The funeral for a young Black teenager is set to take place on Wednesday amid ongoing efforts by a Mississippi community to hold the police officer who killed him accountable for a shooting that has spawned conflicting reports.
Jaheim McMillan‘s homegoing service is scheduled to take place at a community center in the city of Gulfport, where the 15-year-old was shot in the head earlier this month under questionable circumstances.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump will join McMillan’s family at the funeral, according to a media alert sent to Newsone that also said the service was being supported by Rev. Al Sharpton.
McMillan was taken off life support on Oct. 8, more than two days after a Gulfport police officer gunned him down because he was allegedly armed following a report of teens in a car allegedly waving guns at drivers.
Gulfport Police Chief Adam Cooper said “McMillan was armed” and did not comply with orders to drop a gun, prompting the unidentified officer to fire and shoot the teen in his head.
However, a number of witnesses to the shooting have come forward to dispute the police narrative. Most recently, McMillan’s family claims they have video footage that proves the teenager had his arms raised when he was shot, according to a report by local news outlet WLOX.
McMillan’s mother said she saw a video on social media with an alleged witness claiming that not only did her son comply but he also was not armed when he was shot.
“He came out the dollar store with his hands up, and they shot him in the head,” Katrina Mateen told local news outlet WVUE on the same day her son was shot. “And then I’m hearing that he seen them… He was sitting in the car and he seen the police pull up with guns, so he got out the car and ran in the store- well, tried to run in the store- and they shot him in the head. The video I seen on Facebook is basically, the man is saying that my son didn’t do anything. He had his hands up, so why did y’all shoot him?”
Mateen said that police handcuffed her when she arrived at the scene and forced her away.
More video footage from the immediate aftermath of the shooting showed additional alleged witnesses corroborating the account by McMillan’s mother. In one video, several voices can be heard berating the officer who shot Jaheim. One alleged witness can be heard explaining to an officer that Jaheim was shot “point blank” and that he had “nothing in his hands.”
Another video showed another alleged witness claiming McMillian wasn’t armed.
“I saw the cop shoot the guy,” an unidentified woman says on the video. When asked if McMillan was armed, the woman replied, “I did not see a gun on him.” She went on to say that McMillan “was coming out of the store with his hands up” when he was shot.
Protesters have called for the officer to be identified, fired and arrested along with Cooper’s resignation.
It is in that context that McMillan’s funeral is being held on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday night, a GoFundMe raising money to pay for Jaheim’s funeral had garnered more than $12,000 of its $30,000 goal. You can contribute a donation by clicking here.