Witness to White-on-Black Killing Blames Cop

     PHOENIX (CN) – A man claims in court that he heard a white Phoenix police officer say “I fucked up” just after shooting an unarmed black man to death.
     Robert Brandon Dickerson sued Phoenix and its police Officer Mark Rine on July 9 in a civil rights complaint in Maricopa County Court.
     The fatal shooting of Rumain Brisbon on Dec. 2 last year was widely reported, amidst a flurry of other police shootings of unarmed black men.
     Dickerson says he was with Brisbon, his friend, in a black Cadillac Escalade on Dec. 2 when they parked at an apartment complex so Brisbon could drop off Happy Meals to his family.
     Brisbon’s last words to Dickerson were “I will be right back,” as he got out of the SUV and Dickerson stayed inside. Brisbon was 34.
     “Mr. Dickerson waited in the vehicle and contrary to media reports about the police officers’ stories, no police officer approached or tried to talk with Mr. Brisbon near the SUV,” the complaint states.
     Dickerson says he never heard any officers yell, and was not contacted by officers. He says he saw Officer Rine walking, and never saw Brisbon run from police or struggle with them.
     “No police vehicle ever approached the vehicle the plaintiff was in until after the shooting,” the lawsuit states. “A few minutes after Mr. Brisbon left, plaintiff heard a yell followed quickly by a gunshot and pause and then another gunshot.”
     According to police reports, Rine approached the SUV after getting a tip that an Escalade in the area was participating in a drug deal. Police claim that Brisbon got out of the vehicle, stuffed his hands down his pants and ran away from Rine, a 7-year member of the force.
     Brisbon refused to comply with Rine’s orders to get down on the ground, and the two struggled, police claimed. Rine, 30, shot Brisbon twice, allegedly for fear that he had a weapon in his pocket.
     “Soon after the shooting, plaintiff heard defendant Mark Rine state, ‘I fucked up,'” according to the complaint.
     Dickerson claims that after hearing the shots he tried to look for Brisbon and was immediately arrested, handcuffed and detained for five hours.
     He claims that “Police told the media about the drug deals in at attempt to cover up for their actions and intending to discredit and harm plaintiff. They released snippets of the interview so that his words were taken out of context.”
     He claims that police “treat(ed) him as a criminal, questioning him for over three hours about drug deals, obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle despite no legal basis to do so as no probable cause existed for said warrant. Police also obtained a search warrant for Mr. Brisbon’s home, also despite no legal basis.”
     No criminal activity was taking place before Rine killed Brisbon, Dickerson says.
     He says he “could not stop thinking about the incident for months and was scared every day; he stopped working and really stopped living, even having thoughts of suicide.”
     In April, the Phoenix Police Department released video of an interview with Dickerson after the shooting.
     In the video, Dickerson is heard saying the shooting was “not the police’s fault.” He says that when he saw Rine after the shooting, “He was hurting. He didn’t come out nonchalant. He came out like he didn’t want to do what he just did.”
     That’s the video that Dickerson says contained only “snippets” of his interview, taken out of context.
     The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced in April it would not file criminal charges against Rine.
     “That the decedent was not, in fact, in possession a firearm renders the loss of life even more tragic but does not support a conclusion that the use of deadly force was unlawful under Arizona law,” County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement.
     Dickerson said he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, and sees a psychiatrist for help.
     The Phoenix Police Department declined comment.
     Dickerson’s attorney, David Dow, did not respond to a request for comment.
     Dickerson seeks punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil rights violations, negligent supervision and gross negligence.

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