan Hunt wants you to believe that it is the fault of Saratoga Springs, Utah, police that her son Darrien is dead.

It is undisputed—at least for now—that the 22-year-old man was shot in the back, multiple times.


Susan Hunt claims that the racism of the officers caused the death of her bi-racial son.

And yet, there seems to be far, far more to the story than she wants to admit.

Saratoga Springs police were called about 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to investigate a “suspicious” man walking near businesses along Redwood Road while carrying a “Samurai-type sword.”

“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,” a prepared statement from Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor said.

“There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers.”

The statement was issued a day after Darrien Hunt’s mother told the Deseret News that Saratoga Springs police killed him because he was black.

Randall Edwards, an attorney for the Hunt family, said Saturday that an independent autopsy was performed at the family’s request. He says it shows that Darrien Hunt was shot “numerous times, all from the rear.”

“This is consistent with statements made by witnesses on the scene, who report that Darrien was shot to death while running away from police,” Edwards said in a statement. “It would appear difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these facts with a story that Darrien was lunging toward the officers when he was shot.”

Hunt, 22, had reportedly been walking in the area of Crossroads Boulevard and Redwood Road near a Panda Express restaurant, a gas station, an auto parts store and a credit union.

A witness later sent Hunt’s mother, Susan Hunt, a photo of police confronting her son just before shots being fired. In the picture, two officers are standing on either side of Darrien. The sword is not visible in the picture. The family believes, based on the limited information they’ve been given, that at some point during that confrontation, a shot was fired by police. Susan Hunt doesn’t know if that shot hit her son or not. But she suspects he then ran toward the Panda Express, where she believes multiple shots were fired and he was struck and killed while running away.

Darrien Hunt walks down the streets of Saratoga Springs, Utah, with an unsheathed katana, a kind of Japanese sword.
Darrien Hunt walks down the streets of Saratoga Springs, Utah, with a katana, a kind of Japanese sword, in his left hand, moments before his fatal confrontation with police. The photo was shot by a passerby.

Despite how the mother (and the media) seem to want to fan the flames of racism, the glaring elephant in the room is that a relatively athletic-looking young man was walking the streets of the town with a “samurai sword,” and “acting distressed” according to witnesses who called police to respond to the perceived threat.

A katana ( the most common "samurai sword" in America).
A representative katana ( the most common “samurai sword” in America).

There was a confrontation with officers who took position on either side of Darrien Hunt (according to the witnesses cited in the article above), and Darrien Hunt refused to respond to police commands. If he was indeed bracketed and turned to run from one officer, that might suggest that he was running towards another, giving the officer behind him a valid reason to open fire.

I’m interested in discovering where the officers felt that he was running, and if he was still armed with the katana at the time shots were fired.

Did they feel that Darrien Hunt was running from them, merely trying to escape, or did they fear he was running at one of them, or at the customers of the Panda Express restaurant, where a man with a sword could melee with his weapon in close quarters against unarmed customers, inflicting horrible wounds?

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Law enforcmenet officers conduct an investigation of the shooting of Darrien  Hunt by Saratoga Springs police.
Law enforcmenet officers conduct an investigation of the shooting of Darrien Hunt by Saratoga Springs police.

Mrs. Hunt claims that the sword was a dull decorative sword… as if the police could have know that.

Mrs. Hunt said:

“Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family.”

No, ma’am.

Your (obviously) emotionally disturbed son took a deadly weapon and brandished it in public, and bears the entire blame for creating this situation. He refused to respond to police commands, and refused to surrender as ordered. He instead chose to run, an act that at least one officer may have interpreted as a threat to either a fellow officer, or to other people in the area.

Race? Race likely had little to do with the police decision to open fire on Darrien Hunt, though recent studies suggests that officers both black and white are not only equally as likely to fire on a given black suspect in identical circumstances, but they are both more likely to hold their fire longer on black suspects:

One study of police data in St. Louis concluded that black and white officers were equally likely to shoot African-American suspects, while another experiment found that both officers and civilians in simulated situations hesitated significantly longer before firing at black suspects than they did at whites.

Saratoga Springs officers were not responding to 911 calls over a child holding Pokemon cards or an iPod. They responded to calls of an adult male brandishing a samurai sword in public, and when confronted, he refused to surrender.


Perhaps, Mrs. Hunt, your son bears some responsibility for his actions?

Until there is compelling evidence suggesting otherwise, this sounds like an unfortunate, and yet entirely justified shooting where race likely played little to no role at all, and a situation in which officers may have prevented injuries to other citizens.

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