SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah -- The family of a Saratoga Springs man shot and killed by police last year says they have renewed hope that justice may still be served.
Darrien Hunt, 22, was shot and killed outside the Panda Express on Crossroads Boulevard and Redwood Road on September 10, 2014. Now, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah is working with the FBI and Department of Justice on a federal review of the shooting.
Utah County, who originally investigated the shooting, said the officers involved, Cpl. Matt Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson, were justified.
According to police, Hunt swung a samurai-style sword at them and then started running toward a busy parking lot. Police shot him in the back six times. The Hunt family has always maintained Hunt wasn’t a threat.
“I’m traumatized still whenever I see a police officer because of that event,” said Cindy Moss, Hunt’s Aunt. “There are so many mistakes in the case that were overlooked, ignored and still to this day have been.”
The family also says race was a factor in the shooting, pointing to a blog post written by Cpl. Schauerhamer about people who look like reggae singer Bob Marley.
“I think there is so much evidence against what they stated and opposite what they stated that it has to bring up concerns for the Department of Justice and the FBI,” Moss said. “I’d be shocked if they can’t see the problems in this case. So, our expectation is that they’ll look over and see the things that are really amiss with that investigation and we’ll be able to get justice for Darrien.”
Saratoga Springs Police Department officials have stated they stand by the officers’ actions, and say they are willing to help the federal investigation in any way possible.
“We aren’t surprised in light of some recent events around the country," said Heather White, the attorney representing Saratoga Springs and the two officers. "We were expecting this would happen, and, as we stated in the past, we welcome it. We have nothing to hide."
If the federal investigation does determine there was wrongdoing done by Saratoga Springs officers, those officers could face federal charges.