CBSNews reports that an African-American South Carolina homeowner Bryan Heyward called 911 to report a home invasion before a white deputy mistook him for a suspect and shot him.
The two Charleston County sheriff deputies were dispatched to investigate the reported home invasion in Hollywood, S.C. on Thursday. The 911 tapes connected to the shooting were released by the police, "Someone was trying to break into my house. Please come. . . It's an emergency and they have guns. Please come!"
The caller went on to say he heard banging on his windows and that he was hiding in his laundry room. He told the operator to send deputies to both the front and back door of his mobile home.
According to the deputies' report, Heyward came out of the back door with a gun. One officer instructed him to drop it. But when he didn't, Deputy Keith Tyner fired on Heyward.
"It's unknown if he's part of the shooters or the victim," an officer was heard saying after an ambulance was called.
Later, an officer asked a dispatcher to summon the State Law Enforcement Division, which is responsible to investigating police officer shootings.
During the ambulance ride, Heyward said he exchanged gunfire with the two robbery suspects before they fled on bicycles. By the afternoon, police arrested one suspect, identified as Thomas Zachary Brown, 22. He was charged with first-degree burglary and attempted murder in connection with the home invasion.
Complex reported that Heyward told investigators, "I should have put the gun down but I didn't. And he [the officer] thought I was a crook."
Heyward underwent surgery for a neck wound and sustained life-threatening injuries.
While the confusion between homeowner and burglar could have been an honest mistake, white police officers shooting black people is beyond redundant, particularly for South Carolina. On April 4, a white North Charleston Police officer shot and killed a black man who he said fought him over a stun gun. Officer Michael Slager claimed self defense, but a bystander's cellphone video proved otherwise. Wouldn't this incident, or Michael Brown's death, or Eric Garner's or Freddie Gray's be more than enough to reexamine police protocol?
How many times will police institutions repeat the same mistakes before critical changes are made?