According to Reuters, a Phoenix police officer recently shot to death an unarmed black man during a struggle. Authorities said the officer supposedly believed the individual had a gun.
The Phoenix Police Department said Rumain Brisbon, 34, was sitting in a black Cadillac SUV outside a convenience store on Tuesday evening, and two witnesses told the officer the occupants of the vehicle were selling drugs.
Phoenix police said in a statement that its officer called for backup, and then saw Brisbon appear to remove something from the car’s back seat.
It said the officer, a seven-year veteran of the department, gave him commands to show his hands, and then Brisbon “placed one or both hands in his waistband area” and fled. The officer chased and caught up with him, it said, and during a struggle the policeman thought he felt a gun in Brisbon’s pocket.
“The officer gave the suspect several commands to get on the ground but he refused to comply, yelling profanities at the officer,” said the police statement issued on Wednesday.
A resident then opened an apartment door and both men stumbled into her home, it said, adding that the officer was unable to keep a grip on the suspect’s hand.
“…the officer fired two rounds striking Brisbon in the torso,” said the statement.
Backup officers began CPR until the Phoenix Fire Department arrived and treated Brison at the scene. He later was pronounced dead.
Police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said the item being held in Brisbon’s pocket was a pill vial containing a number of oxycodone tablets.
“All I know is I ain’t never seen him do a transaction,” said Brandon Dickerson, who claimed he was with Brisbon that night. “Only thing I know is he got some food, he went to take his food to the kids, and I ain’t seen him no more.”
Police said Brisbon’s girlfriend lives at the apartment with children.
Police found a semiautomatic handgun and a jar containing what is believed to be marijuana inside the vehicle.
“I don’t care what they found in his car,” said the Rev. Jarett Maupin, a local civil rights activist. “He wasn’t armed and didn’t have marijuana on his body … when this incident happened.”
Crump said Brisbon has a criminal record. However, it is not clear why selling drugs would warrant such drastic action.