In the city of Olympia in Washington state, the shooting of two unarmed Black suspects over an alleged robbery has ignited protests in the region. The officer who shot the two men is white, adding to a growing list of such incidents across the nation and fueling the ongoing debate.
As reported by NBC affiliate KING 5, stepbrothers Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, were allegedly in a Safeway supermarket after 1 a.m. PT Thursday (May 21) morning. According to the report, the pair stole beer from the grocery store but threw it back at a clerk before running off. It appears that someone at the store alerted police and an officer investigating the matter happened upon the men after matching them with a description. The officer claims one of the men assaulted him, thus prompting the gunfire.
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Family members of the two men say the police overreacted.
Jasmine Thompson said she was driving on Cooper Point Road when she saw the officer shoot one of the men.
She later realized the man who had been shot was her brother.
“There was no threat, there was nothing in his hands,” said Thompson.
“I’m angry and I’m upset. I’m pissed at the Olympia police right now,” said the mother of the two men. “Did they have to open fire and shoot them? I mean I heard one was shot in the chest. Was that necessary? I don’t think so.”
Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night in Olympia to protest the shooting. They rallied first at a park, then marched about a mile to a building that houses the Olympia police headquarters and City Hall.
Thompson was listed in serious and stable condition. Chaplin was listed in critical condition. Both are expected to survive their wounds.
An investigation by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and other authorities is pending. The county prosecutor will determine whether or not to charge Officer Ryan Donald after the investigation is completed. Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts maintains race was not a factor.
Photo: KING 5.