Brutality, civil rights violations alleged in Brisbon suit

Lawyers representing the estate of Rumain Brisbon spoke Tuesday about the federal lawsuit against the Phoenix Police Department and the officer who killed him at his home in December.

Brisbon was shot by Officer Mark Rine after returning from a McDonald's. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office didn't press charges in the incident, stating the shooting was justified.

Police have said they were at Brisbon's apartment complex because of an active drug deal. They attempted to question Brisbon while he walked the 30 feet from his parking spot to his front door.

The complaint alleges Phoenix police had no probable cause to arrest him or "reasonable articulable suspicion" to detain him. There was a struggle that ended inside the victim's home.

RELATED: 3 key questions in Brisbon death

While standing on the steps of federal court in downtown Phoenix, lawyers said Brisbon was acting within his civil rights when he was shot.

"While Rumain Brisbon was on the ground, defendant Rine pointed his weapon at Mr. Brisbon, who was unarmed and nonthreatening and had his hands up as if he was scared of surrendering," said LaShawn Jenkins of Jenkins Law Firm. "Despite his submissive posture and the fact that Rumain Brisbon was on the floor of the apartment residence, defendant Rine shot him while he was in that submissive position."

The complaint says Brisbon looked paralyzed after he was shot the first time. It says this is when Rine stood over the victim and fired the shot that killed him.

"As Rumain Brisbon lay seriously wounded on the floor, defendant Rine stood over him and fired a second shot," said Jenkins. "In response, Rumain Brisbon then moaned 'I'm dying.' It was only then that defendant Rine stopped subjecting the unarmed Mr. Brisbon to deadly force."

The document states the bullet severed Brisbon's spine and ultimately killed him. The suit alleges seven violations, including deprivation of civil rights and police brutality.

Lawyers have requested a jury trial.

The Phoenix Police Department has declined to comment.


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