On Tuesday at approximately 6:00 pm, Phoenix police were responding to a burglary call when they were approached by a citizen who reported that drugs were being sold from a nearby black Cadillac SUV. The citizen also provided the license plate number. Police easily located the vehicle as it was owned by a resident living near where they were already investigating a loud music complaint.
When police approached the vehicle, 34-year old Rumain Brisbon exited the SUV, and began looking into his back passenger seats. The officer, whose name has not been released, asked Brisbon to show his hands but Brisbon turned and put his hands into his pants pockets. The officer immediately drew his weapon and again demanded Brisbon to show his hands. This time, Brisbon ran.
After a short foot pursuit, the officer caught up with Brisbon. Witnesses stated that the officer gave Brisbon numerous opportunities to “get on the ground”, but Brisbon refused to comply and was yelling profanities at the officer. A struggle ensued, with the officer attempting to keep Brisbon’s hands in his pockets (he later said he thought he felt the handle of a gun in Brisbon’s pocket).
The officer eventually lost the struggle after repeatedly commanding Brisbon to keep his hands in his pocket. Again, Brisbon did not comply. While Brisbon was only pulling a bottle of pain pills out of his pocket, the officer believed Brisbon was pulling a gun, and he fired two shots at Brisbon.
Brisbon died of his injuries. Police later found an unspecified weapon and what they believed to be marijuana in Brisbon’s vehicle. Phoenix Police Sgt. Crump said at a news conference, “The officer was doing exactly what we want him to do.”
The reasoning behind this, presumably, is that if Brisbon did have a weapon and the officer had not reacted as he did, the officer would now be dead instead of Brisbon. While the officer was doing the job he is paid to do, Brisbon was most likely involved in some type of criminal activity. It is also worth noting that Brisbon had a large criminal file overflowing with drug related arrests and DUIs.
Even so, in light of the current public sentiment that police brutality and excessive use of force is running rampant throughout the country, this incident could not have occurred at a worse time. Protestors are demanding that the involved officer’s name be released. They claim that Brisbon was an innocent black man who was out the night he was killed only to deliver food to his children. Brisbon was the father of four children.