Protests erupt in Winchester as black man fatally shot while pursued by police

Protesters have erupted on the streets of Winchester as they dispute claims a black man fatally shot himself while pursued by police officers.

D’Londre Minifield, a 20-year-old with ties to the Richmond and Winchester areas, died on Sunday February 28.

Police had responded to a report of a fight. Upon arrival, Minifield stopped and fired a gun as officers approached, they said. 

According to the police statement, he died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and no officers opened fire.

However that version of events has been disputed by many in the Winchester community, with some witnesses claiming to have seen police aim and open fire.

Protesters have been out in force since his death in Winchester, disputing the police version of events 

Minifield’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

Virginia state police said in the statement that their agency is investigating the incident at the request of Winchester police.

State police spokesman Sergeant Frederick Tyler said he did not have details about the races of the officers involved.

Winchester police spokesman Sergeant Frank Myrtle said no officers are on administrative leave over the incident. He said several officers were involved in the foot pursuit, but he did not know how many.

One protester held up a placard saying: 'We can't be black without a target on our back!!' 

On Monday, a protest involving around 100 people took place in Winchester’s Timbrook Park, with those in attendance holding up placards saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Justice for Dre’ [his nickname].

His mother, Jacqueline, said: ‘I want to know how he died. I want all of the information about my son. All of it.

‘I will never see my son again. I will never hold him again.’

Referring to the march, she added: ‘As I marched with so many of you sharing the face of a life taken too early…I waved a picture to an officer and said “can you tell me why my son is dead”…[he] looks at me and smirks…my sister had to pull me back…it was about to end bad.

‘It will get harder because I have to walk into a funeral home…to bury my 20-year-old son and you know the worse part? I still do not know why he’s dead.’

She added: ‘Londre would have been so happy to know he was so loved…just wish he would have not lost his life to see it.’

Sergeant Myrtle said: ‘While the Winchester Police Department values the right to protest, we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of all of its citizens.

‘We appreciate the cooperation of our citizens and fellow law enforcement partners. We want to assure everyone we are doing everything possible to maintain the peace.”

State police said Minifield and another man were in the 2200 block of Roosevelt Boulevard about 4pm and police were called to reports of a fight - they said Minifield fired a gun as police approached

Witnesses have disputed the police department’s version of events.

Quay Pannell, 18, from Winchester, said he was traveling in a car about 50 yards away.

‘I saw a cop aiming a gun at him (Minifield), and the gun went off,’ Pannell said.

Kayla Friesen, 24, of Winchester, said she was in the car with Pannell and Minifield was about to climb a fence when police opened fire.

‘Dre would not have shot himself’, friend Shavon Maya added at a memorial set up at the fence where he was shot.

In the wake of Minifield’s death, protesters have started a petition calling for all police officers to wear body cameras to prevent there being ‘unknown facts at the crime scene.’

Source: The DailyMail

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