Two unarmed black men shot by brutal US police, new protest held in Olympia
A new protest has been held in Olympia, Washington after a police officer shot and seriously wounded two unarmed African Americans.
The two men, who are stepbrothers identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, were shot early on Thursday morning on suspicion of shoplifting.
Officer Ryan Donald arrived at a store at around 1 a.m. after receiving calls, reporting attempted shoplifting by two men, who fled after throwing some items at store employees.
Donald made contact with the suspects about 15 minutes later and shot them at about 1:16 a.m., said Police Chief Ronnie Roberts at a news briefing on Thursday.
Donald opened fire on one of the suspects during a confrontation at the back of the patrol vehicle. However, the two fled into the woods and the officer shot the second suspect multiple times in the torso during a second altercation.
Donald has reported that he was assaulted by one of the suspects with a skateboard.
Roberts said that “We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event.”
Following the incident, several demonstrators, waving signs and chanting “No Justice, No Peace,” held a protest for about a half-hour outside at City Hall in Olympia.
Stephen Buxbaum, mayor of Olympia, called for calm, saying “Let’s not be reactive. Let’s take the path of consciously addressing our questions of what happened as best we can, seek justice and healing.”
Protestors were also chanting “skateboard does not equal a deadly weapon”.
The killing of black men by white police officers has triggered numerous protests in the United States since the August 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Police brutality and the unnecessary use of heavy-handed tactics have become a major concern across the US in recent years. US police shoot and kill an average of 1,000 people a year, 1 in 4 of whom are unarmed, according to a report by the Police Policy Studies Council.