Phoenix Cop Won't Face Charges for Fatally Shooting Unarmed Man

A Phoenix cop won't be charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black man late last year.

Rumain Brisbon was fatally shot at an apartment complex on December 2 after a scuffle with Phoenix Police Officer Mark Rine. Police said the officer thought Brisbon was reaching for a gun in his pocket, although he turned out to be unarmed.

Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb tells New Times that every officer-involved shooting is reviewed by the County Attorney's Office to make sure an appropriate level of force was used, and "in this instance, we determined it was [appropriate]."

See also: -Phoenix Police Union: Rumain Brisbon "Had the Choice to Live"

According to police, the confrontation between the officer and Brisbon came about after the officer was told by a witness that people in a black Cadillac SUV were selling drugs at nearby 7-Eleven store. The officer ran the license plate number, and the address came back to an apartment complex where, separately, someone had made a noise complaint to police.

Police the officer planned to deal with the noise complaint first, then check out the complaint about the Cadillac.

The radio call for the noise complaint was canceled by the time the officer got there, but the officer spotted the black SUV and called for backup, police say.

At that point, Brisbon got out of the SUV and opened a back door, apparently taking something out of the vehicle (later discovered to be a bag of food). The officer told Brisbon to put up his hands, but Brisbon ran instead, police say.

The officer told investigators that when he was in the physical struggle with Brisbon, he thought he felt the butt of a gun in Brisbon's pocket, which led to the officer shooting Brisbon, according to police.

The officer had lost his grip on Brisbon's hand shortly after the two literally stumbled into an apartment when an occupant opened the door. The occupant was later discovered to be Brisbon's girlfriend, who had her 2- and 9-year-old kids in a back bedroom. The object in Brisbon's pocket was a vial of pills.

It's also been reported that an autopsy report showed Brisbon was shot twice, including once in the back.

Brisbon's death received significant attention not only due to the nationwide concern over police killings, but also due to local protests, and the fact that Rine is white, and Brisbon was black.

Reverend Jarrett Maupin, who led several protests against Phoenix PD for the killing of Brisbon, isn't letting the issue get away. He's calling on the Justice Department to investigate.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley