Black Lives Matter protesters and a man’s loved ones are looking for answers after an unidentified female police officer shot an unarmed Black man in the abdomen on Saturday night.The mansurvived the shooting and was in critical condition over the weekend.
According to the victim’s girlfriend, Tasha Wade, the officer shot her boyfriend, Larry “Sincere” Bouie, in front of the couple’s two nine-year-old sons. The officer did not ask any questions before firing, Bouie’s family maintains, and Bouie was unarmed when he was shot.
The couple’s car battery died near a police station in Paterson, New Jersey. Bouie’s brother, Greg Bouie, was working nearby, selling t-shirts and other merchandise on the street. Bouie asked his brother for help but Greg Bouie was too busy working and ignored him. “I feel really bad for that now,” he said. Bouie then walked back toward Wade and his sons.
“I heard him yell ‘Help!’ and then a pow!” Greg Bouie said.
Bouie then began “going crazy” and showing signs of emotional distress.
“He was wilding and going crazy,” Wade said. “We tried to call an ambulance and calm him down, but couldn’t calm him. Then police came. She got out of the car, he was still acting crazy, she pulled out her gun, and she shot him.”
No arrests have been made yet, but the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating.
“The scene has been secured and the investigation is active and ongoing,” said chief assistant prosecutor Mary Ryan.
According to a prosecutor’s statement, officers were responding to a man “acting erratically” outside of the police station. However, Wade questions why officers did not try to deescalate the situation before resorting to gun violence.
“We were out there screaming,” she said. “My son tried to pick him up off the ground. He was holding his stomach where the police shot him. He asked the police officer why did you shoot me. He tried to get up, but he couldn’t.”
“[The officer] didn’t say not one thing,” Wade added. “He was just screaming for help.”
Wade said she was not sure why Bouie was acting erratically.
“I don’t know. I guess what he was going through. I don’t know what got into him. We’re trying to find out ourselves,” she said.
The Paterson chapter of Black Lives Matter is demanding the release of any video footage as well as the name of the unidentified officer who shout Bouie.
“Instead of de-escalating when called, officers instead escalate with violence, leaving the victim injured or worse,” said Zellie Imani, a BLM organizer, in a statement on Sunday.
“There’s this thing where people want safety, but we realize that safety isn’t coming from the police officers themselves,” Imani reported to ThinkProgress. “When we do call them for support, someone ends up being harmed that wasn’t supposed to be harmed.”
BLM Paterson started a Change.org petition seeking support for releasing evidence from the shooting.
“We demand transparency. We demand accountability. We demand justice,” the petition states. “We want the full story of what transpired that night when our brother, Sincere, was shot!”
At a BLM rally on Monday activists shouted “What is her name” and “No justice, no peace, no more racist police.”
Greg Bouie thanked protesters for their continued support.
“They did something very wrong to my brother,” he said.
Wade and Greg Bouie both said they had not been able to see Bouie at the hospital. A police officer told Wade over the weekend that Bouie was in stable condition, she reported.
Although Bouie survived, other recent shootings of Black men and women have raised the question of why officers often do not try to deescalate the situation before opening fire on Black men. The shooting death of Alfred Olango in El Cajon, California, brought this issue to light.
According to Olango’s sister, Olango, like Bouie, was not acting like himself. She called police to help her brother. Officers said Olango was acting erratically and failed to comply. Two officers fired their weapons at the same time one a gun, the other a Taser. Olango succumbed to his injuries.
Recently, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the New York Police Department for resorting to deadly force in the case of an emotionally disturbed elderly Black woman. Officers responded to a call saying that 66-year-old Deborah Danner was acting irrationally. A sergeant entered her apartment and found Danner, who police knew had mental health issues, holding scissors.
Barry convinced Danner to put down the scissors, but she then picked up a baseball bat and charged at him, police said. Danner tried to strike the sergeant and he fired two shots from his service revolver, striking her in the torso, police said.
“It’s quite clear that our officers are supposed to use deadly force only when faced with a dire situation,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. “It’s hard for any of us to see if that standard was met here.”