Antwun "Ronnie" Shumpert
January 25, 1979
June 18, 2016
Age at Death:
Mr. Shumpert, and his wife, Peggy, were parents to five children. Very little is known of Mr. Shumpert's early life - he grew up in a small town near Tupelo, Mississippi - what we can see is he was loved by a community of family and friends. He loved "deviled eggs" and playing football, which was his passion. He was a fast, agile, broad-shouldered man who had little problem competing with players who were much younger than him. Mr. Shumpert worked in construction, and dreamed of being a coach. He had just been offered a job at Walmart and was focused on providing for his family at the time of his death.
According to the police, on June 18, Mr. Shumpert was pulled over for a routine traffic stop (improper use of a turn signal, tag light out and he had an outstanding warrant) in Tupelo, Mississippi, and fled his car. The officer who pulled over Mr. Shumpert was joined by another officer who released a K9. The dog found Mr. Shumpert hiding under a nearby home and attacked him, gashing a hole through his testicles and scratching him across his body. When the officer approached Mr. Shumpert, a scuffle ensued and the officer shot him four times with his service revolver claiming he feared for his life. He died handcuffed in a hospital five hours later. When his siblings saw him, he was severely mutilated. According to the passenger in that vehicle, Charles Foster, the pair were driving to the store to get a T-shirt for a party they planned to attend that night. The friends played together on the same semi-pro football team, the Lee County Tiger-Cats, and they were planning to celebrate the previous weekend's win against the Tennessee Cyclones in Jackson, Tennessee. During the drive, the two men saw the blue lights flashing behind them, and Mr. Foster said Mr. Shumpert looked at him and said, 'I'm about to run,'" Mr. Foster said Mr. Shumpert, who was driving Mr. Foster's car, hadn't done anything wrong. Mr. Foster said all his lights were working properly. The officer who pulled the car over gave chase, and a second officer, with a canine, joined the chase.
Was justice served?
No. The physical condition of Mr. Shumpert's body suggests excessive force. The assertiveness used by police in pulling over a driver for moving violation is questionable. Since the car was not registered to Mr. Shumpert, how did the police know he had an outstanding warrant and thus use that as a reason to pursue him? Mr. Shumpert's outstanding warrant was for a non-violent offense, why the use of force? In 2017, a federal judge dismissed a civil lawsuit seeking $35 million in damages from the city and the officer. The U.S. District judge ruled the family of Mr. Shumpert hadn’t presented enough proof to move forward to a trial for improper behavior or proof the city of Tupelo failed to properly train the officer on K9 handling. In 2019 the US Supreme Court denied the family's appeal (excessive force, wrongful death, negligence, and negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress).