An unarmed Arizona man was shot dead by a Phoenix police officer who mistook a pill bottle for a handgun, police said.
Police have yet to name the 30-year-old white officer, who fired off two shots that killed Rumain Brisbon, a 34-year-old black man, during an altercation Tuesday night during an investigation into a drug deal, police said.
But witness accounts varied on what actually happened, sparking protests in Phoenix Thursday night as the fever pitch from the police killings of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, boiled over into the streets of the southwestern United States.
The police-involved shooting gives “the impression it’s open season for killing black men,” Ann Hart, the chairwoman of the African American Police Advisory Board for South Phoenix, told KPNX-TV.
“We need to look into that,” Hart told the NBC affiliate. “We need to take a deeper dive into why police officers are feeling compelled to shoot and kill as opposed to apprehend and detain, arrest and jail.”
One friend, who was with Brison moments before the shooting, said the man, a father to four girls, was bringing takeout dinner to his children at an apartment complex, and 24 hours after the killing, the Arizona Republic reported, french fries remained strewn across the shooting scene.