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Rumain Brisbon, pictured with his daughters
Rumain Brisbon, pictured with his daughters

Drug War: Phoenix Officer Kills Unarmed Black Man Grabbing For Pills In Pocket

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A Phoenix police officer shot and killed an unarmed man, Tuesday night.

Officers were responding to a burglary call at an apartment complex say they were told by a resident that there might be a drug deal going on in an SUV outside.

After running the plates, police say they found that the car was registered to an address on a block that had an open noise complaint that night.

Officers went to question the people in the car.

Police say the driver, identified as Rumaine Brisbon, got out and appeared to be removing something from the rear of the SUV.

“The officer told Brisbon to show his hands, but Brisbon stuffed his hands into his waistband,” police spokesperson Trent Crump said. “The officer drew his weapon and Brisbon ran toward nearby apartments. A short foot chase ensued.”

“Witnesses indicated to us that the suspect was verbally challenging to the officer,” Crump maintains. “Brisbon refused to comply with the officer’s commands to get on the ground, and the two struggled once the officer caught up with him.”

“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 [out of] his pocket,” Crump said. “The officer believed he felt the handle of a gun while holding the suspect’s hand in his pocket.”

According to police the struggle then made its way into an apartment after a resident happened to open the door. Eventually the officer, unnamed but identified by witnesses as white, shot and killed Brisbon. He was found to have been holding on to a bottle of oxycodone pills, police say.

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An internal investigation into the incident has been launched but police have defended the officers actions.

“Let’s be very clear: The officer was doing what we expect him to do,” spokesperson Crump said. “Investigate crimes that neighbors are telling him are occurring in that part of the complex. Even voluntary transactions.”

Following the incident, chairperson of the African American Police Advisory for South Phoenix, Ann Hart, called for “a deeper dive into why police officers are feeling compelled to shoot and kill as opposed to apprehend and detain, arrest and jail.”

“Why [are] cops directed into interactions over trifling infractions with sometimes [no] serious legal penalties in the first place,” Hart asked.