PHILADELPHIA (Sputnik) — The death of an African-American man in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama on Friday should be investigated to determine whether his civil rights were violated, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Alabama branch President Benard Simelton told Sputnik.
“We are certainly going to call for a thorough investigation not only by the local police, but also by the… Alabama Bureau of Investigation, as well as possibly the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] if we think his civil rights were violated,” Simelton said.
On Friday evening, a Tuscaloosa County resident allegedly spotted 35-year-old Anthony Dewayne Ware with a gun and reported him to police. The officers who arrived at the scene chased the man and pepper-sprayed him as he resisted arrest, Tuscaloosa Assistant Police Chief Ronnie Dunn was quoted by CNN as saying.
Simelton explained that the NAACP has yet to gather all of the facts into Ware’s death, but said the civil rights group is trying to obtain more details about the incident from the Tuscaloosa County chief of police.
He noted that using non-lethal force methods to subdue a person are always a better alternative to violence, but should also be used cautiously.
"The use of non-lethal force is always a better option than lethal force, if it's used properly, now a lot of time officers will over use the non-lethal force,” Simelton explained. “But it should not be used to the extent that it takes a person's life and because it defeats the purpose of the non-lethal force."
In recent months, police in the United States have come under increasing scrutiny for using excessive force and brutal methods, including killing of hundreds of citizens, prompting protests against the police brutality and calls for reforms.