Family of Darrien Hunt seeks $2 million in wrongful death lawsuit against Saratoga Springs police

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UPDATE: Thursday Saratoga Springs police declined to comment on the lawsuit; Friday a law firm representing both officers and the City of Saratoga Springs issued a press release responding to the complaint and contradicting some of the allegations made in the complaint. Click here for details.

Previous story continues below.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah -- The family of Darrien Hunt, who was shot and killed by Saratoga Springs Police last September, is taking their fight for justice to the federal courts.

They plan on filing a civil rights lawsuit alleging wrongful death Friday morning, and they're asking for millions of dollars in damages.

Hunt's family attorney, Bob Sykes, said the key factor in the case will be proving that Darrien was already down on the ground and not a threat when police fired the fatal shot.

"He didn't want to give up the sword and he took off and they fired on him," Sykes said. "They chased him, he was wearing his pants real low on his hips. When he got to the north part of the Panda Express, they fell down and tripped him and either as he was going down or on the ground, he was shot by the officer and killed."

Sykes detailed the circumstances surrounding the shooting death in a new 44-page lawsuit. He believes police provoked the 22-year-old man: "They claim that he swung the sword."

An evidence photo courtesy of the Utah County Attorney's Office showing the sword involved in the fatal shooting of Darrien Hunt

An evidence photo courtesy of the Utah County Attorney's Office showing the sword involved in the fatal shooting of Darrien Hunt

It was September 10, 2014 when Saratoga Springs police were responding to a call about a man with a sword. Surveillance video released months later shows Hunt sprinting while being chased by two officers, who then shot him multiple times. Utah County prosecutors ruled the shooting justified.

The new wrongful death lawsuit says in part, "Darrien was violating no laws by walking openly with a sword. The office was wearing a body camera at the time of the incident. Allegedly he did not turn it on. Darrien was killed by one or more of the final three shots."

Six rounds were fired, and all of the bullets hit him.

Sykes said: "How far is a kid that's been hit in the arm, and the hip and shoulder going to go? It was unreasonable of him to finish Darrien off as he was falling. There was no threat to anybody, and it was an unjustified shooting. It was illegal and these officers should be held to account."

He also said the key witness in the case never told police Darrien lunged at officers with a sword. Key evidence Sykes claims was ignored by prosecutors.

Sykes said: "You read his lengthy oral interview, and what he says is, 'I assumed Darrien swung his sword at the officer because the officer fired his gun.' He didn't actually see it. So that's the kind of stuff when you get all the evidence, it becomes clear. He didn't see the swing at the officer. He assumed it."

Sykes said the family is asking for $2 million in damages. The lawsuit will be filed Friday morning; the federal court has 60 to 90 days to respond and decide whether or not to take up the case. Meantime, the NAACP has also called on the Department of Justice to investigate.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department had no comment regarding the lawsuit when contacted Thursday.

Click here for FOX 13 News' ongoing coverage of the case.


  • BillyBob

    What a waste of taxpayer dollars, having to look at this case. Mom, reality check your son was on DMT and swinging a sword at the cops, accept responsibility and leave it alone,

  • Cindy is crazy too

    Good luck with that one, face the facts lady your son was messed up and and made a bad decision that cost him his life. Place the blame where it belongs

  • JasonB

    They profiled my poor innocent son, he was the only person of color in that area trying to kill people with a sword. Now I deserve Millions of tax payer dollars to get over the fact that my son forced two officers to kill him.

    • Trace

      It is a way to get the crooked government and officers out. Not any other reason. If we had honest officer that dealt with this young man, he’d still be alive. Then the cover up by those who “investigated it, and found officers innocent”.

  • Matt

    This will be a very difficult civil suit to win even with a basis of the preponderance of the evidence. There is no question this all about money at this point. The DA has ruled on the event based upon the actions of the officers and the LAW. Both Utah Code and a Supreme Court ruling (Tennessee v Garner 1985) support the officers in their actions.
    This is a waste of the public’s time and money. Jury trials have to be decided within five (5) days and looking at the evidence from this case no jury in their right mind would find in favor of the family. Jurors aren’t stupid and they can see the writing on the wall. I would hate to be the prosecutor in this case. Also, jury selection requires the approval of both attorneys and the court so the only thing left for the family to do is either stop the nonsense now or be embarrassed later.


    Darrien Hunt’s family can seek any amount they want. Problem for them is finding a jury that will agree with them.

  • Robert Kelley

    There is NO video showing one way or the other that Darrien Hunt swung the sword or not at the officer! So where is your proof he didn’t swing that sword at the officer ? But there is video of Darrien Hunt walking around in public carrying an illegal weapon!!!!!! What are his parents saying ? “that it okay what their son did” ?????????????
    I think Not, Darrien Hunt was BREAKING THE LAW!!!! and running didn’t make things better!!!!!
    If you can’t pay for your crime the “DON’T BREAK THE LAW AND COMMIT THE CRIME”……….

      • BOB

        Darrien Hunt wasn’t shot for “carrying a sword”. Didn’t you read the ruling by Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman on why the use of deadly force was justified?

  • Ryan Smith

    Do you people on the comments section understand what “not illegal” means? It means he should NOT have been killed or shot at. Why can’t police carry non-lethal weapons like stun guns that don’t kill but just temporarily disable? This is getting way out of hand.

    • BOB

      Does Ryan Smith understand what “justified use of deadly force”? It means the officers were justified in using deadly force to stop the aggressive behavior of the suspect.

  • Jenn

    I really feel bad for this family. It has to be so hard losing your child. I couldn’t imagine losing one of mine. Since I didn’t see what happened, I don’t feel it is my place to judge this situation. My heart goes out to his family.

  • Linda Spencer

    Ummmm … there were SEVEN rounds fired (minimum). Are you forgetting the stray shot that hit the windshield of a car in the parking lot? Yup, gotta LOVE how the cops were so concerned about the SAFETY of those around. (It went into a yellow Charger owned by Top Stop manager, Mike Bischoff, in case you don’t believe me).

  • smitch

    You should NEVER bring a knife to a gun fight! If the police stop you, real people would listen to the officer, if no laws are broken…guess what they let you go and you don’t have to run away from the police!

  • GL

    I hope the family wins the lawsuit, this is a horrible tragedy and I’m so sorry for the needless loss of Darrien…

    • BOB

      When those who have already made up their minds have been weeded out of the jury pool those remain will base their decision on the evidence and not emotion. Darrien Hunt’s family are in for disapointment.

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