Date: December 2, 2014
Officer: Mark Rine
Rumain Brisbon was at a 7-Eleven in Phoenix, Arizona, on December 2, 2014, when someone called the police with a tip about a possible drug deal going on at the nearby convenience store. Officer Mark Rine was responding to a noise complaint at a nearby apartment complex when he dropped that case in order to pursue the possible drug deal. He ran Brisbon’s license plate, which matched the informant’s call. Brisbon was pulling something out of the back seat of his SUV when Rine told him to put his hands up, but Brisbon put them in his waistband. Rine drew his weapon and Brisbon started running to his girlfriend’s apartment. Rine caught up to Brisbon at the apartment, wrestled with him, and Brisbon put his hand in his pocket. Rine held Brisbon’s hand in his pocket, believed to have felt the butt of a gun, and shot him twice. Brisbon was struck in his lower left torso and in the back near his right shoulder blade. The object in his pocket was a prescription bottle containing Oxycodone. He was killed in front of his girlfriend and their 15 month old child. He was 34 years old.
Police accounts of the story dispute the witness accounts. While police believe that he was in the middle of a drug deal, witnesses and Brisbon’s family says that he was dropping off fast food for his four children, and french fries were scattered outside his girlfriend’s door. Brian Dickerson was inside the SUV with Brisbon before the incident and concurs that they were delivering the food. He also disputes the police account that Brisbon was yelling at Rine, saying that Brisbon “didn’t have a death wish.” Brisbon’s attorney launched her own investigation of the case, talking to neighbors, and one said that “he didn’t hear any screaming or anything like that… He heard what sounded like scuffling, then gunshots, then the officer screaming, ‘Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!'” She calls Rine’s competency as an officer into question because he thought a prescription bottle was the butt of the gun, adding that it was irresponsible for an officer to approach a possible suspect in a drug deal alone, especially when they had the license plate number and address, so they could’ve done a surveillance detail.
When asked about the case, Sergeant Trent Crump said, “Let's be very clear: The officer was doing what we expect him to do, which is investigate crimes that neighbors are telling him are occurring in that part of the complex.” Officer Rine was put on modified duty at the police training bureau during the duration of the investigation, and he was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Brisbon’s family reached a $1.5 million settlement with the City of Phoenix for the wrongful death of Rumain Brisbon.
Cassidy, M. (2014, December 05). Unarmed Arizona man killed by cop. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/04/phoenix-police-unarmed-man-killed-by-officer/19878931/
Estes, C. (2017, June 29). Phoenix To Pay $1.5 Million To Family Of Unarmed Man Shot, Killed. Retrieved from https://kjzz.org/content/497553/phoenix-pay-15-million-family-unarmed-man-shot-killed
Frank, B. J. (2017, June 29). Phoenix City Council approves $1.5 million settlement with family of man fatally shot by police. Retrieved from https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/06/29/phoenix-city-council-approves-1-5-million-settlement-family-man-fatally-shot-police/437659001/
Hendley, M. (2019, January 21). Phoenix Police Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Man During Scuffle at Apartment Complex. Retrieved from https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/phoenix-police-officer-fatally-shoots-unarmed-man-during-scuffle-at-apartment-complex-6637602
Lewin, R. Z. (2018, January 10). Police Shooting in Phoenix Fuels Protesters' Outrage. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/06/us/phoenix-officer-who-shot-black-suspect-mistook-pill-bottle-for-gun-authorities-say.html
McCoy, T. (2014, December 05). The story of how a white Phoenix cop killed an unarmed black man. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/12/05/how-a-white-phoenix-cop-killed-an-unarmed-black-man/?utm_term=.c7585c2dcaf8
Murphy, D. (2018, April 09). Phoenix police officer won't face charges in 2014 shooting death of unarmed black man . Retrieved from https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/phoenix-cops-won-face-charges-shooting-unarmed-man-article-1.2171514
Wasser, M. (2017, February 22). Rumain Brisbon's Family Files Lawsuit, Claims Shooting Officer Lied About What Happened. Retrieved from https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/rumain-brisbon-s-family-files-lawsuit-claims-shooting-officer-lied-about-what-happened-7325465