The city of Tupelo, Mississippi is now the latest location of a gruesome police brutality incident that resulted in the death of an unarmed Black man.
37-year-old Antwun Shumpert was reportedly pulled over by Tupelo police officer Tyler Cook around 9:30pm on Saturday, June 18 during a routine traffic stop. According to WTVA, the father of five promptly exited his vehicle and ran immediately after being stopped. In response, officer Cook released a K-9 who found Shumpert crouched underneath a home in the nearby neighborhood. Cook approached Shumpert shortly after to find the dog viciously attacking him by biting a hole in his genitals and scratching him across the body. Cook then shot Shumpert four times as Shumpert unsuccessfully attempted to fight off the dog. Following the confrontation, Shumpert was handcuffed and taken to Mississippi Medical Center, where he died of injuries sustained during the incident roughly five hours later.
Officer Cook has since been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation into the incident, but Shumpert family attorney Carlos Moore believes there’s no question that officer Cook’s handling of the situation was out of line.
Moore says there were also injuries found on Shumpert’s face and teeth, which he believes indicate that a physical altercation between Shumpert and officer Moore may have taken place at some point during the incident. “We believe the officer just went berserk,” he told ThinkProgress. “It was a modern day lynching.”
Moore elaborated on the incident further during a press conference on Monday, where he also spoke about an eyewitness who told him Shumpert was surrendering and coming out of the hiding space he was in when the dog attacked him as the officer approached and began shooting. “It whipped and mutilated and annihilated this man,” Cook said during press conference. “He tore his body to shreds, basically. It’s just horrible the way it was done.” Cook also questioned why it was necessary for officer Cook to shoot Shumpert, given that he was unarmed and has already been rendered defenseless during the brutal attack by the dog. “If you’re going to release your dog and your dog gets to him first, why are you then going to turn around and execute him in cold blood?” he continued. “Your dog has already mutilated him. He could not have been a threat to anyone.”
Moore says the Tupelo police department has yet to provide Shumpert’s family with any explanation regarding the disturbing incident that ultimately led to his death.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.