NYPD takes the life of another black male
June 18, 2012
On April 12, 2012, Laverne’s son Tamon Robinson, like Trayvon Martin, encountered someone who made a wrong assumption based on his age and the color of his skin. In Tamon’s case, it was a police officer, while in Trayvon’s case, it was a civilian, George Zimmerman. But in both cases, because the young men were African American, their lives were cut tragically short.
Tamon worked in as a barista at the Connecticut Muffin café on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Green, Brooklyn. On the side, he collected bricks, stones and other discarded building materials and sold them for scrap. Around 5:30 a.m., on the way to his car that morning, Tamon stopped to collect some old paving stones that the Seaview Houses were throwing away. He had permission from the building’s management to take them.
Officers in a patrol car spotted him and assumed he was stealing. When two officers began chasing him, Tamon ran toward the building where he had, until recently, lived with his mother. He had moved into his own apartment, but still had a key and stopped by to visit her every day.
In some twisted irony, during a canvas looking for witnesses, the same officers knocked on Tamon’s mother’s door. Ms. Dobbinson was told there had been an accident and asked if she saw anything. She was unaware that the young man injured in the accident was her son. It was not until later—around 4 p.m.—that officers returned to her door to tell her that her son was in the hospital in a coma.
When Laverne Dobbinson arrived at the hospital, she found Tamon handcuffed to the bed in spite of the fact that he was in a coma. Initially, she was not allowed into the room to be with her son. Officials kept her and other family members from Tamon’s bedside where they could give comfort and talk to him. After two days, the police finally relented. Six days after his encounter with NYPD, his family made the painful decision to end life support.
Speaking with Tamon’s mother after the rally and march, I asked her to tell me about her son. “He was a good son, never got into any trouble,” she told me. “He never was involved in drugs or gangs. He was friendly; it was rare that he ever got angry with anyone. He was a hard worker and was trying to go to college.”