A Frankford man was shot and killed by a Philadelphia police officer during a traffic stop in Mayfair early Monday, a shooting that sparked now-familiar calls for investigations by the dead man's family and others.
The victim was identified by his family as Brandon Tate-Brown, 26, who had spent time in prison and was working for the Hertz car rental company.
At a vigil near where he died, more than 130 supporters and family members gathered Monday night to denounce the police for what they said was an unwarranted killing.
His mother, Tonya Dickerson, likened his death to that of Michael Brown, whose fatal shooting by police in Ferguson, Mo., sparked protests nationwide.
"My son didn't do nothing to deserve this," she tearfully told the crowd.
She acknowledged his time in prison, but said, "The debt is paid."
Dickerson said her son had worked himself up in life with jobs, first at a hamburger stand, then at a temp agency, and most recently with Hertz. She vowed to march in protest of her son's killing "till I got no breath left."
At one point, the crowd chanted, "No justice, no peace!"
The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, which has been involved in calls for protests against decisions by grand juries not to indict white officers who have fatally shot black males, has taken an interest in this case.
Outside the family home in Frankford Monday, Matthew Smith, president of the National Action Network's Pennsylvania chapter, said the network was seeking "justice - whatever it is."
Police on Monday released preliminary information on the confrontation, which happened about 2:45 a.m. on the 6600 block of Frankford Avenue, a commercial strip near Magee Avenue:
Two uniformed 15th Police District officers stopped Tate-Brown because he was driving without headlights, police said. When the officers approached the car, a Dodge Charger with Florida tags, they saw a handgun on its center console.
The officers asked Tate-Brown to get out of the car, and when he did, a struggle began. He broke free from the officers and forced his way to the passenger side of the vehicle, where he tried to retrieve the handgun, said Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.
That's when one of the officers fired, hitting Tate-Brown once in the head, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:05 a.m.
Police said the gun in the car, a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol with eight rounds, had been reported stolen in July 2013. The partner of the officer who fired was taken to a hospital after the incident for observation, police said.
Outside the family home on Monday on the 5200 block of Horrocks Street in Frankford, Tate-Brown's family said had made efforts to turn his life around.
"He was a normal young man," said his cousin Susan Walker. "He had his issues, but he straightened up and got it together. He didn't deserve to die."
His younger brother Jauwan Dickerson, 20, described him as "goofy" and popular. "Everybody loved him," he said of Tate-Brown, who was known also as "Man-Man."
Tate-Brown was arrested at age 19 on attempted murder and related charges in a Juniata Park shooting. Police said he walked up to two men sitting on a porch, pulled a .40-caliber handgun from his waistband, and opened fire, striking one of the men three times in the leg, and grazing the other.
Police said Tate-Brown had been feuding with the men and returned to settle the fight with a gun. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, aggravated assault, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Court records show that he was released in September 2012, about four months after serving his minimum sentence. He was scheduled to be on parole until 2017, the records show.
Monday's shooting will be separately investigated by the police Internal Affairs Division and the Homicide Unit, which will forward their findings to the District Attorney's Office.
The officer who fired the gun has been placed on administrative duty, as is routine in all such shootings, police said.
Stanford said the officer has served on the force for about a year and a half. Per department policy, police have not released his name or his race.
Monday's incident is the fourth fatal police-involved shooting this year, of 26 police-involved shootings.
By this time last year, according to department records, officers had been involved in 42 shootings, 13 of them fatal.
Directive 10: Use of Force Involving Discharge of Firearms
A. It is the policy of the Philadelphia Police Department that our officers hold the highest regard for the sanctity of human life, dignity, and liberty of all persons. The application of deadly force is a measure to be employed only in the most extreme circumstances and all lesser means of force have failed or could not be reasonably employed.
B. The most serious act in which a police officer can engage during the course of his official duties is the use of deadly force. The authority to carry and use firearms in the course of public service is an immense power, which comes with great responsibility.
C. Police officers shall not use deadly force against another person, unless they have probable cause that they must protect themselves or another person from imminent death or serious bodily injury. Further, an officer is not justified in using deadly force at any point in time when there is no longer probable cause to believe the suspect is dangerous, even if deadly force would have been justified at an earlier point in time.
D. When feasible under the circumstances, police officers will give the suspect a verbal warning before using deadly force.
E. Police officers using their professional judgment should not discharge their weapon when doing so might unnecessarily endanger innocent people.
F. After using deadly force, officers shall immediately render the appropriate medical aid and request further medical assistance for the suspect and any other injured individuals when necessary and safe to do so and will not be delayed to await the arrival of medical assistance. EndText
Contributing to this article were Inquirer staff writers Robert Moran, Mike Newall, and Dylan Purcell.