By Floyd Alvin Galloway
Special to the NNPA from The Arizona Informant
The death of Rumain Brisbon Tuesday, December 2, threw Phoenix into the national spotlight of police use of deadly force against Black community, connecting the city with others like Ferguson, New York City and others.
Phoenix police quickly released a detailed account of the killing for the media on Wednesday morning in what officials said was an effort to promote transparency, especially in light of the unrest in other cities after the deaths of unarmed Black men by the police.
The unidentified white officer was according to police reports, responding to a burglary complaint in northwest Phoenix, when he arrived he was given information of a possible drug sell going on in the apartment complex.
According to the police, the driver, later identified as 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, stated Trent Crump, Phoenix police spokesperson.
Police say 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 said.
Police report, 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.
Police say during the struggle, Brisbon put his left hand in his pocket and the officer grabbed onto the suspect’s hand, while repeatedly telling the Brisbon to keep his hand in his pocket. The officer thought he felt the handle of a gun while holding the suspect’s hand in his pocket.
According to police, the stumbled into the apartment of Brisbon’s girlfriend’s apartment when she opened the door during the struggle. Losing grip on Brisbon’s hand the officer shot Brisbon in the torso and back. Brisbon was found to have been holding on to a bottle of oxycodone pills, according to police.
Since the shooting there have been several peaceful protests. Over 250 people gathered in downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park Thursday, December 4, to protest the killing of Brisbon, 34, by Phoenix Police.
Brandon Dickerson, Brisbon’s friend that was in the car when the officer approached says the police have the story wrong and are trying to cover-up their tracks. Dickerson says he never saw the officer approach the SUV. “There are loopholes in the story. The media turns things around,” said Dickerson during the rally.
Another friend of Brisbon, Janae Polk, with her daughter Aidan, and friend Kimberly Simpson are also skeptical of the police version. “Our friend Rumaine was murdered by the police and he wasn’t armed and he wasn’t posing a threat,” said Polk addressing the crowd.
She stated others are trying paint bad picture of Brisbon to justify the shooting. “He was not like they are saying he was. He loved his kids. He was getting them something to eat when they killed him.
“There’s a lot of holes in their story and we want to get justice. It’s happening all over the country. They’re killing our Black men,” expressed Polk.
The death of the unarmed Brisbon, a father of four girls, comes just days after the grand juries in Ferguson Missouri and Staten Island New York failed to indict police officers involved in killing unarmed men in those cities.
The killings have Black communities around the country angered by what seems to be an epidemic of police using deadly force in interactions with Blacks and not with whites and other people regardless of the situation.
Chanting Black Lives Matter, No Justice No Peace, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, protesters marched one and half miles from the park to the Phoenix Police Station.
At the police station protesters staged a die-in, laying across Washington Street in front the station as emotional speakers vented their frustration with the local police and police across the cin the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson, the video-taped death Eric Garner in New York, 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and a number of other deaths in various states.
“We got a lot of work to do,” said civil rights leader Jarrett Maupin. “If we are serious about what we have to do folks, some of us might have to go to jail. Some of us will have to challenge the law. Some of us will have to stand up against law enforcement officers.”
Maupin was one of a series of speakers that challenged the sickness across the country that has unveiled an increase of racism and hatred that some say a number of police departments across the country have absorbed.
“Each of us need to treated with respect. We don’t work for the police department. The police works for us,” shouted the fiery.
The protestors blocked Washington for 30 minutes before moving on. There have been other protests over the weekend and beginning of this week. Many in the crowd feel frustrated and angry over incidents.
Josyln of Phoenix brought her 7-year old daughter Unity to the protest so she is aware of her rights. “I think it’s important that she knows her constitutional rights are and when they being violated.”
“She has to know what’s going on around her so she is conscious of it and she can know who she is and be able to fight for her rights as she gets older. It’s not just us here, it’s happening everywhere and we need to be conscious of it and do something.
“We have systematic racism on an epic level, even down to the TV they push into our kids system and we have to do something about it,” she noted
Last week the United States Justice Department sanctioned the Cleveland Ohio Police Department. Accusing them of using excessive force in dealing with communities of color.
In a new report, released last week, the United Nations Committee Against Torture expresses deep concern over the “frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals.”