|Rumain Brisbon holding one of his children|
Even as the family and friends of Akai Gurley (an innocent unarmed man shot in an apartment stairwell by a rookie NYPD cop) prepare for his funeral in Brown Memorial Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn tomorrow, the epidemic has claimed another victim.
While protests continue around the country over the failure of a Staten Island grand jury to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for Eric Garner's death, another unarmed black man has been shot and killed by a member of law enforcement.
This time by a 30 year-old Phoenix Arizona police officer with seven years on the force whose name has not yet been released.
34 year-old Rumain Brisbon, a married father of four, was inside a parked black Cadillac SUV in an apartment complex in North Phoenix when the officer approached the vehicle in response to a report of someone selling drugs from the vehicle.
According to Brandon Dickerson, a man who was sitting inside the SUV with Brisbon just before the incident, Brisbon was there to drop off some fast food to his children; he claims that Brisbon never raised his voice to the officer.
Brisbon was alone in the vehicle when the officer asked him to get out and raise his hands. Brisbon fled, running into an apartment building. The officer gave chase and a struggle ensued in a hallway.
According to an official statement from the Phoenix PD, Brisbon was reaching in his pocket during the struggle and when he ignored the officer's repeated commands to take his hand out of his pockets; the officer reached for Brisbon's hands and thought he felt a gun - so he fired two shots into Brison's chest, killing him.
Turns out the only thing he had in his pocket was a bottle of oxycodone pills.
Rumain Brisbon wasn't perfect. He had convictions for burglary, marijuana possession and DUI on his record. He'd even been shot before. Clearly he should have heeded the police officer's command to raise his hands when ordered to do so and there's no question he should never have tried to flee from the officer or get into a physical struggle with him.
But given all of that, did it really warrant two gunshots to the chest?
It's impossible for me to put myself in the officer's shoes in that situation, and it wouldn't be fair for me to judge whether or not he felt his life was in danger. But the refrain is all too familiar, an officer "felt fear" and his instinct was to squeeze the trigger of a loaded handgun.
What did the officer fear? Brisbon ran into a building; why not call for backup if he was afraid?
|Rancher Clive Bundy broke federal laws - alive, well and free.|
But then so did Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy (pictured left) - and he was most definitely well-armed when he actively resisted arrest earlier this spring.
In fact he had a whole posse of anti-government nut bags armed to the teeth who were with him.
Hell, he even held daily press conferences with the media; remember his enlightening thoughts on "the Negro"?
No law enforcement officer ran onto the ranch and tried to subdue him; and they certainly didn't shoot him in the chest or anywhere else for that matter even though Bundy had clearly broken federal law.
Rumain Brisbon had some oxycodone pills in his pocket and was simply under suspicion of having been selling them, then he resisted arrest; neither of which are capital offenses.
The sad truth? We have two separate justice systems in this country, which one you get depends on what color your skin happens to be when the cops show up, or stop you on the road or street.
You have to say this about Ebola, it's deadly but at least it has a cure and can be prevented.
The same can't be said for the epidemic that killed Rumain Brison, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, 12 year-old Tamir Rice and so many others. And will again soon if we don't find a cure.