Saratoga Springs Police Officer Was Wearing Camera During Hunt Shooting, but Camera Was Turned Off
A police report confirms an officer involved in the September shooting death of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was wearing a body camera at the time of the incident. But officials say the camera was not on.
On the morning Darrien Hunt was shot six times from behind by Saratoga Springs officers outside a Panda Express, Saratoga Springs Police Chief Andrew Burton says the department was in the midst of testing body cameras on police officers. One of those officers was Nicholas Judson, who had only been in the field for a month and a half. Judson and Officer Mathew Schauerhamer were dispatched to the Panda Express, after a 9-1-1 caller reported a suspicious man carrying a Samurai sword. Chief Burton says, not only was the camera prone to be unreliable, but Officer Judson admitted he’d forgotten to turn it on.
“Keep in mind a couple of things here. One, the discussion and advent of body cameras on police officers in Utah is a recent development,” Burton says. “Most of the police departments in Utah do not yet have body cameras. The discussion has been underway for several months, but we were in the midst of sort of a study and an experiment ourselves.”
Initially Utah County Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor and Chief Burton stated they did not know if the officers were wearing body cameras. Chief Burton told KUER the department was unable to talk about the case until the Utah County Attorney’s Office finalized the investigation.
Rachel Sykes is an Attorney for the Hunt family. She says this is another example of how officials have been less than forthcoming about the case.
“All of these inconsistent statements. All of these backtracking. I think that’s something the Department of Justice will hopefully look at and be kind of wary of,” Sykes says.
Ten days ago, the Utah County Attorney’s office ruled the shooting was legally justified.
The Utah chapter of the NAACP recently asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the case.