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Corey Kanosh certainly made some very questionable decisions on the last day of his life, but none of them warranted his life being cut short by law enforcement. He had been drinking with his sister’s boyfriend, and the two of them decided to take Kanosh’s mother’s car for a drive. When police began following them, they didn’t pull over; they kept driving. When the driver stopped the car, Kanosh fled on foot and was fatally shot. One can understand why the intoxicated Kanosh fled; he was part of the racial population most likely to be shot fatally by police, when considered as a percentage of the population (though less than 2% overall). He was a member of the Paiute tribe of Native Americans in Millard County, Utah.
His sister Marlee was dating Dana Harnes, a white man. Harnes was the one who drove the car on October 15th, 2012. When Harnes and Corey Kanosh left, intoxicated, in the car, Marlee called police, hoping for help. Sadly, the deputy who took the call considered the vehicle stolen. Spotted on the way back to the reservation, Harnes and Kanosh tried to hide the beers while fleeing law enforcement. Eventually, when they reached the reservation cemetery, Harnes pulled over. Both Harnes and Kanosh fled the scene; the officer decided to pursue the Native passenger instead of the white driver.
Harnes didn’t see what happened to Corey Kanosh, but he did hear two gunshots and Kanosh’s scream. Harnes maintains the shots happened within seconds of their exiting the vehicle, while the police claim there was a struggle between the officer and Kanosh. Despite the fact that Kanosh was unarmed, heavy police reinforcements were called in before an ambulance was allowed to approach the fatally wounded man. By the time paramedics could treat him, he was too far gone. He died not long after the birth of his son, who is now two years old without a father.
Much is unclear about what happened that night. The officer who shot Kanosh, Deputy Dale Josse, was injured because he was attacked by a K-9 officer. Josse and Kanosh had a history, which makes his family question the shooting and story all the more. Kanosh was unarmed, and his family has had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he was shot and denied medical treatment, all because he was drinking and out for a ride with a friend. Fleeing wasn’t the best decision, but flight should not warrant the use of lethal force. Of course, the investigation by the sheriff’s department found the shooting to be justified, a decision they reached the day after his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Kanosh had a criminal history, but he was also an advocate for wild horses and was liked within the community. His family maintains that there was no need for lethal force that October, 2012 night. There was also no reason to deny Corey Kanosh medical treatment that could have saved his life. Kanosh’s family has filed suit against the Millard County Sheriff Department, but they did not have the money to see the lawsuit through. They are now attempting to crowdfund attorney fees, so that Corey Kanosh may eventually have justice.
Those who want to follow this story can follow the Justice for Corey Kanosh page on Facebook. There is also a funding page, created by his parents to raise funds for their fight for justice for Corey.
Photo Credit: The Justice for Corey Kanosh Facebook page