Updated 04:06 AM EDT, Wed, Apr 08, 2020

Phoenix Shooting of Unarmed Black Man Draws Comparison to Michael Brown and Eric Garner Cases - News Update

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A white Phoenix police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man twice in the torso Tuesday night, bringing into question whether excessive force was used.

Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman, said the incident began when officers responding to a suspected drug deal approached 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon as he got out of a black Cadillac SUV. As Brisbon began removing something from the back of the SUV, an unnamed officer told Brisbon to show his hands. Brisbon instead stuffed his hands into his waistband, at which point the officer drew a gun.

A foot chase ensued and the officer tussled with Brisbon in a nearby apartment complex. Brisbon refused to comply as the two tumbled inside a woman's apartment.

"The officer now has not got his hand grasped around the suspects hand, it is in the suspect's pocket, and the suspect's hand is trying to hold his hand in his pocket," Crump said in speaking with Fox 10 Phoenix. "The suspect is trying to remove his hand and ultimately the officer's grip breaks, he breaks free and as soon as he does, (the officer) pulls out his weapon."

What the officer believed to be a gun handle turned out to be a bottle of oxycodone pills. Police say the found a semiautomatic handgun and marijuana in the vehicle Brisbon ran from. Brisbon was serving five years of probation related to a 1998 burglary conviction and had been booked multiple times on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Brandon Dickinson, who said he was in the SUV shortly before the shooting, said Brisbon was simply dropping off food from McDonalds to his children. "I didn't hear the police say nothing, I didn't hear them say freeze or anything of a police nature, i heard it afterwards, but I did not hear it before," said Dickerson. Crump expects numerous witnesses to challenge the officer's account.

Phoenix police quickly released a vivid account of what transpired in an effort to promote transparency.

Crump's statement came as a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner early Wednesday, and just over a week after a Missouri grand jury chose not to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown.

Protestors chanted "I can't breathe" and "Hands up, don't shoot" as they rallied in places like Oakland and Manhattan, the latter coined in the wake of Brown's death last summer. Brown, like Brisbon, was unarmed when a white police officer killed him.

A community rally for Brisbon plans to head downtown Thursday night and a public march is scheduled for Friday.

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