Family members of a recently killed deaf and speech-impaired North Carolina man are in mourning and still waiting on answers from authorities. Daniel Kevin Harris shot dead by a North Carolina state trooper last Thursday, according to CNN. He was killed near his Charlotte home after what police explained was a seven mile car chase.
Harris was driving a Volvo along Interstate 485 when a trooper attempted to pull him over on suspicion of speeding around 6:15 p.m. However, Harris did not pull over and exited the highway and drove to his neighborhood. Highway patrol Sgt. Michael Baker said that once Harris exited his vehicle there was an encounter with the trooper and Harris died on the scene.
Police have neither released any details about the encounter nor have they clarified whether the trooper was aware that Harris was deaf. Following the incident, the trooper was placed on administrative leave, which is normal protocol after a shooting.
Sam Harris, the brother of the 29-year-old man, questioned whether his sibling’s disabilities and the officer's lack of knowledge communicating with deaf people was the cause of his death. "The police need to become aware of how to communicate with deaf people, what that might look like and how to avoid situations like this from ever happening again," Sam Harris said.
On Monday, Harris’ friends, family and neighbors held a vigil outside of his home with flowers and written messages along the sidewalk. Sam Harris described his brother as funny and sociable, explaining that people enjoyed his company and unique personality.
Following his death, Harris’ family set up a crowdfunding page for a memorial and revealed that any additional funding raised will go to educating and training law enforcement.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office plans on evaluating the case after law enforcement finishes its investigation.