Unarmed Black Man Killed by Police in Suspected Drug Bust

By Victoria Kim 12/09/14

Rumain Brisbon is the latest victim of a police shooting to spark protest and outrage.

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Those angered by the shooting death of Rumain Brisbon are demanding that the City of Phoenix reveal the identity of the white police officer who fatally shot Brisbon, an unarmed black man.

According to the police report, on the night of Dec. 2 police received a tip that men inside a black Cadillac SUV were engaged in a drug deal. When the authorities approached the vehicle, police said the driver, who was later identified as Brisbon, exited the SUV and appeared to remove something from the back seat.

When the officer asked the suspect to show his hands, police said Brisbon kept his hands in his waistband. When the officer drew his weapon, Brisbon ran. After a short foot chase, the officer caught up with him. According to police, Brisbon refused to comply with the officer’s commands to get on the ground. A struggle ensued. Fearing that the suspect had a gun in his pocket, the officer fired two shots, hitting Brisbon in the torso.

More officers and paramedics arrived at the scene, where Brisbon was eventually pronounced dead. The officer was unharmed. The item that the officer believed to be a gun turned out to be a bottle of oxycodone pills.

Brisbon’s death has incited protests in Phoenix. On Thursday night, about 200 civil rights activists, clergy, and community members gathered at Civic Space Park, and more gathered on Monday, demanding the city release the officer’s name and professional file.

The officer, who the police department has refused to identify, is a 30-year-old, seven-year veteran on the force. The attorney representing Brisbon’s family, Marci Kratter, said there are “numerous witnesses” that will challenge the account offered by police of what occurred on the night Brisbon died.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr