Another day, another Black person’s name trending on Twitter because their life was tragically cut short by the hands of the police.
On July 28, Donnell Thompson, 27, was shot to death by a Los Angeles SWAT Team that mistakenly believed Thompson was involved in a recent carjacking.
According to The Los Angeles Times, deputies in armored cars were looking for Robert Alexander, who stole a car at gunpoint and opened fire on sheriff’s deputies in Compton, California, before disappearing into the neighborhood. While SWAT looked for Alexander, they found Thompson, who’s been described as having the mental capacity of a 16-year-old, asleep in a neighbor’s yard.
Police came across Thompson when responding to the neighbor’s 911 call that a man was lying in his front yard. When the deputies arrived on the scene, they claimed that Thompson had “one hand concealed and what looked like a gun nearby.”
When Thompson didn’t respond to their initial commands, the officers detonated flash-bangs, but he still didn’t move, so they hit him with foam bullets, The Washington Post wrote. Now awake, Thompson allegedly got up and ran toward the armored trucks, which resulted in a deputy shooting the 27-year-old twice in the torso with an assault rifle.
As Thompson died, Alexander was found and arrested a few houses down.
Yet, for the past week and a half, the police swore that Thompson was Alexander’s accomplice, a claim the LAPD now says wasn’t the case. However, officials explained that their deputy killed Thompson because they believed he had a weapon and feared for their life. A weapon that never existed, a recent review of the shooting concluded.
Either way, the police killed an innocent man.
“No question this is a terribly devastating event,” Capt. Steve Katz, head of the sheriff’s homicide bureau, said during a news conference on Tuesday. “Knowing what we know now, do we wish it hadn’t happened? It speaks for itself,” he added.
Katz also confirmed that there was “no physical evidence” connecting Thompson to the carjacking and he promised a “thorough” and “complete” investigation of his death, the Associated Press noted.
However, Thompson’s family stressed that the police overreacted and that Donnell posed no threat, especially given that he was “kind-hearted and soft-spoken.”
“I wouldn’t treat an animal this bad,” his sister Matrice Stanley told the county Board of Supervisors “How is this justifiable?”she asked.
Stanley also believes that race played a huge role in her brother’s death and questioned why a deputy in an armored vehicle would need to use deadly force. “[Donnell] can’t go through armored cars,” she said.
Another sister, Antoinette Brown, hopes that the family can get some justice.
“My little brother was innocent. It hurts me to my heart to just imagine how he was we wrongfully killed that night. I just don’t understand and I want answers,” she said.
As of now, the deputy responsible for killing Thompson has been reassigned and his name has yet to be released to the media.
Clearly, this story has gotten a response out of Black Twitter:
Once again, why is so hard for the police to stop killing us?