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Gainesville University cops shoot African grad student

Students, community groups to demand justice
By Justin Wooten |
March 9, 2010
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Gainesville, FL - Graduate student and teaching assistant Kofi Adu-Brempong was shot in the face with an assault rifle by officers of the University Police Department, March 2. Adu-Brempong was mentally distressed, and the police had been called in response to reports of a scream coming from his on campus apartment.

The police report released immediately after the incident alleged that Kofi attacked the officers with a pipe and knife when they kicked in the apartment’s door. A judge asked for a more complete report within 72 hours. The second police report has revealed that he didn’t have a knife in his hands and that the pipe was his walking cane.

Information later revealed that Adu-Brempong is 5’5’’, less than 150 pounds, severely disabled from a childhood case of polio, and that the shooting occurred less than a minute after the officers entered the apartment. Student and community groups are calling for an independent investigation and questioning the veracity of a police report that has changed multiple times.

When evidence emerged that the shooter was Officer Keith Smith, who had previously been dismissed from the Gainesville Police Department for throwing eggs at African-Americans while off duty, student groups began organizing for a rally to demand justice. A rigorous investigation needs to be conducted in regards to the shooting of an unarmed disabled man in his own on campus apartment.

The Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality, formed out of groups including Students for a Democratic Society, the Student Labor Action Project, the NAACP, the African Student Union, and the Alachua County Democratic Black Caucus, have called for a rally of students and community members on March 16. The rally will take place 10:50 AM, Turlington Square on Newell Dr, Gainesville, FL.