In their fight against police brutality in this country, famed Black activists Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump will be taking on the case of Arkansas teen Hunter Brittain, who was fatally shot by police in June.
Ben Crump has become the go-to attorney for families of Black people who have been killed by police, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Al Sharpton and Ben Crump will represent Brittain and his family, saying police brutality hurts communities of all races, the Washington Post reports.
Brittain, 17, was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a White Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop in a suburb of Little Rock on June 23rd, according to police. Crump said Brittain’s shooting will help rally “greater interracial support” in the effort to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in Congress because “his blood is now on this legislation, just as Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s blood is.”
Crump added that representing Brittain’s case is aligned with the core principles of his fight for social justice and the movement against police brutality.
“We have always said it’s about trying to make sure that all our children can get home safely and not be killed by the people who are supposed to protect and defend them,” Crump said. “It does not matter if it’s a White, Brown, or Black kid.”
Crump added that this situation “will start to change the narrative and perception of the problem of police violence as the country sees that children of all races and ethnicities can be victims.”
“We’ve always said that our White brothers and sisters couldn’t imagine their child being killed by the very people who are supposed to protect them, and now the tragedy that fell on the Brittain family [demonstrates] this can happen to them too,” he said. “It is closer to home now, for people who probably could not comprehend when it was happening to Black teenagers.”
Sharpton also gave his reason for taking this case.
“Hunter did nothing wrong, just like we felt George Floyd did nothing wrong,” Sharpton told reporters before Brittain’s memorial at Beebe High School. “But if we segregate how we react, then we’re wrong.”
Crump and Brittain’s attorneys attended the memorial where hundreds gathered to celebrate the high school senior’s life, many of them wearing #JusticeforHunter T-shirts.
Sgt. Michael Davis, the officer who allegedly killed Brittain, has been fired for not activating his body camera in a timely way during the deadly traffic stop, which violates department policy.
Brittain’s family says the teen was unarmed and holding a jug of antifreeze at the time of the shooting because he was fixing his vehicle. The family is asking for the Lonoke County deputy to be tried on murder charges.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates.
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