LOS ANGELES – A white police officer shot dead a black man in Arizona when he mistook some pills for a gun, the authorities said on Thursday, amid protests in New York triggered by a string of similar incidents.
The officer believed the 34-year-old suspect was reaching into his pocket for a gun in the flashpoint on Wednesday in Phoenix, in which the man was shot twice in the chest after a struggle. It was subsequently found that Mr Rumain Brisbon had only pills in his pocket.
The shooting occurred when the officer went to investigate reported drug-related activity outside a convenience store. “During the struggle Brisbon put his left hand in his pocket and the officer grabbed onto the suspect’s hand, while repeatedly telling the suspect to keep his hand in his pocket,” said Phoenix police department in a statement.
“The officer believed he felt the handle of a gun while holding the suspect’s hand in his pocket,” it said. “The officer was unable to maintain his grip on the suspect’s hand during the struggle. Fearing Brisbon had a gun in his pocket, the officer fired two rounds, striking Brisbon in the torso.” – AFP