Phoenix protesters demand justice in killing of unarmed black man

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Recent protests around the country have been calling attention to several high-profile cases involving police officers killing unarmed black men.

In Phoenix Monday night, demonstrators took to the streets to protest the killing of Rumain Brisbon. The 34-year-old was shot and killed by a police officer last week.

On Monday, about 150 protesters marched more than a mile through the streets of downtown Phoenix, before gathering in front of Phoenix Police Headquarters near 7th Avenue and Washington.

At one point, some demonstrators even lay down on the light rail tracks.

The protesters say they're fed up with the recent alleged police brutality.

"We just want to spread awareness to let everybody know that Rumain was loved and he was backed 100 percent," says Kimberly Simpson. "We want them know that what they did was absolutely wrong. They took an innocent man away from his family away from his kids, and it's wrong."

In the Brisbon case, Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said the officer responded Tuesday to reports of someone selling drugs out of a Cadillac SUV. The officer ordered Brisbon, the sole occupant, to show his hands.

Authorities say Brisbon ran inside an apartment building and then got into a struggle with the officer. Brisbon put his hand in his pocket, and when the officer grabbed the hand, he thought he felt the handle of a gun through Brisbon's pants, police said.

Police say the officer repeatedly told Brisbon to keep his hand in his pocket, then shot him twice when he didn't.

Police say the item being held in Brisbon's pocket was a pill vial containing a number of oxycodone tablets.

Brisbon, an ex-convict, was hit in the torso, and later pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators recovered a semi-automatic handgun and a jar of marijuana from his SUV.

An internal investigation is underway, Crump said. Prosecutors will determine whether the officer will face criminal charges.