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Video Shows Protesters Brawling With Philadelphia Police After Brandon Tate-Brown Shooting Decision

Demonstrators interrupted a community meeting between local officials after it was announced that officers involved in the shooting would not face charges.

by VICE News
Mar 20 2015, 7:13pm

Photo via Robert Moran/YouTube

VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

Ten people were arrested after protesters and police officers clashed during a Philadelphia community meeting on Thursday over the decision to clear officers involved in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Brandon Tate-Brown during a traffic stop in December.

Demonstrators interrupted the neighborhood meeting attended by District Attorney Seth Williams and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay, carrying posters reading "Black Lives Matter" and chanting "No justice, no peace." The crowd included family, friends and supporters of Tate-Brown, with the protesters eventually throwing chairs and punches. Earlier in the day while announcing the results of the investigation, Williams said the fatal shooting was a "terrible tragedy, but not a crime."

In the video, protesters are seen in a rough encounter with police officers, while chanting "Hands up, don't shoot." Both police and protesters can be seen shown shoving each other.

Supporters of Tate-Brown have expressed unhappiness with the decision and are demanding more transparency in the case. They have requested the release of the surveillance tape of the incident and the names of the two officers involved in the shooting of the motorist, who police say was reaching for a loaded pistol in the backseat of his car.

According to the the Philadelphia Police Department, Tate-Brown was pulled over on December 15 for driving with his headlights off. One of the two officers allegedly spotted a gun in the backseat of the suspect's car, which led to a struggle when they asked him to step out of the car. The gun was also stolen according to the police. 

Police maintain the notion that Tate-Brown was reaching for the gun in his car when the struggle unraveled. According to  Williams, surveillance video confirmed the officers' accounts, allegedly showing Tate-Brown was reaching for the gun in the backseat of his car when the officer shot him. The tapes and the officers' names, however, have yet to be released to the public.

Tate-Brown family's lawyer Brian Mildenberg, has said the video evidence — accessed by private investigators from a 7-Eleven store that Brown stopped at moments before his death — refutes the officers' account.

"We know from the video that his headlights were on, and we know that he wasn't reaching for a gun when they shot him," Mildenberg said. "Whether Brandon started the struggle or whether he had a gun is not clear, but we do know [that the Police Department] lied about two items."

Tanya Dickerson, Tate-Brown's mother is also questioning the brutality behind the incident. "I would like to know why the police, law enforcement, has the right to kill instead of disabling," she sad. "It has to stop, this is enough already," Dickerson added. 

According to Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, statements from four witnesses supporting the police officers' statements were also used in the investigation. Ramsey has maintained that he will not release the cops' names, due to safety concerns. 

"What you saw tonight is the reason I'm not going to put those officers in jeopardy," Ramsey said after the meeting. "You saw what happened. So why would I do that?"