Police quickly released an account of the incident under pressure to ensure transparency after two racially-charged police incidents
Police in Phoenix, Ariz admitted an officer shot and killed an unarmed black man Tuesday evening during a struggle between the man and the officer, amid a backdrop of protests against similar incidents in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City.
On Wednesday, Phoenix police offered a detailed account about the interaction between Rumain Brisbon and the officer, a seven-year veteran who has not been identified, according to The Arizona Republic.
Police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump told reporters that the officer involved in Tuesday’s shooting approached an SUV on a suspected drug bust. The driver, Brisbon, exited the vehicle and appeared to remove something from the back seat, Crump said.
According to Crump’s account, the officer called on Brisbon to show his hands, but Brisbon kept his hands in his waistband. The officer then drew a weapon, and Brisbon ran, prompting a short chase that ended when the officer caught up to Brisbon at a nearby apartment complex.
In the ensuing struggle, the officer attempted to keep Brisbon’s left hand in his pocket, believing that Brisbon had a weapon there. When the officer could no longer keep Brisbon’s hand in his pocket, the officer fired two shots.
Police are still investigating the incident, according to Crump.
The fatal shooting occurred as an uproar continued into racially-charged police incidents. In August, the police shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo. prompted weeks of protests that renewed last week when a grand jury decided not to indict the officer. And it happened just a day before widespread protests broke out over another grand jury’s decision not to indict a New York City police officer linked to the death of an unarmed black man.
The city also faced protests earlier this year over the police shooting of a 50-year-old mentally ill woman, which led Phoenix’s police chief to set up an independent investigation.