Footage of Patrick Harmon’s Shooting Shows Why NFL Players Take a Knee

Harmon was shot in the back by a Utah police officer as he ran away; DA says it’s justified.

Patrick Harmon

Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday because some of the players chose to kneel during the national anthem.

Pence tweeted in a statement that he stands with President Donald Trump and “everyone is entitled to their own opinions” but that he would not “dignify any event that disrespects, our soldiers, our flag or national anthem.”

But what Pence did not mention is why former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee in 2016 and why other Black players followed suit — to protest police brutality. And there’s yet another hashtag circulating on social media of the name of a Black man who needlessly lost his life at the hands of police.

Patrick Harmon, 50, was shot and killed on Aug. 13 after being stopped by a Salt Lake City police officer that said he rode his bicycle downtown without a required red rear taillight. One of three body cam videos released Thursday shows Harmon was shot in the back by Officer Clinton Fox while fleeing from three police officers on scene, although Harmon initially cooperated.

According to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, Fox said that before he fired the fatal shots, Harmon threatened to stab him with a knife.

WARNING: Video contains sensitive material.

In the video, Harmon is seen standing next to his bicycle speaking with officers who informed him of his active warrants. He complies when told to take off his backpack. As one of the officers begins to place handcuffs on Harmon, he attempts to run. Within seconds of chasing Harmon, Fox fires three shots.

After being shot three times, Harmon is then tasered. Officer Kris Smith said he “fired his Taser and simultaneously heard a gunshot.”

Harmon threatened to cut the officers with a knife and reached toward his pants with his right hand, Smith said.

He was administered first aid and pronounced dead later that night at an area hospital.

According to a letter Gill released on Wednesday, the D.A.’s Office declines to file criminal charges because “Officer Fox’s use of deadly force was ‘justified’ under Utah State law.”

Gill offered the officers’ account of the night of the shooting:

“On August 13, 2017, SLCPD Officer Smith saw a male, later identified as Patrick Harmon, ride his bicycle across all six road lanes and a median on State Street in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Officer Smith said he saw that Mr. Harmon didn’t have a required red rear tail light on his bicycle, although it was night. Officer Smith asked the male for identification and the male gave several different names and spellings. Officer Smith asked for backup.

“Eventually, Officer Smith discovered Mr. Harmon had active felony warrants (one for aggravated assault) and arrested him as SLCPD Officers Fox and Robinson arrived to help.

“Mr. Harmon broke away from the officers and ran. The officers followed. As he ran, Mr. Harmon said, ‘I’ll cut you,’ and turned and faced the officers with a knife. Officer Fox fired his weapon at Mr. Harmon, killing him.”

Gill’s report also says that the body cam video shows Harmon with a knife in his hand. He also said that investigators took pictures of the knife at the scene of the shooting.

According to The Washington Post, red rear taillights are not required by Utah law if a rider has a red reflector, and in the video, it appears to show Harmon’s bike with a red reflector.

Adriane Harmon, the deceased’s niece, said it was evident in the video that her uncle was frightened.

“He was scared. All he did was run,” she tearfully told The Guardian.

About 200 people gathered for a rally on Sunday outside Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building. Black Lives Matter and Utah Against Police Brutality want an independent panel to convene subsequent investigations into those kinds of encounters, as well as unedited body cam video released within 24 hours of any police-involved shooting, according to the Deseret News.

“You can’t watch that video and not realize it is a clear case of murder,” Lex Scott, a BLM organizer, said. “It is one of the clearest cases of murder we’ve ever seen.”

He said the community wants the district attorney to resign.

Antoinette Harmon, the victim’s 54-year-old sister, said her brother might have been struggling with mental illness, which is the defense for Austin Harrouff, a now 20-year-old white male who committed murder.

Cops Subdue White, Male Killer Without Firing a Weapon

In August 2016, then 19-year-old Austin Harrouff, who is white, murdered a Florida couple, 53-year-old Michelle Mascon and her husband, John Stevens III, 59; bit off part of Stevens’ face; and stabbed a neighbor who intervened. Harrouff was subdued by police officers without deadly force. Sherriff’s deputies said they found Austin biting Stevens’ face and abdomen and that it took multiple officers, a Taser gun and a K9 unit to stop him. No shots were fired.

Jeff Hendriks, the assistant state attorney who is prosecuting the case, said in August that Florida state is not pursuing the death penalty against Harrouff, who was charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a weapon, attempted first-degree murder with a weapon and burglary of a dwelling with an assault or battery while armed. He remains at the Martin County jail without bail.

Officers said they thought he was high on a street drug named “Flakka,” but toxicology results showed no traces of the drug or any other hallucinogen in his system.

“Austin had a psychological break,” his attorney Nellie King said, according to USA Today. “There is a mountain of information about this young man that will substantiate his mental illness at the time of the offense.”

Harrouff even had the opportunity to explain himself in a TV interview on “Dr. Phil” in March.

Walter Scott

Rev. Jesse Jackson addressed the reasoning behind the NFL protests during DiversityInc’s event on Sept. 27.

“Don’t Black lives matter?” Jackson said. “It’s not that other lives don’t matter. But, don’t Black lives matter?

“In a democracy, you’re supposed to pay a price for killing people.”

He listed Black men who perished in police-related deaths, including Amadou Diallo, Michael Brown and Walter Scott.

Scott was the same age as Harmon when he killed by police during a traffic stop in South Carolina, which is more than 2,000 miles away from Utah.

Scott was shot in the back and killed as he ran away from a white police officer in April 2015. A bystander caught the incident on video, including now-former Officer Michael Slager, 35, planting a Taser beside Scott’s body as he lay on the ground dying — not even attempting CPR.

In May, Slager pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of Scott.

Black males who were killed by a police officer, and the officer wasn’t convicted, include Philando CastileTerrence CrutcherSamuel DuBose, Eric GarnerFreddie Gray and Tamir Rice, to name a few.

Recommended Articles

23 comments


  • More tragedy with similar content means more work needs to be done.

    As for the NFL players kneeling, I’m not easily convinced this popularity protest is for real. thinking it’s a thing to do so that people can look like they are interested in addressing police brutality. too many systems in place propping up racism that are behind the scenes working institutions like puppet masters. sports protests is sheik this season. it’s so much a joke at this point, you notice the amount of legislation addressing police brutality? where are the sports franchise owners in this addressing police brutality with their politicians who they’ve collectively donated millions of dollars? this is a shell game at this point. the true hero is kaepernick and the few NFL players who mimicked his actions in the beginning.

    • It’s real. Kaepernick was black balled, so everyone who continues to take a knee knows they’re taking a gamble with their careers. Takes a lot more guts than gay basher Pence’s silly race baiting stunt.

    • Were the police justified in their actions? As with the QB some actions bring about consequences.

      • Of course the brave heroes were justified for shooting him in the back – Harmon was riding a bicycle without a taillight!!! OH THE HUMANITY.

        It would be disrespecting the flag to not shoot a guy like that in the back.

  • Unfortunately, just more of the same.

    No outrage for murder, but faux outrage over a “patriotic” symbol.

  • Perhaps a place for Nat’l Football League players who care to protest police brutality might be somewhere more closely related to the brutal police. Native Americans were today trying to agitate for converting Columbus day to indigenous peolpes’ at the site of Columbus day parades, they weren’t trying to protest and agitate at, say, a college graduation.

    • Why? The eyes of millions of Americans are upon them as they silently and respectfully bring honest whitness to the ongoing persecution of Black people by law enforcement in this country. I know about it, you know about it, 45 knows about it. What can be better than that?

      Trump will give this one up too. The NFL makes more money in one weekend than Trump made in his entire life. He is completely out of his league.

    • Perhaps they will continue to use their current platform because that is where they want to.
      So, Native Americans are agitators now? I believe they were simply protesting. If you were agitated, oh well.

  • Another racist KKKop profiling incident over a trivial, petty matter: Not a broken taillight on a car, but a missing rear bike light! Blacks are killed for the slightest infractions, but if you watch any KKKop shows on TV [without throwing up your lunch and hands], these same racist KKKops coddle and talk nice to white serial killers, escaped prisoners, and other miscreants when they taunt, threaten, and run, but they don’t kill them.

    With the exception of Seattle’s Uncle Tom QB, Russell Wilson, I’m glad to see other Black players like Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman and others boldly and bravely speaking out. They’re placing their careers on the line because if white folKKKs are anything, they’re vindictive towards any blacks who protest against white supremacy anywhere in AmeriKKKa.

    Who cares what sixPence does. The KKK was founded in racist Indiana and I’m sure he his ancestors donned white sheets. tRump traded in his Nazi threads for blue suits and sixPence traded in his white sheets.

    Kaepernick tried out with the Seahawks, but he would have caught Hell in rabidly racist Seattle. They hypocritically claim to be diverse and progressive, but only compared to Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana which are stuck in the 1850’s–Washington is only 20 years ahead of them. Russell Wilson saw his job going down the drain if Kaep came to Seattle. Too much petty, racist politics and politricks in Smallville Seattle.

  • If you are a cop, you only have to claim you felt threatened to shoot and kill. You need do nothing else to prove you are “justified”. There are all kinds of officials who make it their mission to find blame with the victim.

  • Unfortunately, there are far-too-many other such videos, also, as well as situations for which videos do not exist, such as Trayvon Martin’s. People — wherever their “arena” of sphere of influence is — have a moral duty to stand up, or, in this case, kneel down, against racial injustice.

  • Compliance is not and should not be a difficult thing, especially when you have active warrants against you. Then threatening an officer on top of it ?! Easily could have been avoided. Don’t put the officers in that position.

    • Then don’t have officers be tax collectors. Stop the petty and biased enforcement of fines that exist to fund municipalities. It’s horseshit harassment that destroys the lives of poor people.

      Shooting a man in the back over something like this is MURDER.

      • Active felony warrants, and armed threat of violence – it ain’t murder.

        • Bull. Watch the video. The guy was wanted on a misdemeanor drug charge and a felony aggravated assault ($10,000 bail-couldn’t have been that serious). The cops didn’t know he was wanted when they pulled him over for not having a taillight on his bicycle. Later, it was determined that the law didn’t require a light, just a reflector, which Patrick had.

          The stop was BS racist cop bullying.

          The only threat of violence in the video was “I’m going to fucking shoot you.” Screamed by the cop, in violation of his de-escalation training. Patrick had a knife, but he was running away from the cops. He couldn’t have been a threat.

          Patrick was murdered. The cop got away with it.

          BLM

          • Luke. You need to re watch the video. He turns towards the officer with a knife. He wasn’t being arrested for the taillight, he was being arrested for the warrants.

            Do you believe he would have turned himself in for the warrants? Especially the assault one?

          • Please. He was a 50+ year old man riding a bicycle. The cops didn’t know he had any warrants out on him when they stopped him. They were harassing him. Given what transpired, I’ll bet one or both of those cops are the kind of guys who enjoy picking on people who cannot fight back.

            The killer had just been through de-escalation training. I wonder if that training included screaming “I’m going to fucking shoot you” a split second before shooting a man running away from you in the back.

            Yes, Patrick made a mistake. He was afraid. He didn’t want to go to jail.

            But, what was the immediate danger that required a gun to come out of a holster and be discharged several times into Patrick’s back as he was running away? Where was Patrick going to go? What trouble could a live Patrick get into later that evening? He’d be on foot – the cops had his bike.

            No, this was a case of two jerks not wanting their bullying victim to get away and embarrass them. They’d get teased by the chief. Big man with a badge and a gun, bravely protecting us from bicyclists. Hero! Let’s paint a “fucking” blue line down the middle of the street.

            Patrick wasn’t going to be elected citizen of the year, but he didn’t deserve to be hassled, much less killed. And you’re defending this murder. What’s your problem?

    • Why should anyone suffer an eternal sentence for not having a bicycle taillight?

      • The “man” who shot Patrick in the back should be suffering a life sentence. That was more disturbing than poor Walter Scott being shot in the back by marauder cop Slager. Hearing murderer Fox scream “I’m going to fucking shoot you” is blood chilling.

        And the DA Gill found that shooting a man in the back in a fit of pique is “justified”. If there’s a hell, Gill will spend eternity as the sole black resident in a town full of Clinton Fox cops.

  • Did you all miss that this guy had felony warrants? (aggravated assault). This didn’t happen because of a taillight on his bike. I don’t see how you can ever justify shooting anyone in the back..period, But this guy was far from innocent.

    • He was innocent of doing anything wrong that night. The murdering police did not know he was wanted for anything when they stopped him to get their sadistic bully jollies. And what he was wanting for was not worth killing for. The murdering cop got away with it. That is why NFL players are taking a knee.

  • That was murder and this is the type of thing that’s appalling to so many people in foreign countries. They see a black man be murdered by the police in completely unacceptable circumstances or they see a black child has been murdered by a man with a violent past and police record, and yet no one is ever convicted and they even become heroes to the right wing community in the US. We are a truly racist and sick country.

« Previous Article     Next Article »