New video footage has emerged showing that the man who police shot in the back of the head at a traffic stop actually had his headlights on all along. Police had claimed that their reason for pulling Brandon Tate-Brown, 26, over was because his headlights were off. But now video footage from a 7-Eleven shows Tate-Brown driving with his lights on shortly before the December 15th stop. That means police had no legitimate reason to pull Tate-Brown over in the first place.
The Philadelphia police officers say that Tate-Brown resisted being handcuffed, but they did not explain why he was being placed in handcuffs in the first place for simply failing to have his headlights on. Still, in spite of their lack of cause to cuff the young man, they have continuously used this as the pretext for gunning him down.
They claim that he engaged in a “violent struggle” with the two officers, and “lunged for a handgun” inside of the vehicle.
Now here’s where things get even trickier…
Television news crews arrived on the scene only minutes later and they clearly documented that Tate-Brown’s vehicle had its lights on. Officers would have been prohibited from turning the lights on after the shooting, as this would have been disturbing a crime scene and tampering with evidence.
Tate-Brown’s family says that they believe he was stopped simply for “driving while black.”
Now the video footage has confirmed their suspicions.
Tate-Brown’s family claims that he was shot in the back of the head by a racist police officer who executed him for demanding to know why he was being handcuffed.
Similarly, his family claims that after they shot him, officers used a “plant gun.” Since the police acknowledge that he had no weapon on his person, it seems difficult to imagine that they would have intuited that he had a hidden weapon inside of the vehicle.
Critics of the official police story ask that if Tate-Brown was going to shoot the officers, why did he leave the gun in the car from the beginning?
All of these things fail to add up to Tate-Brown’s family. They also cite nearby stores surveillance footage which recorded the incident. For some reason, police have refused to release those tapes, saying that they are “part of an open investigation.”
The Philadelphia police are also not releasing the names of the officers involved, nor specifying which officer fired the fatal shot to the back of Tate-Brown’s head.
Attorney Brian Mildenberg, who is representing the Tate-Brown family, said that “if the evidence is in favor of the officers and the videotape shows that, that will provide closure to the family and will remove any unwarranted suspicion from the officers and the department.”
“The fact that they are not releasing it has left open questions. Our purpose is not to stand up and say we know this is a wrongful death. We don’t know that yet because we have not been presented with the evidence. And in a democracy, that’s scary.”
Tate-Brown’s mother said she is not surprised that the officers involved have been cleared, since they are part of a corrupt and racist department.
“I’m disgusted with it. But it doesn’t discourage me, because that’s what they always say,” Tanya Brown-Dickerson explained.
“Show us the proof now. They said once the investigation is up, I would get proof. Then show me. Show me the footage. Until I see that, it’s not over.”
Supporters have marched with her almost weekly since her son was killed by the police. On the 28th of this month, she says she will speak at an anti-police brutality rally in Bridgeton, New Jersey.
“We’re not settling for your systemic oppression,” Brown-Dickerson said. “We’re not settling for you say, ‘Well it’s going get better, we’re working on it.’ You’ve been saying that for 75 years.”
(Article by M. David and Reagan Ali; h/t to Philly.com for reporting)