Police Shooting Caution Tape Crime Scene
Police Shooting Caution Tape Crime Scene

Baltimore Cop Fatally Shoots Unarmed Man For Imitating A Gun With His Fingers

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

An unarmed Maryland man was gunned down Wednesday after allegedly making a gun-like gesture with his fingers and pointing at a Baltimore County police officer. The Guardian reports that, in the police's words, the man had been pursued for attempting to obtain cough syrup with a fake prescription.

Police say that they responded to a call from a pharmacist, from whom man attempted to purchase cough syrup. “Narcotics detectives confirm that the suspect tried to obtain promethazine plus codeine at the Nature Care pharmacy,” Baltimore County police said in a statement. “This is a narcotic cough syrup, often combined with alcohol to produce a ‘high’.”

The police report of the incident goes on to detail that the man was shot three times and died of his injuries. His actions, specifically "reaching around to the small of his back and abruptly whipping his hand around and pointing it toward the officer, as if with a weapon" are being proffered as rationale for the officer's use of deadly force. Cops confirmed that no weapons were found at the scene of the crime. The man's identity has not yet been released and the officer who shot him has been placed on administrative leave while a departmental investigation and review by the Baltimore County DA takes place.

The shooting took place in Reisterstown, a suburb 25 miles Northwest of Baltimore. According to police statements made Thursday, surveillance footage from nearby businesses' cameras captured the incident on tape. Those same statements describe the man falling to the ground and then refusing to "comply and...reaching into his waistband, as if for a weapon.” This is clearly a case where we will have to suspend judgement until more information comes to light. But in the wake of so many high-profile, falsified reports of police officers' actions in conjunction with fatal shootings (names like Walter Scott and Baltimore local Freddie Gray come immediately to mind), the Baltimore County DA is going to have to proceed quickly and transparently to dispel the feelings of anger that are still just below the surface in our cities, Baltimore most especially. In a nutshell--we're going to need to see that video.