White Man Follows Then Kills Unarmed Black Man After Minor Crash, Claims He Was ‘Afraid For His Life’
"White people can get away with killing a Black man by saying they were afraid," the victim's sister said.
Just three weeks prior to the police killing of an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, a white 24-year-old was arrested in connection to the death of a Black man following a minor car crash in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Anthony Trifiletti was charged with the murder of 39-year-old Douglas Lewis. The two men encountered each other during a car crash on May 1, the Star Tribune reported.
Trifiletti told officers that Lewis' car bumped into his pickup truck and they pulled off to the side of the road. The 24-year-old took pictures of the damage and asked for Lewis' insurance information before the two began to engage in a shouting match.
Anthony Trifiletti back in court this AM. He remains locked up in Ramsey Co jail. Trifiletti killed an unarmed motorist after a minor crash, claiming self defense. His atty asked for bail to be lowered from $500k so he can go home to his Dad's house. Judge rejected the argument. https://t.co/FLnOCV9lie— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) May 21, 2020
He later told police that he heard Lewis say "I'm GD," an apparent gang affiliation. They both ended up returning to their separate cars and driving off. Trifiletti, however, ended up "unintentionally" following Lewis after leaving the scene of the crash.
The 39-year-old pulled over again, and Trifiletti removed his gun from the glove box before allegedly exiting his vehicle and shooting Lewis four times.
Trifiletti said he feared for his life and decided to fire shots at Lewis when he saw him reach toward his waistband as he approached him. According to KSTP, no weapon was found on Lewis.
Meantime. Family of victim Douglas Lewis is heading to Chicago this weekend where they will bury him next to his late mother. They were relieved bail $$ amount will keep Trifiletti locked up as case proceeds. Trifilleti, a permit to carry holder, is charged w/ 2nd degree murder. pic.twitter.com/RvWw6DYSwk— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) May 21, 2020
Trifiletti said he "thought he was going to die and was afraid for his life," the Star Tribune reported.
Lewis was transported to a local hospital where he died during emergency surgery.
Despite Trifiletti's allegations, a couple who witnessed the shooting said they didn't hear Lewis mention "GD" and he didn't appear to have a weapon on him, according to the Star Tribune.
The couple attempted to perform lifesaving techniques on Lewis as Trifiletti fled the scene in his truck. He eventually returned to the scene after being advised by his dad over the phone, according to the Star Tribune.
Trifiletti was asked by police if he thought he could have avoided shooting Lewis by driving off, and he said he "didn't think that was an option" because he was blocked in by another car and Lewis was in close proximity.
Lewis' family said they believe the shooting was motivated by race and Trifiletti is using self-defense as an excuse.
"White people can get away with killing a Black man by saying they were afraid," Valerie Lewis, the 39-year-old's sister, said. "He has brought great pain to my family."
Lewis is described by friends as a loving father of four and a hard worker.