Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will not stop until justice is served. In recent months, he has signed on to represent Erik Cantu’s family after the 17-year-old was shot in a McDonald’s parking lot by San Antonio police officer James Brennand on Oct. 2.
The teenager spent weeks on life support at University Hospital, sustaining injuries to his stomach, liver, diaphragm, lungs and arms, according to Attorney Brian Powers who also represents the young boy.
“It should go without saying that our children should be able to eat a meal in peace without being gunned down by police, but here we are — yet again,” Crump said in an emailed statement to KSAT. “Erik was unarmed and simply eating a cheeseburger when this officer violated his Fourth Amendment rights by opening his car door, violently accosting and shooting at him 10 times.”
In an exclusive interview, REVOLT spoke to Crump about his reasons for taking on the case and asked how he keeps his mental health in check while dealing with such inequity and tragedy. “If we were in court, I’d begin my statement by saying this is a compound question,” he said laughing.
Crump went on to share, “Erik is a Latino teenager, so it’s not only Black people, but people of color that [police officers] seem to profile. This officer had no idea who was in this car and profiled his vehicle, assuming it was a Hispanic teenager he had a run-in with previously and was wrong. The officer violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure once he opened his car door. If you look at Erik, he was startled while consuming his meal and was shot five times, reload, and shot five more times… to where Erik, who graduated high school early, [was] on life support for [several] weeks. Only God knows how this will affect his brain capacity.”
As we wrapped our conversation, Crump spoke to REVOLT about the law he would like to see passed to limit future situations similar to Cantu’s case. “We must pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act,” he stated.
“As long as we say the police can shoot us and then say we were inferior to their life, regardless of the circumstances, they will continue to get away with murdering us. We refuse to let them get away with killing our children unjustly. We have to be unapologetic defenders of Black life, liberty, and humanity,” the renowned attorney insisted.
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