AFRICANGLOBE – On the night of June 18, Tupelo, Mississippi police officer Tyler Cook pulled over a vehicle for what authorities say was a “routine traffic stop.” Minutes later, Ronnie Shumpert, a 37-year-old Black father of five, was brutalized, maimed and tortured by that officer. Then he was shot dead.
It was 9:38 pm when officer Cook pulled over the vehicle Shumpert was driving. The car belonged to his friend, Charles Foster. Foster was with Shumpert in the car. He witnessed much of what happened that night.
Shumpert allegedly had a felony warrant for his arrest, yet there’s no way the officer could have known that at the time of the traffic stop. He was never ID’d. The car he was driving was not registered in his name. To officer Cook, he was just another Black man behind the wheel of a car.
As soon as Cook pulled the car over Shumpert ran. Officer Cook pursued him with a police canine.
According to witnesses, Shumpert was hiding underneath a house when Cook found him.
Police say he immediately attacked the officer and the dog. Witnesses say otherwise. Foster and others say Shumpert immediately tried to surrender, but Cook turned the dog loose on the unarmed man. It attacked his groin, ripping off his testicles.
Autopsy photos show that there were deep gashes across his body. Several of Shumpert’s teeth were knocked out, others were shoved into his gums.
By this time Ronnie Shumpert was likely bleeding out from a gash so large “you could fit a baseball in it.” His testicles had been shredded by a vicious attack dog and he was suffering from devastating facial wounds. Yet Cook claims that the unarmed father was still a threat. That’s why he had to execute him.
According to Foster, less than five minutes passed before officer Cook shot Shumpert dead. He fired four shots. Three bullets ripped through Ronnie Shumpert’s chest. A fourth bullet entered his stomach.
Police say it was ten minutes before an ambulance was called. The nearest hospital was less than a minute away. Video from the night of the lynching shows an ambulance arriving one hour after Cook fired his weapon.
Officer Cook has had excessive force complaints filed against him before. The most recent complaint was filed less than two months ago.
According to Tupelo’s white city attorney, Ben Logan, any accusations of racial profiling, police brutality and corruption in connection with the death of Ronnie Shumpert are “just ridiculous.”
During a press conference held on June 27, Logan showed no concern over the nature and extent of Shumpert’s injuries. Instead, he accused the dead man’s family of being “instigators,” claiming that their cries for justice are “endangering the peace of the community.”
Rather than being upset over the brutal torture and unjustifiable death of an unarmed Tupelo resident, Logan went on to stress that he is “upset” about statements made by the Shumpert family attorney, Carlos Moore, saying they shine a “bad light” on attorneys.
Moore is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the death of Ronnie Shumpert, as well as the “entire Tupelo police department.” The family is demanding that officer Cook be immediately terminated from the police force. They also want the canine that bit off Ronnie Shumpert’s testicles retired immediately.
Shumpert’s family is also seeking answers from the police department. Some of the questions are about officer Cook’s history and length of time on the force. They also want to know why the first ambulance arrived on the scene an hour after Ronnie Shumpert was shot.
Aside from these demands, Moore is calling for the establishment of an independent citizen’s review board to oversee accusations of police brutality and excessive force in Tupelo.
Tupelo police are not equipped with body cameras. That’s not acceptable in 2016.
As reported by the Atlanta Black Star, New York Daily News and other media outlets, this was a modern day lynching. Out of sight of cameras, Officer Cook allowed his canine to mutilate Ronnie Shumpert in the most brutal way possible.
Witness testimony shows that Shumpert was trying to surrender when Officer Cook and the canine attacked him. Autopsy photos demonstrate that after being brutalized by Cook and his attack dog, he was defenseless at the time the officer opened fire on him.
Moore, accompanied by Ronnie Shumpert’s family, held a press conference on June 27.