Brandon Tate-Brown’s shooting by a rookie 15th district cop in 2014, just months after the nation erupted over the shooting in Ferguson, led to a wave of protests around Philly but no official punishment for the officer involved.
Now Tate-Brown’s mother, Tanya Brown-Dickerson, has decided to drop the lawsuit she filed against the police department over the shooting.
“No amount of money can be a substitute for Brandon’s life,” she said in a statement released through Asa Khalif, her cousin and a local Black Lives Matter activist. “No amount will relieve the physical and emotional pain I and my family endure everyday. … No amount of blood money can forgive the sins and corruption in the Police Department and DA’s Office, the injustice in Philadelphia’s justice system.”
Brown, 26, died after being shot by Officer Michael Carrelli, who along with his parent Heng Dang, pulled Brown over in the early morning hours of Dec. 15, 2014 on Frankford Avenue in Mayfair, and according to investigators, spotted a gun inside the car. Both had joined the force in May 2013.
Tate-Brown was caught on video after the stop scuffling with the officers across Frankford Avenue, then running back toward the vehicle before Carrelli shot him from behind.
Brown-Dickerson’s lawsuit, which was withdrawn Sept. 13, combined a wrongful death claim seeking financial damages with demands that the police department implement all of the reforms, including training in areas like use of deadly force, that were recommended by the US Department of Justice after a review.
“I have to respect the rights of my client in this situation,” said her attorney, Brian Mildenberg. “As a result of Ms. Brown-Dickerson’s efforts, the Philadelphia Police Department was required to change the official story of the shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown to reflect that he was not reaching into the right passenger side of his vehicle for a gun when shot in the back of the head by a police officer, but was shot at the rear of the vehicle. It took the mother’s legal action to bring forth those facts."
Former DA Seth Williams investigated the case but declined to prosecute, calling the shooting “a tragedy, not a crime.” Carrelli and Dang were investigated by the Internal Affairs Department but eventually released back to full duty. Both are still listed as employed by the police department.
Khalif, who emerged as a prominent Philly activist in the aftermath of his cousin’s shooting, a role he continues in today, had strong words after the legal decision.
“The city can keep their blood money,” he said. “I want the pig cop arrested and charged for the murder of my cousin Brandon Tate-Brown.”