1,000 signatures reached
To: The Utah State House, The Utah State Senate, and Governor Gary R. Herbert
Body Cameras: Keep Officers and Citizens Safe!
We are seeking constitutional changes to ensure police jurisdictions require the use of working body cameras when officers are involved with citizens. We also ask for a standardized protocol for investigating officer-involved shootings. Don't forget Darrien Hunt.
Why is this important?
More than two weeks after Darrien Hunt, 22, was fatally shot in the back by two Saratoga Springs police officers, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the department had purchased body cameras sometime in the last year or more, and one of the officers involved had publicly praised the use of the high tech devices in several online journals and newspapers.
Two weeks. Were the two officers wearing the body cams on September 10, 2014, the day they killed Hunt? No one knows. “We are still currently unaware if the Saratoga Springs police wear body cams,” said Susan Hunt, Darrien’s mother. “There is a big concern now—that if they were wearing them, did they have them on? Can they claim they didn’t have them on? Can they say they were blocked? They are police officers. They should be held at a higher liability—they have to be more accountable for their actions, and what they do. It should be considered withholding evidence if they do not. Body cameras should be worn by all police to protect both honest officers and citizens.”
In lieu of this finding, and the fact that the investigation into Darrien’s death is not transparent and the investigators appear biased, we are launching a new petition asking for the Saratoga Springs police department to be required to answer honestly whether or not their officers were wearing body cameras when they shot and killed Darrien Hunt. We would also request that any videos captured by the bank, or any other business, be made available to the public, or at least to the Hunt family lawyer. We would also like access to the 911 tapes that include the original call to the police station, and any subsequent audio regarding the shooting.
In addition, we would like to see:
1. A law passed that all police jurisdictions require their personnel to wear working body cameras during all encounters with citizens. This will help to ensure transparency for law enforcement activities.
2. That body camera video be treated as evidence, and managed the same as other evidence.
3. Local investigators be held accountable for not conducting a valid criminal investigation.
4. The development of a national standardized protocol for officer-involved shootings, so that officer(s), citizen(s), victim(s), families, and communities can trust that the investigative outcomes are fair and just.
5. That all law enforcement investigations be transparent to ensure the facts in evidence are neither hidden nor altered to protect any party from wrongdoing, unethical, or illegal activities.
6. That in the case of an officer shooting where a death results, that the case goes before a citizen review board.
7. That officers, while not treated as criminals, are interviewed promptly and kept apart, as is always done in a criminal investigation.
It appears that the Utah County District Attorney's Office has forgotten that Darrien was someone's child. Specifically, Susan Hunt's child. All evidence points to a shooting that was not justified. The nation and world is watching, and so those responsible must be held accountable.
Susan Hunt and her family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as are most of her neighbors in the 95-percent white, Mormon community. But for those with children of mixed ethnic heritage, it is fraught with danger.
Susan Hunt does not want to see this happen to someone else's child. Only by changing the laws can we prevent this.
She stands behind her claim of racial prejudice. Darrien, who was half black, was too different to fit in. She and many others believe this is obvious. The fact that Darrien died with six bullets in his back shows that he was not a threat. “Too many people have come forward making us aware of complaints brought forward against the police department for racial discrimination, or basically anyone who is different or considered not fitting into the norm for Saratoga Springs,” Susan said. "Until this is fixed, I would tell other parents to be afraid. Be very afraid for your children."
She knows, because Susan will never see her child again.