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‘He was not an immediate threat’ — family of knife-wielding man killed by Ogden Police prepare to sue

Posted at 9:47 PM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 18:27:43-04

OGDEN, Utah — The family of a 26-year-old father shot and killed by officers are threatening to sue Ogden Police.

Jovaney Mercado’s father and mother argue that officers were not in immediate danger when he was shot and killed on August 16.

Body cameras released by police record Mercado walking to the edge of his property holding a pocket knife.

“They came to execute someone,” his father Juan Mercado said Monday. “They came to kill someone that night.”

What you don’t see in the video, according to his parents, an attempt by officers to deescalate the situation or use less-lethal options.

“It’s horrible,” Juan said. “No father, no parent, should have to be going what we're going through.”

A security camera from Mercado’s home shows a different angle. Attorney Robert Sykes said Mercado was up to 25 feet away from officers and didn’t put them in danger.

“He was not an immediate threat of death or serious injury to those officers,“ Sykes said in a press conference with Mercado’s parents.

Sykes said he’s waiting to file suit against Ogden PD, with the hope to settle out of court. He did not give a specific monetary amount that he would be satisfactory to the family.

Ogden Police declined to comment on the potential suit Monday, but Chief Randy Watts defended the officer’s actions on the night of the shooting.

“There was a distance but not enough for the officers to retreat any further than they did. They were forced to take the actions they took,” Watts said on August 16.

“I think that is pure unadulterated baloney,” Sykes said. “That’s just baloney.”

While the family doesn’t know why Mercado had a knife or why he didn’t put it down, they plead for Ogden Police to receive better training.

“That’s the reason I want to make a difference now,” Juan said. “I don’t want no other parent to go through what I’m going through or a mother.”

The family is also claiming they’re being harassed by Ogden PD since the shooting. They say officers in marked police cars have driven by the family home daily since August 16.