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‘They De-Escalate with Other Races’: Black Man Suspected of Mental Illness Killed 25 Seconds After Nashville Cop Arrives on Scene

A Black man suspected of suffering from mental illness was hit with 14 bullets by a Nashville, Tennessee, police officer after witnesses claimed he was in the street dancing with a gun.

The shooting has caused some within the community to claim the victim’s race influenced the shooting.

“He’s out here dancing in front of the pizza place,” a 911 caller named Calvin told the dispatcher.

Nashville police shooting
Nashville Police officer on administrative leave after shooting of a suspected mentally ill man on Jan. 29, 2022. (Photo: Screenshot of police dashcam video)

On the evening of Jan. 29, witnesses in north Nashville said they observed an unidentified Black man believed to be homeless dancing in the middle of the street and waving around a gun. The man also reportedly pointed it toward people nearby dining at restaurants in the vicinity. The man also reportedly dropped the gun in the street a few times before picking it up as he gyrated in the middle of the street.

“He’s out here dancing in front of the pizza place,” Calvin said to the 911 dispatcher.

“He’s just pointing it in the air,” Calvin continued describing during the call.

Another man identified as Jerome Wilson also called 911 for help after observing the man in the street with a gun.

“You got a guy out here with a gun walking down the street threatening people by this business,” Wilson told the dispatcher.

“He’s playing with this gun and pointing at people in the middle of the street,” Wilson continued describing to the dispatcher.

The dispatcher began asking for a physical description of the unidentified Black man with the gun. Wilson suspected he was homeless and suffered from a mental illness.

“I don’t know if he’s homeless or mentally retarded. I don’t want the police to come if he’s mentally disabled. I still want to watch out for that, but y’all need to come get him,” Wilson said.

The 47-year-old continued gyrating in the street with a gun in hand. “He was just in the street yelling and pointing the gun,” Wilson said to the dispatcher as he awaited for police to arrive.

A nearby restaurant owner told the Tennessean “I don’t know his mental state. I’ve seen that guy several times before but never with a gun. He wasn’t right,” Chris Jones said.

A few minutes after the initial 911 calls came in, Nashville police officer of three years Dylan Ramos arrived at the scene.

Bodycam and dashcam video shows what happened next.

Ramos is seen getting out of his police vehicle and approaching the 47-year-old. He is heard yelling, “Sir! Sir! Sir!” as he draws his service weapon pointing it toward the unidentified Black man.

Twenty seconds after he arrives, Ramos yells at the man, “Do not, do not touch that!” It’s unclear what Ramos is referring to as video clarity was not pristine on the bodycam video during this moment.

Ramos is then heard yelling at the man, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”

After his commands to drop the gun, 14 gunshots can be heard coming 25 seconds after Ramos arrived on the scene.  

“Don’t shoot him, please don’t shoot him! Oh my God, don’t shoot him!” Wilson is heard emotionally exclaiming on the 911 call.

“Oh my God,” Calvin said to the dispatcher when the gunfire ended.

Ramos was placed on administrative leave, per protocol, as the investigation into the shooting continues.

The Associated Press reported the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said “the man was shot after refusing to obey a police officer’s command to drop the weapon. The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.”

Police have not identified the man, as they say, they are working to notify his next of kin.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the shooting, Nashville NAACP believes police could have handled the situation differently.

“They de-escalate with other races. But when it comes to a dark-skinned man, it automatically leads to death,” Nashville NAACP President Venita Lewis told WTVF.

“If you’re a Black man with a weapon, you’re a dead man,” Lewis added.

The case is currently under investigation by the TBI.

We will continue to update this story as it develops.

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