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Grand Jury Does Not Charge Friendswood Police Officer in 2016 Fatal Shooting – Part 2

English: A photo I took of a Fremont Police Of...
English: A photo I took of a Fremont Police Officer during a traffic stop. To be used for purposes of showing the vehicle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week a grand jury handed down a decision with regard to the alleged fatal police shooting of Toby Cummins on November 29, 2016. A police officer discovered Cummins, who fit the description of the suspect, walking on S. Friendswood Drive and told him to stop. The suspect refused and then allegedly lunged at the police officer with an open box cutter. The police officer claimed that he was in fear for his life and he then allegedly shot the suspect four times. Cummins later died at a hospital.

The videos of the Friendswood police shooting were not released until this week. When the decision to keep the recordings from the public eye during the investigation was made, according to Kelly Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, it was because of the highly controversial and highly publicized dashcam video of a traffic stop leading to the arrest of Sandra Bland.

Bland was an African-American woman who had a confrontation with a police officer and famously refused to extinguish her cigarette inside of her car. She ended up being arrested after an altercation with the officer who pulled her over. Three days later, Bland was found dead in her cell, having apparently committed suicide in the Waller County jail. The dashcam video of her traffic stop went viral across the world, and Bland’s story has been a rallying point for cries of alleged racial discrimination by law enforcement officials and alleged police brutality.

There are numerous bodycam shots and dashcam videos of the alleged police shooting in Friendswood, now available for public view.

In the Cummins’ case, the family members question why the officer felt the need to use deadly force. They don’t understand why a person with a box cutter can’t be stopped with a stun gun or shots that don’t kill. The use of alleged excessive force is also a theme of a growing outcry today, calling for police to be held accountable for their actions.

See Part1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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