South Sound News

Mother demands justice for son killed by Tacoma officer

TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma mother is demanding justice for her son who she says was wrongly killed by police on Sunday morning.

Investigators say a Tacoma police officer shot and killed 24-year-old Bennie Branch during a traffic stop at about 2:40 a.m.

Branch's mother Brendelin, says she was driving the car.

"They told him to put his hands up, he's like OK, OK, OK and they were tasing him. He was like OK, OK and they were tasing him."

She says her son was lying on the ground when police discovered a gun in his back waistband. She says it was an orange and black BB gun.

"And while they were kicking it out of the way, he got up because he was scared and then the cop went, pow, pow, pow, shot him."

Eyewitness Cassandra Foster posted video of what she saw.

"This is the man's body that got killed right up the street from my house. This is his car and this is the police car that pulled him over. If he's running away why (expletive) is he getting killed way up here?"

Asked if her son ever reached for a gun, Branch responded. "No, he forgot it was in the back … he didn't even know the gun was in the back of his pants. He never reached for that gun."

Brendelin Branch says her son had committed misdemeanor crimes, but never anything with a gun. She says police knew he had mental health and drug issues.

"I watched my son take his last breath," she said tearful. "He looked at the sky and took his last breath. I couldn't even hold him I couldn't do nothing. They wouldn't let me."

"I want justice," she said. "I want the people, the officers who killed my son to go to jail."
Investigators are not revealing details of the incident. The officer is a 33-year-old, four-year veteran of the force. He is on paid administrative leave, which is routine and not an indication that the officer has done anything wrong.

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