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Phoenix Protest Of Brisbon

Shooting: Just The Beginning

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Thursday Night In Downtown Phoenix, More Than 100 Gathered To Protest The Tuesday Incident That Ended With The Death Of Rumain Brisbon, With More Events Scheduled For First Friday In Downtown Phoenix


By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 5, 2014 — Surely, we all can agree that police officers working the streets of America — and the Phoenix metro — have tough jobs.

They are the ones tasked with breaking up fights, stopping crimes and other tasks generally associated with “keeping the peace.”

But such is the nature of the job. It can’t be an excuse for using violence before trying to maintain the peace. This is especially true when the “crimes” that result in violence against citizens of the United States and residents of the state of Arizona are minor.

Like selling a cigarette on the street like Eric Garner or trying to cross a street like Ursula Ore.

Tuesday night in Phoenix, a new case reared its ugly head when Rumain Brisbon was killed by a Phoenix police officer. Surely, most know the story but here’s a recap from the police: officers responded to a burglary call, were told a drug deal was going down in an SUV and when the vehicle was approached, the driver ran, was caught and in a struggle, Brisbon was shot and killed.

Found in the SUV was some marijuana and what the officer thought was a gun was really a bottle of oxycontin.

Assuming that there was really a drug deal going on — friends and family of Brisbon vehemently deny that was the case — his death was completely unacceptable. Some say if people don’t listen to police when they are told to submit and comply should expect to get shot, the point is missed.

No one should get shot by representatives of the state for such innocuous offenses. We live in a world where a modern police force like Phoenix should do whatever they can to resolve such situations without violence. Years ago, high speed chases were banned because they resulted in the death and injury of too many innocent bystanders.

Why couldn't the officer have called for backup or merely ask those in the area — there was another man in the car — where he was after he ran? Couldn’t a police helicopter have helped if he left the apartment complex?

Its a symptom of the change that policing has gone under for the past several decades. Keepers of the peace are now law enforcers. Beat cops are now community police — which is a buzzword for responding to calls instead of being part of the community, ironically.

Sgt. Trent Crump, Phoenix police spokesperson said at a press conference Thursday said that police, “do not have a duty to retreat as a police officer but we do have a duty to investigate.”

Reading between the lines, that means to be aggressive: Get the bad guys and if they resist, do what has to be done.


But only when it is warranted. For example, serious violent crimes. And sure, it is hard to tell while “investigating,” what the appropriate level of aggression is, but what officers and policy makers have to understand is that they are responsible for the safety of everyone.

That goes for criminals, suspected criminals and every other thing, too.

Some of the protestors that took to the streets Thursday in Phoenix claim 52 people have been killed by police in the state of Arizona in 2014 so far. One local activist compiled a list of 32 from news reports. Although those statistics have not been independently verified, they are likely not very far — if at all — from the actual statistics.

Last week, the FBI released the number of law enforcement that were killed or assaulted in across the U.S. in 2013: 22 were killed by felons and 49 were killed by accident.

Yes, those are also unacceptable, but the numbers reveal that while police officers fear for their lives, only 22 of thousands were actually killed compared to hundreds of citizens that have been killed. The death of one person should never be trivialized, but the point is, maybe police are not in as much danger as they might think.

Rumain Brisbon’s death has seemed to stir those outside of the activist community judging by the turnout Thursday night in downtown when more than 100 took to the streets. But it is only the beginning. Further protests are planned for First Friday on Roosevelt Row.

People across the country and the Phoenix metro are tired of police treating everyone as guilty that they may eventually find are not, especially those of color.

Who wants to submit to that?

It’s only the beginning.
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