A white police officer killed an unarmed black man in Phoenix on Tuesday, echoing similar recent incidents in New York and Missouri.
According to The Arizona Republic, Phoenix police received a tip that a man in a car was dealing drugs. They tried to apprehend Rumain Brisbon outside his Phoenix apartment complex and Brisbon ran. According to police, the officer gave chase, caught up with him and saw him dig into his pocket, before tumbling into an apartment where Brisbon’s two children lived.
That’s where the officer opened fire, killing Brisbon, who was only found to be carrying a bottle of oxycodone pills. The narratives are similar to what we’ve heard in the past: Police say the officer felt threatened so he shot.
The Arizona Republic reports that Brisbon’s friends say otherwise:
“Brandon Dickerson, who said he was in the car with Brisbon shortly before the shooting and witnessed some of the incident, said Brisbon was dropping off fast food to his children in the apartment. On Wednesday evening, strewn french fries still littered the front porch.
“Dickerson said he never saw the officer try to talk with Brisbon. He also said his friend wasn’t yelling at the officer.
” ‘Who’s gonna argue with police?’ Dickerson said. ‘He had no death wish yesterday.’ ”
The Washington Post reports that friends say Brisbon was “a gentle father of four who was dropping off fast food for his kids at his family’s apartment.”
By Thursday night, after police released details of the incident, protesters took to the streets of Phoenix. NBC News reports about 100 people demonstrated in front of Phoenix Police Department headquarters.
” ‘This one went bad from the standpoint of how it ended, but the officer was doing exactly what we want him to do,’ Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman, said at a news conference Wednesday.
“But Ann Hart, chairwoman of the African American Police Advisory Board for South Phoenix, said the shooting only reinforces ‘the impression it’s open season for killing black men.’
” ‘We need to look into that,’ Hart told NBC station KPNX of Phoenix. ‘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.’ ”