SLC Cops Murder Crying Suspect, Shoot Him In The Back AND Taser Him Without Even Pursuing

On Sunday, August 13th, Salt Lake City Police seemed to have a routine bicycle stop under control. Patrick Harmon, a 50-year-old black man who was pulled over on his bike for riding without a working taillight at night, was standing on the side of the road with officers complying with their requests. Officer Clinton Fox asked Harmon if he knew about his warrants, which Harmon answered in the affirmative. Harmon was in tears throughout the encounter.

Then, as Harmon finished removing his backpack as Officer Fox requested, he decided he was too scared of jail to stay. He got loose of the straps of his pack and ran.

Did Clinton Fox, fellow human being, decide to run after Patrick Harmon? Not on your life. Or more precisely, not on Patrick’s. One assumes that Fox, being a police officer, was in far superior shape to the middle-aged man smoking a cigarette only moments before, but rather than expend the energy it would’ve required to run his suspect down on foot — like police do every damn day — he instead chose to draw his service weapon and fire three shots into Harmon’s back as he ran. His finger was already pulling the trigger the first time by the moment he shouted “I’m gonna fuckin’ shoot you!”

Harmon’s sobbing can be heard as he lies prone on the sidewalk. The light of another officer’s taser, which had been at the ready well before Officer Fox shot Harmon in the back, circles around Patrick’s heaving body.

“I got ‘im,” says Officer Fox.

The DA would later say that the shooting was “legally justified,” before the body camera footage you’re about to see was released. The police report would alternately first say that Harmon was on foot, then on a bike. It would say that he had a gun, then it was changed to a knife. His rap sheet was public long before the footage.

Patrick’s sister Antoinette drove 1,300 miles to join the rally held by Black Lives Matter organizer Lex Scott to demand the release of the body cam video. Ms. Scott has held many such rallies.

“This is about accountability and transparency. This is about Patrick Harmon’s family deserving to see that footage. If [SLCPD] did nothing wrong, wouldn’t they have released the footage by now?”

Now the footage has been released, and it is damning.

Will Officer Fox face consequences for the apparent murder of Patrick Harmon? The shooting, by any metric, is certainly not justified. Will the DA withdraw their statements? Will the SLCPD form a tight ring around their comrade, squeezing out truth and transparency?

Let’s hope this incident breaks the pattern and there is accountability.


Featured image via George Frey/Getty Images