White Phoenix Police Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Black Man

(Photo: Rumain Brisbon Family)

White Phoenix Police Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Black Man

Rumain Brisbon, 34, was killed on Tuesday evening by a cop who thought he was reaching for a gun.

Published December 4, 2014

A 34-year-old Black father of four was shot and killed by an unnamed white cop in Phoenix on Tuesday evening, The Arizona Republic reports.

The events leading up to Rumain Brisbon’s death have been called into question by varying accounts from the Phoenix police department and some witnesses. This particular narrative surrounding the tragic incident — an unarmed Black man killed by a white cop who felt threatened — caught the attention of those protesting similar racially charged, police-involved deaths in Ferguson and New York City.

"It gives the impression that it's open season for killing Black men,” Ann Hart, a chairwoman of the African-American Police Advisory for South Phoenix, said. "We need to take a deeper dive into why police officers are feeling compelled to shoot and kill as opposed to apprehend and detain, arrest and jail.”

Phoenix police claim that while cops were investigating a local burglary, a resident in a apartment complex told them that Brisbon and another man, Brandon Dickerson, were engaged in a drug deal inside a nearby SUV.

Brisbon allegedly ran from the approaching officer and ignored his commands, which led to a scuffle between the two. During the struggle, Brisbon reached into his pants pocket for prescription pills and was promptly shot twice in the torso. The officer had allegedly mistaken the pills for a gun.

"Let's be very clear: The officer was doing what we expect him to do, which is investigate crimes that neighbors are telling him are occurring in that part of the complex,” Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman, told The Arizona Republic.

But, Dickerson, the victim’s friend who was with him that day, challenged the police accounts. According to him, the officer never tried to talk with Brisbon and Brisbon did not yell at the officer.

"Who's gonna argue with police?" he said on Wednesday. "He had no death wish yesterday.”

Marci Kratter, the victim’s family attorney, also said there are “numerous witnesses” that will also contest the police department’s account. She told reporters that the story seems to be missing crucial details. Her office is conducting a separate investigation into the incident.

"Tonight, four children are missing their father, a woman is missing her husband and a mother is missing her son,” Kratter said. "It was a senseless tragedy. He was unarmed and not a threat to anyone. We intend to pursue this to the full extent of the law.”

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(Photo: Rumain Brisbon Family)

Written by Patrice Peck


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