A mother from Saratoga Springs, Utah, accused police of fatally shooting her 22-year-old son Darrien Hunt on Wednesday because he’s Black.
Susan Hunt says her son was gunned down for no reason and that officers would have acted differently if her biracial son was only white.
Police insist, however, that they only fired at Hunt out of self-defense after he first attempted to attack officers.
According to Deseret News, the police were called sometime around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday due to complaints about a “suspicious” man walking near businesses along Redwood Road.
The witnesses said the young man was carrying a “Samurai-type sword.”
According to Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor, the young man actually lunged at officers with the sword, which resulted in him being shot.
“When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot,” Taylor said in a statement.
Before that statement was released, Hunt’s mother told the Deseret News that her son was killed because he was Black.
“They killed my son because he’s Black,” she said. “No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he’s running away.”
Hunt is a white woman, but the father of her children is a Black man.
Hunt said the police ruined her family by killing her son “over a toy.”
“Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy,” she said. “This is my baby. This is my family, and they ruined my family.”
As it turned out, the sword was indeed a toy with a rounded edge rather than a sharp blade.
It is unclear if officers were able to identify the sword as a toy prior to the shooting.
The shooting is already under investigation, and the county attorney’s office quickly issued a public statement regarding the incident.
“We sympathize with Mr. Hunt’s family during this difficult time,” the statement said, according to The Huffington Post. “Any claim that our officers’ actions were a result of Mr. Hunt’s race is completely unfounded and speculative. Our officers responded to a call for service and addressed the situation that was presented to them.”
Neither Hunt’s family nor the media has received a lot of information about what happened just before the 22-year-old was fatally shot.