Phoenix police officers have admitted that Rumain Brisbon, a 34-year-old black man shot and killed by a white police officer earlier this week, was unarmed.
Brisbon is but one of many unarmed black men recently killed by white cops. Two weeks before, NYPD officer Peter Liang shot and killed Akai Gurley, then proceeded to text his union representative before calling for medical help. On Wednesday, New York City erupted in protests after a grand jury decided not to press charges against officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was filmed choking 43-year-old Eric Garner to death on suspicion that Garner was selling loose cigarettes. And those protests come in the wake of the news that a Ferguson, Mo. grand jury declined to prosecute officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
According to Phoenix police, the officer who killed Brisbon is a 30-year-old with seven years on the force. On Tuesday, that officer, whose name has yet to be released, responded to a call that an SUV with license plates matching Brisbon’s had been engaged in a drug deal. Witness and police accounts vary on some details, but agree that Brisbon fled the SUV on foot, then the officer caught up with him, the two struggled, and the officer shot Brisbon twice in the chest, killing him. Police said that the officer mistook a bottle of oxycodone pills in Brisbon’s pocket for a weapon.
A man named Brandon Dickerson told the Arizona Republic that he was a friend accompanying Brisbon, and that he was simply on his way to bring food to his children. A neighbor, Martin Rangel, said he looked out his window when he heard gunshots.
“I saw the cop running out, or like, walking out, and he was cussing, you know, he was screaming, ‘Fuck, fuck,’ like upset that he shot the guy,” Rangel said.