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Phoenix Cop Kills Unarmed Black Man

Officer said he mistook pill bottle for gun
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 3:41 AM CST
Updated Dec 5, 2014 7:54 AM CST

(Newser) – As people in cities around the country protested the Eric Garner case, demonstrators in Phoenix gathered in outrage at yet another killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. Rumain Brisbon, 34, was shot dead Tuesday night by an officer who says he mistook a pill bottle in the man's pocket for a gun as he struggled with him after a chase, the Arizona Republic reports. According to the Washington Post, Brisbon was shot inside his family's apartment in the presence of his girlfriend and 15-month-old child. Police say Brisbon was a suspected drug dealer who ran away when he was ordered to put his hands up. "This one went bad from the standpoint of how it ended, but the officer was doing exactly what we want him to do," which is investigate reports of crime at that apartment complex, a police spokesman says.

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Investigators say they recovered marijuana and a handgun from Brisbon's SUV, the AP reports. Friends and relatives say Brisbon, a father of four, was just delivering food to his children, and a lawyer for the family says witnesses dispute the police account. "What happened here is a police officer murdered my client," she tells the Post. "And what the police say happened, it doesn't make any sense at all. There's something not right with it." A friend who witnessed some of the incident tells the Republic that he never saw the officer try to talk to Brisbon. "Who's gonna argue with police?" he says. "He had no death wish." In nearby Tempe, police say they've canceled tomorrow's "Run From the Cops 5K" fundraising race out of "sensitivity, respect, and support for all sides of an important debate taking place all across our country," reports ABC15. (Read more Phoenix stories.)

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