Deaf US man shot dead by police for not following commands

Daniel K Harris (
Daniel K Harris (

A deaf and mute man was shot dead by police in North Carolina last week for not following their commands.

Daniel Harris, a 29-year-old father to a four-year-old boy, was pulled over for speeding by a state trooper near his home in the city of Charlotte on August 18 (local time).

After getting out of his vehicle, witnesses say Mr Harris attempted to communicate by using sign language with the trooper, who responded almost immediately by firing a single shot. Mr Harris died at the scene.

Grieving brother Jay Harris says Daniel would've been afraid.

"He was unarmed - and he is a deaf individual, and I think that he was just afraid," he said.

"He could not hear their warnings. He could not hear their commands to stop or to stay away from them.

"He was shot, and now we're left with nothing."

A webpage has been set up to raise money for Mr Harris' memorial and cremation expenses.

The YouCaring page includes the message: "He was unarmed when shot and killed by a state trooper.  His tragic death could have been prevented. Police brutality ends NOW."

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the trooper began pursuing Mr Harris' vehicle briefly along an Interstate Highway before exiting onto a suburban street.

The highway patrol in a statement said the driver exited the vehicle and there was "an encounter" between the trooper and driver, and that a shot was fired at the scene.

Media reports that trooper Jermaine Saunders carried out the fatal shooting because Mr Harris was "advancing and not following commands".

Mr Saunders has been placed on administrative leave and will be interviewed by the State Bureau of Investigation this week.