PHOENIX, Arizona – Around 6pm Tuesday night the Phoenix Police were called to investigate a suspected drug dealer doing business out of their Cadillac Escalade in an apartment complex parking lot. The apartments were located in Northwest Phoenix near the crossroads of 25th Avenue and Greenway Road. When officers from the Phoenix Police Department arrived, the reported Cadillac Escalade was still there and was occupied by an African American male. What happened next resulted in the death of the suspect at the hands of the responding police officer.
Discussion: Phoenix Police Officer Killed Unarmed Black Man Rumain Brisbon
When the Police officer parked his vehicle near the Escalade, the occupant got out and either placed something in the back of the vehicle or took something out of it. They stuck their hands inside their waistband of their pants, resulting in the Phoenix Police officer to draw their weapon and shine their flashlight upon the suspicious activity. The gentleman then took off running from the police on foot.
The officer was able to track down the fleeing suspect, and ordered him to lay on the ground and submit to being placed under arrest. The suspect, 34 year old Rumain Brisbon then refused to cooperate with the detaining officer and began yelling vulgar obscenities at the officer. During Brisbon’s uncooperative tirade he decided to reach his hand into his pocket. The panicked police officer then ordered Brisbon to keep his hand in his pocket, in fear that he may produce a pistol from it and attempt to shoot the officer.
When the police officer approached the suspect and placed his hand on the suspect’s hand (still inside the pocket) the officer felt something hard and round that resembled the handle of a gun to him at that time. Rumain Brisbon then began to struggle with the officer, refusing to be touched by him. During the physical altercation, the police officer shot Brisbon twice which brought him to the ground. Fellow officers then proceeded to give the unresponsive Brisbon CPR, and called for medical response. Brisbon was pronounced dead.
When police searched the pockets of Rumain Brisbon they did not find a weapon, and instead found a pill bottle full of Oxycodone pills. Upon search of the Cadillac Escalade officers found marijuana, and a handgun where Rumain Brisbon had been sitting in the vehicle. The facts seemed to line up that the suspicious neighbors were right about the occupants of the Cadillac Escalade dealing drugs in their neighborhood. The illegal possession of marijuana, oxycodone, and the firearm seem to support those claims.
Rumain Brisbon has a prior criminal record in Maricopa County, including multiple aggravated DUIs, Multiple counts of Driving With Suspended License, and multiple counts of Marijuana Possession and Use, and even a Felony count of Driving with a revoked license.
Some members of the public have already begun to draw similiarities to this situation and that of the unarmed killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri. While the circumstances of the two events are not all that similar, other than a white police officer shooting an unarmed black male. In both cases it appears that the suspects’ lack of cooperation and their physical behavior had led to their ultimate deaths.
- Do you feel that the Phoenix Police officer who shot and killed Rumain Brisbon was justified?
- If you were to put yourself in Rumain Brisbon’s shoes, what would you have done differently in this situation?
- If you were the responding Phoenix Police officer, what could you have done to avoid shooting the suspect?
- Do you agree with some of the claims that this death was a racially motivated shooting, or do you feel that the Police Officer was justified in their decision to pull the trigger (regardless of either’s race)?
Discussion: Phoenix Police Officer Killed Unarmed Black Man Rumain Brisbon.