Another unarmed black man was killed by a white cop in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday night and now protesters are out in the streets of Phoenix claiming the officer used excessive force and the shooting was unjustified. Here’s the Washington Post’s account of what happened:
The events that led to Brisbon’s death began with a tip, Phoenix police spokesman Trent Clump told reporters on Wednesday. The tipster said that a drug deal was going down inside a black Cadillac SUV parked near a 7-Eleven. So a nearby 30-year-old officer, who wasn’t named by police, responded to the call, later approaching the car, reported the Arizona Republic.
Clump claimed the officer saw Brisbon exit the car and remove something from its rear. When the officer asked Brisbon to show his hands, the man allegedly put them in his waistband. That prompted the officer to draw his weapon, and Brisbon took off running. “Witnesses indicated to us that the suspect was verbally challenging to the officer,” the Arizona Republic quoted Crump saying.
When the officer caught Brisbon, there was a scuffle. What happened next is a little confusing.
According to reports, Brisbon somehow made it to the house of his girlfriend, who had opened the front door — and the cop and Brisbon literally stumbled inside. Clump said the officer thought he felt the butt of a gun jutting from Brisbon’s pocket. “During the struggle, Brisbon put his left hand in his pocket and the officer grabbed onto the suspect’s hand, while repeatedly telling the suspect to keep his hand in his pocket,” the spokesman said. “The officer believed he felt the handle of a gun while holding the suspect’s hand in his pocket.”
Two shots were fired, killing Brisbon. And only afterward did the officer discover what had been inside Brisbon’s pocket: a prescription pill vial containing Oxycodone pills. The original label had been scratched off. There was no gun.
Crump said, as the Phoenix New Times reported, the officer was in the right. Investigators did discover a semiautomatic handgun and some marijuana inside the SUV. “Let’s be very clear: The officer was doing what we expect him to do, and that is, investigating crimes that neighbors are telling him are occurring in that apartment complex. This one went bad, from the standpoint of how it ended, but the officer was doing exactly what we want him to do.”
To neighbors and Brisbon’s attorney, what happened was a little more complicated. They say there was no drug deal — but a fast-food delivery. And indeed, according to the Arizona Republic, french fries were strewn outside the apartment door. To them, it’s also unclear why the officer acted alone.
If it wasn’t a drug deal then why did he run from the officer and then fight with the officer? That’s where it went wrong. Even if it weren’t a drug deal and was really an innocent interaction, you still don’t run from and then fight with a police officer. As Fredrick Wilson II so eloquently put it this morning, a police officer just wants to go home to his/her family like anyone else and if you put them in a situation where it’s your life versus their life, they are going to choose their life every time. And it sounds like that’s essentially what happened here.
Here are two more reports from local news stations in Phoenix that detail what happened and show protester reaction: