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Trooper's Chase of Daniel Harris Reached 100 MPH Before Shooting, Dispatcher Recording Shows

harris_memorial_0.jpg
David T. Foster III
/
Charlotte Observer
Sam Harris, center, older brother of Daniel Harris, signs to the crowd during a candlelight vigil on Aug. 22, to remember Daniel, a deaf motorist who was shot and killed by a state trooper.

One of the mysteries surrounding the shooting death of a deaf man nearly two weeks ago involved the police chase before he died.

Radio traffic of the pursuit indicates the chase of Daniel Harris, 29, reached a speed of 100 mph. Trooper Jermaine Saunders gave a dispatcher an ongoing account of the chase on I-485. He reported speeds of 88, 100, and 90 mph before taking the Rocky River Road exit in Northeast Charlotte.

The dispatcher confirms attempts to get Harris to stop. He doesn't, at least not until he turns into his neighborhood. When he does stop, Saunders reports Harris fleeing.

"Jump and run, jump and run," the dispatcher confirms Saunders as saying.

Trooper's Chase of Daniel Harris Reached 100 MPH Before Shooting, Dispatcher Recording Shows
Audio of trooper-dispatcher communications during pursuit, shooting of Daniel Harris.

11 seconds later, trooper Saunders reports firing his weapon.

Harris died at the scene.

The Highway Patrol released the audio in response to media open records requests. The agency did not release dash-cam video. There’s no indication from the audio recording which direction Harris was running. In fact, there’s no indication why the trooper shot Harris.

The shooting occurred the evening of August 18th, but the sun had yet to set.

Afterward, the Highway Patrol released few details of the incident. The agency had said there was a pursuit but said nothing about the speeds reached. The Highway Patrol didn’t even say that Harris had run from his vehicle. Instead, the incident was simply described as an "encounter."

The shooting has received national attention and brought to light the many safety concerns that deaf people have when it comes to interactions with law enforcement.

The state Bureau of Investigation has not determined whether the shooting was justified.