Angry outbursts mixed with calls for justice at a rally for Brandon Tate-Brown Saturday, stoked by claims from Tate-Brown’s mother that surveillance footage contradicts the official story of her son’s death.
Under heavy snowfall, Tanya Brown-Dickerson told protesters outside the 15th District in Mayfair that the video, which she saw last week, shows her son running toward the back of his car when he was shot.
Police said during a traffic stop, Tate-Brown, 26, exited his car, but struggled with officers after they saw a gun in his car’s center console. They say he “forced his way back to his vehicle and attempted to retrieve the gun forced his way back to his vehicle and attempted to retrieve the gun” when they fatally shot him in the head around 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 15.
According to Brown-Dickerson, the video shows a scuffle, but does not show Tate-Brown trying to get into the car to retrieve a gun when he was shot.
“We knew, but we let it come out on it’s own,” said Tate-Brown’s sister Dominique Chappelle, 28. “It’s very disturbing.”
About 110 protesters met Saturday afternoon at the spot on the 6700 block of Frankford Avenue where Tate-Brown was shot, then marched to the 15th District, where about 30 officers lined up in front of the building.
“It just makes people angrier,” said protester Caleb Gallus, 30, a member of the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee of Philadelphia, of Brown-Dickerson’s description of the video.
Anti-cop anger was on display with several protesters shouting “F— the police!” and screaming insults at the officers. One told the officers that they were “legitimate military targets.”
But the majority of protesters just demanded that police release surveillance video of the shooting from nearby stores to the public and release the names of the officers involved in the shooting.
“This is not about Ferguson, this is not about Eric Garner, this is about police brutality, this is about a cover-up,” said Brianna White, 29.
Police have said the video will not be released pending an investigation and that the names will not be released unless charges are filed against the officers.
The protesters peacefully left to march back to the site of the shooting and dispersed around 4 p.m.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey let Brown-Dickerson and her lawyer view the footage to provide “closure,” he told the Daily News last week. He maintained that the video does not contradict the police, citing eyewitness accounts.
Calls to release the tape mounted after police revealed last week that officers involved in the shooting had been cleared of departmental violations weeks ago. The shooting is still under review by the D.A.’s office.
Having seen the video, Brown-Dickerson’s lawyer Brian Mildenberg said he will request the U.S. Department of Justice review the tape.
Chappelle said she doubts that the loaded .22-caliber Taurus pistol that police recovered from her brother’s Dodge Charger even belonged to Tate-Brown, saying that after serving five years in prison, he would not have risked returning to jail.
“They won’t release the tape because they say this can’t be tried in the media and judged by the public,” Chappelle said. “But the police was his judge and executioner.”