A police officer in Phoenix, Ariz. Shot and killed an unarmed Black man Tuesday, adding to the nationwide rumblings in the wake of the shootings of Mike Brown and Tamir Rice. A White cop shot 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon after mistaking a bottle of pills for a handgun.
According to several reports, a citizen alerted Phoenix police to what they thought was a drug deal around 6 p.m. local time on Dec. 3. After three officers approached Brisbon as he was placing something in the trunk of his SUV, they claim he made a motion to his waistband and began to run away. During a struggle, the officer felt what he thought was a handgun in Brisbon’s pockets but were reportedly a bottle of pills.
More from NBC News:
“This one went bad from the standpoint of how it ended, but the officer was doing exactly what we want him to do,” Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman, said at a news conference Wednesday.
But Ann Hart, chairwoman of the African American Police Advisory Board for South Phoenix, said the shooting only reinforces “the impression it’s open season for killing black men.”
“We need to look into that,” Hart told NBC station KPNX of Phoenix. “We need to take a deeper dive into why police officers are feeling compelled to shoot and kill as opposed to apprehend and detain, arrest and jail.”
Sgt. Crump continued to defend the unnamed officer’s actions, but around 100 protesters marched to police headquarters Thursday evening demanding answers. Friends and supporters claim that Brisbon, who has been identified as an ex-con, was simply delivering dinner to his children the night of his death. His two children were in a back room when the fight was occurring.
Police say they recovered marijuana and a handgun from Brisbon’s SUV. The pills were said to be oxycodone.
Photo: NBC News/KPNX