Rumain Brisbon shooting: Protests after Arizona police officer shoots dead unarmed black man

Killing follows deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner

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The Independent US

Protesters in the Arizona city of Phoenix are demanding to know the name of a police officer who shot an unarmed black man on Tuesday evening.

Last night around 200 demonstrators protested the killing of 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon, marching to Phoenix police headquarters and blocking streets, according to local broadcaster CBS5.

The shooting comes in the wake of a series of high profile killings of unarmed black men by police in the United States, and an on-going debate in the country about the policing of black communities.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri sparked nationwide protests in August and again late last month after a grand jury failed to indict the officer responsible.

Further protests occurred this week after a New York grand jury failed to indict a white New York City police officer whose chokehold was followed by the death of the unarmed black man, Eric Garner.

There have been demonstrations of solidarity with the protesters across the world, including in London.

In the latest encounter in Phoenix, the local police department said Mr Brisbon was sitting in a car outside a local shop when an officer chased him from his vehicle.

"The officer gave the suspect several commands to get on the ground but he refused to comply, yelling profanities at the officer," the police department said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

A scuffle ensued during which the officer shot the man twice in the torso. Mr Brisbon was pronounced dead at the scene after back-up officers arrived.

The police department said the police officer involved believed Mr Brisbane to be armed and that witnesses had said he was selling drugs.

Police said Mr Brisbon was carrying pain-relief pills, and that a handgun and a jar of what is believed to be marijuana were found in his car. It is possible for marijuana to be lawfully acquired in the state of Arizona, where it is legal for medical purposes.

The 30-year-old officer was not injured in the scuffle.

The United States, with its relaxed firearms regulations, has a relatively high rate of gun crime compared to other developed countries, but recent killings involving unarmed black males have raised eyebrows despite the regularity of shootings.

Some critics have blamed the grand jury system, unique to the United States, for failing to hold police officers to account.

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