Darrien Hunt's Family Files Lawsuit in Federal Court
The family of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt, who was killed by two Saratoga Springs police officers last September, filed a lawsuit in a Salt Lake City federal court Friday morning.
The suit alleges that Saratoga Springs police officers Matthew Schauerhamer and Nicholas Judson violated Hunt’s civil rights when they shot and killed him outside a Panda Express last September. Hunt was carrying a Samurai sword when the officers arrived on the scene. Robert Sykes is an attorney for the Hunt family. He says that Hunt broke no laws by having the sword, since Utah law allows citizens to openly carry weapons.
“They demanded he give up his sword. They had no right to do that,” says Sykes. “He was causing no harm. He wasn’t making trouble. And they demanded that he give up his sword, and they provoked an incident with this peaceful man.”
According to an autopsy report from the state medical examiner, bullet holes were found in Hunt’s hip and in his underwear, but not in his pants. Sykes believes Hunt’s pants fell down as he was running away from the officers, causing him to trip. Sykes says this means Hunt couldn’t have been a threat to the officers.
“He was shot while he was falling down or on the ground,” he says. “That accounts for the upward trajectory of these bullets. Another very important fact, okay? There were no bullet holes in his pants because they were already down.”
Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman did not respond to a request for comment. The public information officer for the Saratoga Springs Police Department said city law enforcement officials could not comment on the pending lawsuit.