North Carolina trooper who allegedly killed deaf man to be investigated, victim being mourned
Fourth Estate Staff
Charlotte, NC, United States (4E) – The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation started a criminal inquiry into the fatal shooting of a deaf man allegedly killed by a state trooper last week.
The victim, identified as 29-year-old Daniel K. Harris, has been mourned by the deaf community as well as his family and friends. The shooting death of Harris has led to questions regarding the use of deadly force by police officers and their ability to communicate with disabled motorists. The trooper involved in the incident has been identified as Jermaine Saunders.
Accordingly, the incident took place last Thursday just after 6 P.M. Harris reportedly failed to pull over during a traffic stop near Charlotte. Sgt . Michael Baker, a spokesman for the state’s highway patrol, said that Saunders pursued the driver. When the driver exited the vehicle, an encounter took place. The shot was then fired by the state trooper resulting in the death of the driver. He was declared dead at the scene.
It was not clear what the details are regarding the encounter between Baker and Saunders and what eventually prompted the trooper to shoot the driver. It also remains unknown if Harris, who was white, threatened Saunders, who is black, to make the trooper believe that his life was in danger.
The brother of the victim, Sam, who is also deaf, said in a statement, “Being shot by the police is just not acceptable. If the officer had known that he was deaf, it would have ended differently, and he would still be around with family, and life would be going on. He’d be happy.”
Sam added that the night Harris was killed, he was on his way home to talk about having a new job. He was reportedly just a few yards away from home when he was shot to death. The family of Harris said that the victim was not armed during the confrontation.
Frank L. Perry, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, appealed to the public asking them to refrain from making assumptions since the department is doing everything to investigate the matter. Aside from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the Highway Patrol, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the district Attorney’s Office are also part of the investigation.