GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tawanna Gordon said she’s speechless after the latest incident involving police and her family.
“How many more incidents is this family going to have involving unsavory police contact?” Gordon asked rhetorically during a Zoom interview with Fox 17 on Tuesday afternoon. “Like, I don’t think we have any words for this. I think we’re beyond frustrated. And at this point we’re just tired of the excuses.”
On Thursday December 9 her cousin Daevionne Smith drove to his father’s house near Cass and Sycamore streets around 10:30 p.m. He parked his car and went inside. However, when he returned outside GRPD had surrounded his car.
“Officers went to make contact with the subject that was the driver of the vehicle and one of our officers unintentionally discharged his firearm during the incident,” said GRPD Chief Eric Payne during a media briefing Tuesday morning. “Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident”
Chief Payne called it an "unintentional accidental discharge." The bullet went in Smith’s direction but hit a building.
“This was a traumatic incident, especially for the subject that was the driver. I believe his name is Mr. Smith,” Chief Payne continued. “I recognize that and empathize with him, that he was placed in this situation. It’s not a good experience for anyone. With that, we’re very fortunate no one was injured in that during this incident.”
Gordon said they should’ve ran his plates and the whole incident could’ve been avoided.
However, she agreed that incident has been traumatizing not only for Smith but for the whole family.
“Struggling. He is struggling,” Gordon said about Smith. “I think the initial day of the event, it really didn’t dawn on him how lucky he was. He posted something thing on Facebook that have caused some concern. It goes back to March 13th 2020.”
On that day, over a year and half ago, both Gordon and Smith’s cousin Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police during a botched raid.
“It’s not an isolated incident and it’s happening everywhere,” Gordon said. “And unfortunately there has been such a severe lack of accountability everywhere. We’ve had the two victories with George Floyd and now Ahmaud Arbery. We’re still frustrated as a family because we haven’t seen that kind of accountability.”
Chief Payne said the officer involved is a 20-year veteran of the force and is currently on leave while Michigan State Police conducts a criminal investigation and the department, an internal one.
As for Gordon, she’s hoping the officer is held accountable and her cousin gets justice.
“When you think about that for him it’s ‘I barely made it out of this situation with my life,’” Gordon said. “And then it just relishes up [March 13, 2020] for us all over again. So, his head space isn’t good. And of course our family’s head space isn’t good with another incident involving sloppy police work.”