On August 13, 2017, Patrick Harmon was shot and killed by Salt Lake City, Utah police officer Clinton Fox. Patrick was 50-years old.
Initially, officer Kris Smith pulled Harmon over for riding his bike across six lanes and a median, and not having a red, rear tail light. Smith called for backup and found that Patrick had an outstanding warrant. As the officers took Patrick’s hands behind his back to place him in handcuffs, Patrick ran. He was shot 3 times in the back.
The Deseret News gives Fox’s version of the incident as reported by the District Attorney.
“Harmon pleaded with the officers not to go to jail. The officers took Mr. Harmon’s hands and placed them behind his back. As Mr. Harmon’s hands went behind his back, Mr. Harmon bolted from the officers and ran,” the report states.
At one point, Harmon stopped running and turned around to face the pursuing officers while holding a knife, according to the report.
“Fox said Mr. Harmon came at the officers with something in his hand. Officer Fox said he was terrified by how close Mr. Harmon was to the officers when Mr. Harmon stopped and turned toward them,” the report states. “Officer Fox said he feared if he didn’t immediately use deadly force, Mr. Harmon was going to stab him and/or the other officers.”
Fox fired his weapon three times, according to the report.
“Officer Fox said that in 10 years of law enforcement and two military deployments, it was the scariest situation he had ever been in,” investigators wrote.”
Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Here is a disclaimer that might be necessary because of people who want to pick at every word I write to falsely accuse me of practicing law or trying to be a lawyer. What follows regarding the constitution and state rights are things that I learned in my senior year of high school. My freshman year college political science class and junior college class in business law also play significant roles in what I learned and retained about courts and the law. So there!
When I heard about Alex Wubbels, the nurse in Utah who was taken into custody for refusing to allow a blood draw on an unconscious patient, it was as if I was taken back into time. Not only was I taken back in time to remember those political science, social studies and business law classes, but also because I thought the controversy over blood draws and hospitals had been resolved years ago.
When reading the opinions of some others, I wonder if the books assigned to classes or even the teachers or professors fully addressed that the issue in America’s Civil War was over the rights of the states? That war was to decide whether the federal government had political power to regulate or abolish slavery within individual states. The federal government did abolish slavery in the land, and also gave states the right to legislate their own laws as long as those laws do not violate the U.S. Constitution.
When the Supreme Court of the United States decides to hear cases involving state laws, they decide them based on the U.S. Constitution. Read the rest of this entry
All this time that we’ve reported on law enforcement killing unarmed civilians, and there are times I feel overwhelmed because the cases, and knowledge of cases, come faster than I can keep up. Because of new situations almost weekly, if not daily, it’s also difficult to follow-up on cases previously reported.
There are times I feel hopeless because each time we think we have an answer to reduce or stop the number of police involved shootings of unarmed citizens, we find the end result is always up to a human being who listens to the story of the cop who fired the gun. The living have opportunity to say what they thought and felt. The dead do not.
I cry. This time, I cry for Dillon Taylor and I also cried for Bron Cruz, the cop that killed him. I cried for Cruz because he wanted so badly for Dillon to be armed, that while Dillon’s blood was running like a river, and he went into seizure, that did not hinder Cruz from searching Dillon not once, but twice. I cried for Cruz because he planted seeds of blame in his garden of life rather than seeds of compassion.