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July 1, 2012 — West Palm Beach

Investigating a call about a suspicious person, West Palm Beach police Officer Phillip Williams confronted 20-year-old Dimitri Smalls.

Smalls said that he was there to see his aunt but couldn't remember the address. When Williams got closer and asked if he had any weapons, Smalls took off.

As he ran, Smalls had a gun in one hand and was trying to hold up his pants with the other, authorities said. The pants eventually dropped to his ankles, tripping him. The gun bounced away. Read more

Authorities said that Smalls refused orders and kept reaching for the handgun. Officer Williams fired, wounding him.

Smalls was sentenced to three years for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

This was the 70th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

Three days earlier, one officer shot one person in DeLeon Springs .

Two days later, three officers shot one person in Orlando .

3 ways this case compares to others

  1. Officer approached Smalls after he was suspected of committing a minor crime. That’s true in 1 of every 12 cases.
  2. Smalls was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  3. Officer was chasing Smalls on foot before shooting him. Officers shot 105 people during foot pursuits.

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