The family of an African-American man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Mississippi police. The man, a father of five, was viciously attacked by a police dog before a fatal altercation with a police officer.
The family of Antwun “Ronnie” Shumpert has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the Mississippi police. The unarmed 37-year-old man was shot four times by a white officer in Mississippi after fleeing a routine traffic stop, reported Daily KOS. Before the officer gave chase, he let a police dog from the K-9 unit loose on Shumpert. The dog raced to where the man was hiding and launched a vicious attack, mauling him severely. The police officer then fired multiple shots at Shumpert, grievously injuring him. The man died in the hospital.
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The incident happened on June 18, reported Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. While authorities haven’t confirmed why Shumpert was stopped, they did add that he had an outstanding felony warrant. Records indicate he was driving within the speed limit. Moreover, he was driving a vehicle that wasn’t registered in his name. The lawyers for the family insist that Shumpert was not asked for identification before he fled. They further allege that the only reason Shumpert was stopped was because of a racist crime known as “driving while black.” Needless to say, as the name implies, it is undeniably illegal to stop anyone who is behind the wheel solely on the person’s skin color.
The police insist that even before Shumpert could be questioned, he fled, leaving the vehicle behind. They maintain that he ran away and hid underneath a home in the nearby neighborhood. Tupelo Police Officer Tyler Cook, who had signaled Shumpert to stop, released a K-9 who found the man. While the police insist that Shumpert attempted to attack the police officer, the family insists that the dog had already attacked him. Medical records indicate the dog had bit through the man’s pants and had punctured his genitals, apart from deeply scratching him across the body. Apparently, Cook then shot Shumpert four times as the latter allegedly attempted to fight off the dog.
Following the altercation, Shumpert was handcuffed and taken to Mississippi Medical Center, where he died of injuries sustained during the incident roughly five hours later, reported Essence. Members of Shumpert’s family have called for the FBI to intervene in the investigation, which is currently being handled by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, reported The Guardian.
According to Sun Herald, the FBI is now monitoring the case as it awaits results of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation’s examination of the incident. Attorney Carlos Moore, who is representing the family of the deceased, said at a press conference that there are too many unanswered questions from the police department,
“Mr. Shumpert was pulled over for a routine stop and ended up dead. That should not happen in a civilized society. And this family is very upset. The way his body was mutilated and annihilated, it goes further than Jim Crow, it goes back to slavery days.”
Officer Cook has been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. However, Mayor Jason Shelton has said the traffic stop and the use of deadly force were justified.
The city has a long history of allegations of widespread racism and discrimination against black residents. Police officers have been routinely blamed for rampant racial profiling. Quite a few high-ranking officials allegedly asked colleagues to single out blacks for tickets and citations.
According to public records, Shumpert is one of the 52 unarmed people who have died at the hands of the police in this year alone. About 18 of the victims have been African-Americans, while 17 people were reported to be white.
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