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Paranoid Student Shot by Campus Police “In His Own Home”

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 by

Military vehicles and weapons – much of it post-9/11 armaments that have ended up in the hands of police officers – are common on the streets of the America today. And investigations into police misconduct, recorded on video by people on cell phone cameras, are the norm too. In the past year police officers have been involved in the deaths of African-American men in Maryland, South Carolina, Missouri. And in 2010, in an incident that didn’t garner national attention, a black man, Kofi Adu- Brempong was shot in the face and nearly killed by campus police officers in Gainesville, Fla. Keith Smith, the officer who shot Kofi, had previously been caught, along with two other police officers, throwing eggs at a Black neighborhood in Gainesville.

Kofi Adu-Brempong, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida, was under a lot of stress. Away from his wife in Ghana, with little money and a large workload, he became paranoid. Emails he sent out to his students and colleagues alarmed a professor who then notified police. Adu-Brempong apparently thought people had been sent from his home country to kill him. Mental health professional and police visited his apartment but were unable legally to take any action, neither remove him from his home nor get him any professional care.

Police surrounded Adu-Brempong’s home the next day after they received a report from a scared neighbor about screams coming from his home. He refused to open the door. For more than an hour Adu-Brempong’s friend and the officers tried to communicate with the paranoid man. Video from a neighbor captured the actions of officers outside the apartment.

A decision was made to enter the apartment. An officer bashed the door with a battering ram 11 times to gain entry. Inside they found Adu-Brempong armed with an aluminum table leg that police thought was a knife.  Adu-Brempong smiled after he was hit with a taser twice and continued to smile after he was shot with a bean bag. Then an officer, apparently for fear his life and those of his fellow officers, shot two rounds, one of which tore through Abu-Brempong’s face.  The time between entering the apartment and shooting Kofi was less than a minute. Keith Smith was not fired after the shooting but a year later after roughing up a white student driving a Mercedes.

“In His Own Home,” a documentary by Malini Johar Schueller, examines how an assault like this could occur in the United States of America. Last month the 30-minute film won a Short Film Special Recognition Award at the Chicago (In)Justice For All Fest.

“In His Own Home” is available to watch now at IndiePix Films. It’s a straight-forward account of the shooting of Adu-Brempong. It presents the facts that exist about the case, and makes clear that the many students and faculty at the University of Florida feel that its administration and the state of Florida have not taken sufficient action to ensure that something like will never happen again. “I was in disbelief,” said Antionio Masello, Adu-Brempong’s neighbor. “Because I could not believe police from the campus would go inside the campus, find a student of this university and shoot him.”


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