August 23, 1995
September 8, 2019
Age at Death:
There is nothing publicly available on Bennie Branch. His full name is Bennie Charles Branch and he attended Washington High School. His mother is Brendelin Branch.
At 2:30 am, Mr. Branch went to to check on his mom, who was living in her Subaru Legacy and had parked to sleep. He saw a friend in the area and asked for a ride, sliding into the vehicle. A patrol officer saw the car idling, pointing the wrong direction and moved to contact the driver (recognizing the vehicle associated with previous gun-related crimes). Mr. Branch got out of the car, quickly walking away, getting into his mom’s Subaru and telling her to drive. The officer notified dispatch about Mr. Branch’s behavior, indicated he might be armed, while continuing to check the car he’d stopped for weapons. Two officers were responding to a different call, heard the officer come on the air and decided to go assist since that officer was alone. While en route, they saw the Subaru and pulled it over. Police couldn’t see inside the car due to fogged windows but could hear a woman in the driver’s seat shrieking (thought it was a carjacking). Officers ordered Mr. Branch to put his hands in the air, exit the Subaru, but he didn’t. One officer tried to pull Mr. Branch out, but he allegedly tried to escape. Police tased Mr. Branch twice, the second time caused him to fall out of the car onto the ground. Another struggle ensued, then an officer called out that Mr. Branch was going for a gun and moved away from him. Officers shot Mr. Branch seven times. The events are disputed by Mr. Branch's mother, who was a witness, and she said Mr. Branch was running from officers rather than fighting them when he was shot. Officers say they tried to de-escalate with non-deadly force, but Mr. Branch was alleged to be reaching for an Airsoft gun tucked in his pants. Mr. Branch's mother said he was brutalized with excessive force and unarmed when shot as he ran - the BB gun no where near his body.
Was justice served?
No. The events are under dispute. A prosecutor cleared the officer of wrongdoing for shooting Mr. Branch, killing him. The officer hit him three times in the front, three in the back and grazing him one time in the back. Mr. Branch was unarmed at the time of his death but an Airsoft gun was found near him that looked like a handgun. His mother, Brendelin Branch, has filed an excessive force claim in U.S. District Court $1 million+. As of 4/22/21, the lawsuit was pending judgement. Source: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article245074820.html