The family of a sword-wielding man who was shot to death by police have filed a civil suit against officers from the Utah city where he was killed in September.
Darrien Hunt, 22, was killed by police officers in Saratoga Springs, Utah, over three months ago. Prosecutors said Hunt had “abruptly and without any apparent provocation” lunged at two officers with a “samurai-type sword,” and that the resultant shooting was justified. An autopsy report showed Hunt had been shot six times, at least once in the back.
Attorneys representing the Hunt family have previously contended the officers’ account, noting witnesses who said Hunt had been running away at the time of the shooting. Susan Hunt, mother of the deceased, told KSL that her son was killed because he was black.
Hunt family attorney Robert Sykes announced Friday a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking $2 million in damages from the city of Saratoga Springs and the two officers involved in the shooting. The lawsuit alleges that Cpl. Matt Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson violated Hunt’s Second Amendment rights, which allowed him to carry the sword.
“They demanded that he give up his sword — they had no right to do that. He was causing no harm,” Sykes said. “They provoked an incident with this peaceful man.”
The suit also accuses the officers of shooting Hunt in the back while he fled and of using excessive force.
Susan Hunt said her son had been in high spirits the day of his death and that he bought the dull replica sword to impress managers at a Panda Express, where he hoped to get a job.