When a black man was shot dead as he charged at a police officer while brandishing two knives, his family immediately accused the cop of racism. However, once it was revealed that the officer is also a black man, the family came up with an even more bizarre accusation to vilify the police.
At around 5:50 in the morning, Wisconsin police responded to a call that a man was chasing a woman down the street with two “sai-style” kitchen knives. Within minutes, officers arrived to find 32-year-old Kevan Ruffin still armed with the long knives and unwilling to cooperate.
According to the Sheboygan Press, one police officer tried to talk the man down from across the street, being careful to keep his distance from the armed individual. Unfortunately, Ruffin was determined to make sure that only one of them came out of the situation alive.
Sheboygan Police Chief Christopher Domagalski confirmed that Ruffin charged at the officer with his knives brandished. The officer quickly tried to deploy a Taser while retreating, but Ruffin continued his pursuit, ultimately “forcing the officer to use a firearm,” ABC News reports. Ruffin died at the scene.
“The officer ordered the subject to stop while attempting to retreat while attempting to deploy his Taser. The subject continued to chase the officer, forcing the officer to transition to his firearm and discharged his firearm on the subject,” said Domnagalski at a press conference.
Family members accused the officer involved in the fatal shooting of targeting Ruffin, who suffered from mental illness, because of his skin color. They insisted that racism played a factor in the officer’s response and that non-lethal action could’ve been used to stop Ruffin, FOX News reports.
“But because he was black, he was considered as a threat from the beginning,” Sheriyah Appleton, a cousin, said. “This stuff has been going on all around the world, this is why everyone is protesting, this is why we are upset. The color of our skin should not determine whether we are taken into custody or taken to the morgue.”
Days after the shooting, the Wisconsin Department of Justice identified the officer involved in the fatal shooting. Much to the family’s surprise, the man who killed Ruffin is Sheboygan Police Officer Bryan Pray, who is also black and has been on the force for three years. However, instead of walking back their preconceived judgment of racism, family members implied that the black officer has some sort of self-loathing racism and would’ve treated Ruffin better if he were white.
“We are a threat because the color of our skin. Now if he had to have been white with mental issues, he would have been taken into custody and not taken to the morgue. It’s a whole different story because of the color of our skin,” Appleton said.
Appleton doubled down on the family’s allegation that skin color played a role in Ruffin’s alleged wrongful death. She and Aaron Clayborn, Ruffin’s uncle, insisted that Officer Pray had no reason to use force against him.
“You don’t come to somebody who is mentally ill with your guns drawn in the first place, that’s not how you do things,” Appleton said to ABC News affiliate WISN.
“He is known in this community for several years for having a mental disorder. He’s been in and out of the system. He’s been in mental health facilities in the state,” Clayborn said.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Wisconsin has come to the family’s aid and called for a transparent investigation into Officer Pray’s actions. The organization suggested that the officer could’ve used a nonviolent tactic even though Ruffin ran toward him with two knives drawn.
“We need to know why Sheboygan police killed Mr. Ruffin instead of handling this in a nonviolent way,” Chris Ott, the ALCU Wisconsin Executive Director said.
Ruffin was arrested several times between 2008 and 2019 but was repeatedly found not guilty due to mental health issues. The family claims that the police “are familiar with him” and that they should’ve consulted their contact information instead of engaging with him.
The unnamed woman that Kevan Ruffin had attacked was treated and released from the hospital. Additionally, Officer Bryan Pray was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after officer-involved shootings.
Thanks to the anti-law enforcement atmosphere, people feel emboldened to accuse every officer who encounters a black individual of racism, regardless of the officer’s race or the suspect’s actions. There is literally nothing a police officer can do right in the eyes of those who want to see the police defunded and abolished.