Advocates of Brandon Tate-Brown are renewing their calls for charges against the Philadelphia officer who fatally shot the 26-year-old.
Activists say they won’t stop agitating until the December case that arose from a disputed traffic stop is reopened.
Flanked by a group of black activists, civil rights advocates and clergy, Tate-Brown’s mom Tanya Dickerson demanded the officer be held accountable.
“I’m asking you to stop pretending like this is a soap opera. This is real. This is happening,” said Dickerson, standing near the spot where her son died eight months ago. “At first I thought this was a war, but the colored people are not fighting back. We’re being slaughtered. It’s time to fight back.”
Tate-Brown was pulled over at Frankford Avenue near Magee about 2:45 a.m. Dec. 15 for driving without his headlights on. Police say they saw a gun in the car’s console, which prompted them to ask Tate-Brown to step out of the car. Shortly after, a struggle erupted that resulted in Tate-Brown’s death.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has decided not to charge the police involved in Tate-Brown’s killing, calling the episode a tragedy but not a crime. He says the officers acted in self-defense.
Tate-Brown backers disrupted a town hall meeting in March by hurling chairs and chanting “black lives matter” following the announcement that the officers would not be charged.
A civil suit filed by the family claims that police could have planted the gun later recovered from Brown’s car. Investigators have said it contained some of Brown’s DNA.
Paula Peebles of the National Action Network was among the crowd that gathered Wednesday to seek charges against Officer Nicholas Carrelli, who shot and killed Brown.
“We will not stop until Carrelli, Nicholas Carrelli, Police Officer Nicholas Carrelli is arrested for the shooting death of Brandon Tate Brown, and indeed that he has his date in court,” Peebles said.
But police say that day in court will never come since Carrelli, a two-year veteran of the force, has already been cleared of any wrongdoing.
When the case first came under intense scrutiny, police claimed that Tate-Brown was shot while he was reaching in his car for a loaded gun.
But months later, that narrative dramatically shifted. Following the release of surveillance footage, police now say Tate-Brown was shot near the trunk of his car.
In the eight months since Tate-Brown’s death, supporters have staged dozens of protests around the city, and activists have organized on Twitter using his name as a unifying hashtag.
Police released the names of the officers involved in the shooting shortly after the incident and have shown the surveillance footage of the shooting to Brown’s family.
Still, Brown’s supporters insist that justice will not be served until the officer who pulled the triggered is fired and charged with a crime.
Asa Khalif, Tate-Brown’s cousin and local activist around social justice issues, said the protests are not going to cease any time soon.
“We’re gonna march on it. We’re gonna march on your offices. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure you never forget Brandon Tate-Brown, and make sure there is justice for Brandon Tate-Brown, and make sure you get exactly what you deserve, and that’s a jail cell,” said Khalif, referring to Carrelli.