A Brief Look at Every Unarmed Black Death Since 1999
Following the failure to indict police officers in both the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, protests have erupted around the country, sometimes in the form of peaceful protests like the die-in seen in New York City or the vigils and groups of protestors around the country, but other times a jumble of violent and peaceful faces. The latter is what has been seen in Ferguson, where Michael Brown’s death sparked the first of many protests to come.
The area is visibly affected; some businesses and buildings have been burnt to the ground. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have both spoken on the national demand for police reform, justice, and racial equality. It is with that context that the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP tweeted a list of names, dates, and locations for every unarmed minority killed by police in America since 1999. Expanding on that work, I’d like to offer a brief glimpse into each of those 77 cases with some background.
1999: Amadou Diallo (New York, N.Y.)
Amadou Diallo was 22-years-old when he was shot 19 times by four police officers in New York City. He was unarmed, had no criminal record, and had been living in America for two years as an immigrant from West Africa when he was killed. His wallet was confused for a gun when he reached to show his ID after the police began to speak with him under the impression that he might match the description of rapist. At the time, much like today, his death and the police officer’s acquittal sparked protests. His mother, Kadiatou Diallo, has been involved with recent protests over Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown. “I have met all these victims, comforted those mothers, but however, what is going on here is like many years ago,” she said, according to the New York Daily News. “We’re going backward, so each time I relive my tragedy.”
2000: Prince Jones (Fairfax County, Va.)
Prince Jones, a 25 year-old student at Howard University, was preparing to graduate in September of 2000 when he was shot six times (once in the arm, and five times in the back) and killed by an undercover cop. While in other cases of police shootings officials have tried to muddy the water by demonizing the individual in question, Jones was a more difficult victim in that sense; he was educated, clean cut, and had no record. The issue of race was less of a focus as the police officer who shot him was black. In that way, the case brought particular focus to police force and the need for enforcement reform. “In the past, we wanted black people to be police sergeants and lieutenants,” said Professor Alvin Thornton of Howard University, according to the Washington City Paper. “We’ve got that, and now the black elite has been silent [about police brutality]. We have to ask why that is.” The case did not go to a grand jury, and the Justice Department did not file charges against the police officer in question, but in 2005 Jone’s family won $3.7 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
2000: Patrick Dorismond (New York, N.Y.)
Patrick Dorismond was killed by an undercover cop in Hell’s Kitchen when he was 26, in March of 2000. At the time he was a father and worked as a security guard. He was standing outside a Cocktail Lounge when the officer and his partner attempted to buy weed from him. His friend witnessed the shooting and claims neither cop identified themselves as such. They claim Dorismond swung at them, and it was a case of self defense. The mayor said of Dorismond at the time that he was no “altar boy,” according to the Huffington Post, as justification for police action. No indictment resulted.
2001: Timothy Thomas (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Major riots followed the death of unarmed 19-year-old Timothy Thomas in Cincinnati. The protests, fires, and violence that followed are considered one of the largest urban riots in America. According to the Wall Street Journal they resulted in $35 million worth of property damage, and even more costs to the city from a prolonged boycott. Thomas had been running from an officer who said he had believed Thomas was reaching for a gun — though he was unarmed. He was shot once, and died. The officer in question, Stephen Roach, was indicted for negligent homicide and obstruction of official business.
2000: Ronald Beasley and Earl Murray (Dellwood, Mo.)
Just a bit north-east of Ferguson, Dellwood, Missouri, was witness to the death of two unarmed black men shot by an officer under Police Chief Tom Jackson — also in charge during the shooting of Michael Brown. Beasley and Murray were shot by police in the front seat of a car in a fast-food restaurant. The officers said the car was driving at them in its escape, and they feared for their lives. It was later proven by investigators to have been pointed away from the officers when he was escaping — however, they were not indicted.
2000: Malcolm Ferguson (New York, N.Y.)
Malcolm Ferguson was 23-years-old when he was shot and killed in a Bronx apartment complex in New York City. Ferguson, formerly having been arrested for drugs, was shot by a member of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit who investigated the building, a source of drug activity in the past. His cousin, Michael Pace, spoke with the New York Times regarding his conviction and parole, saying “it doesn’t matter,” and adding, “Did he have a gun? Did he have intent to harm the police? No.”
The shooting was a mere three blocks from where Diallo was shot. Ferguson had been arrested the Friday prior to his shooting at protests over the acquittal of Diallo’s shooters. He was shot once, in the head, at close range, following a struggle with the officer in question. The officer was not indicted, but Ferguson’s mother was awarded $10.5 million in damages in 2007.
2003: Ousmane Zongo (New York, N.Y.)
Though uninvolved in any criminal activity, Ousmane Zongo was shot and killed during a warehouse raid of pirated CDs and DVDs. He worked in the building as an artwork and instrument restorer, and when he saw the police officer in question draw a firearm — while out of uniform — he ran and was subsequently shot multiple times during a struggle. Officer Bryan Conroy was given five years probation for negligent homicide and 500 hours of community service,
2003: Alberta Spruill (New York, N.Y.)
Alberta Spruill, a 57-year-old woman in Harlem, died in 2003 after a police stun grenade caused her to have a heart attack. Police used the grenade during a raid on her apartment under suspicious that a drug dealer was using it — a drug dealer it turned out was already under arrest by police. Her family was awarded $1.6 million by the government of New York. According to the New York Times, Bloomberg accepted responsibility in a speech in 2003, saying, “As mayor, I failed to protect someone.”
2003: Orlando Barlow (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Orlando Barlow was 28 years old when he was shot (once) and killed by Officer Brian C. Hartman of the Las Vegas Metro Police. He was unarmed. Unlike other cases were assault or physical altercations were used to justify the shooting, Barlow was on his knees when Hartman shot him. However the officer claimed he thought he saw Barlow moving for a gun. Hartman was not charged for the shooting. He was fired after he and a few of his fellow officers wore t-shirts that read “B.D.R.T.,” or “Baby Daddy Removal Team.”
2004: Timothy Stansbury (New York, N.Y.)
Timothy Stansbury was 19 years old and, as with each of these individuals, unarmed when he was shot by Officer Richard S. Neri Jr. on a roof in Brooklyn. Neri was patrolling when Stansbury accidentally caught him off guard coming through the door, resulting in his death. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stated after the shooting that, “at this point, based on the facts that we have gathered, there appears to be no justification for this shooting,” according to The New York Daily News. Neri was not indicted by a grand jury who ruled that the shooting was an accident.
2005: Henry Glover (New Orleans, La.)
After Henry Glover, a 31-year-old man, was shot by a police officer in New Orleans during post-Katrina events, his body was burned as part of a cover up. While the officer who shot Glover was sentenced — then eventually acquitted — those who participated in the desecration of his body and attempted to hide evidence have been sentenced and re-sentenced as recently as 2014. Former officer Gergory McRae was re-sentenced this year to 17 years for participating in the cover up.
2005: James Brisette and Ronald Madison (New Orleans, La.)
Both James Brisette and Ronald Madison died just after Hurricane Katrina on Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. A number of other individuals were injured, including a woman who almost lost her arm in the shootout. Brisette, 17, was shot by multiple weapons a total of seven times, some while laying on the ground. Madison, 40, was shot in the back with a shotgun. The shooting was reportedly initiated without warning upon arrival, in response to a call. Coverups followed in a number of different forms at a variety of levels within the police force. Certain cases have seen delay and further review, but a number of the involved members have been given hefty prison sentences of up to 65 years.
2006: Sean Bell (New York, N.Y.)
Four police officers were removed from the department but none were found guilty in a criminal trial over the shooting of Sean Bell on the night before his wedding. The city awarded the family $7.15 million later, however none of the officers involved saw jail time. The shooting took place after Bell and friends attempted to get away from the police in their car, having attracted attention in an argument with another man on the street. A 50-shot shootout followed, with Bell and his two friends completely unarmed.
2007: DeAunta Terrel Farrow (West Memphis, Ark.)
DeAunta Terrel Farrow was 12 years old when he was shot and killed by Officer Jimmy Evans who believed he saw a gun in his hand. Farrow had no such weapon — only a toy gun. A jury ruled against claims against both officers involved.
2008: Tarika Wilson (Lima, Ohio)
Tarika Wilson was shot and killed at the age of 26 while holding her year old son — who was also shot — and hiding in a bedroom with her five other children. Her boyfriend was the target, a suspected drug dealer, but Police Sgt. Joseph Chavalia shot into the bedroom three times during a SWAT team raid, killing Wilson instead. Chavalia was not charged or fired, simply removed from street duty. While the city paid $2.5 million in a settlement it was through an insurance company and made clear that it was not an admission of fault or wrongdoing.
2009: Shem Walker (New York, N.Y.)
Army veteran Shem Walker, 49, was shot by an undercover police officer three times. The shooting occurred as part of an altercation that arose when Walker tried to force the officer to move off his mother’s stoop. He had been loitering there in order to watch a drug operation. No grand jury was called, and he has yet to be questioned under oath, but the city settled at $2.25 million in a lawsuit.
2009: Oscar Grant (Oakland, Calif.)
Two police officers arested Oscar Grant at a BART train station in Oakland where a fight had broken out on the platform; however, once he was lying on the floor being held by one officer, the other drew his weapon and shot him once in the back. The officer, Johannes Mehserle, had grabbed his gun rather than his taser by accident. He was not charged, and no damages were awarded by the police. The officer in question was fired.
2009: Victor Steen (Pensacola, Fla.)
Victor Steen, 17, was tasered by a police officer from his vehicle when Steen attempted to flee on his bike. After being hit, he fell from his bike and was then subsequently run over by the cruiser.
2009: Kiwane Carrington (Champaign, Ill.)
Kiwane Carrington was 15 years old when a police officer accidentally shot him during an altercation after he was called to a residence. Carrington was not trespassing, nor was he involved in any burglary, the subject of the police phone call. He neglected to follow police orders. He was, however, unarmed and a teen. The officer was given a 30-day suspension.
2010: Steven Eugene Washington (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Steven Eugene Washington was shot by two gang enforcement officers at 27 when he fiddled with his waist band. He had been stopped by officers, and when he approached they believed he was reaching for a gun and both shot at him, one hitting him in the head. No crime was in progress or had been called in, and Washington had no record and was autistic. The LA City Council awarded his mother $950,000 in a settlement, and the Police Commission said both officers had broken rules on deadly force.
2010: Aiyana Jones (Detroit, Mich.)
Aiyana Jones was 7 years old and sleeping on the couch when a Special Response Team in Detroit raided the house in search of a potential homicide suspect. Though none of the doors were locked, they were broken, and a grenade was sent through the window. A film crew was present for a crime show aired on A&E, leading some to suggest the officers were overzealous and could have taken a more cautious, less dramatic approach. Officer Joseph Weekley’s gun went off, and the bullet hit Jones in the head, killing her. The officer was charged with a misdemeanor but the manslaughter charge was not successfully brought against him.
2010: Danroy Henry (Thornwood, N.Y.)
Danroy Henry was 20 years old and a student at Pace University. He was driving away in his car after police were called to a bar to handle an altercation. He was shot by police who claim he was driving in their direction with no signs of stopping. The officer was not indicted.
2010: Derrick Jones (Oakland, Calif.)
Derrick Jones, a 38-year-old father and barbershop owner, was shot by an Oakland police officer after he fled from a domestic dispute to which they’d been called. He reached for his belt and had something metal in his hand, which the police mis-identified as a weapon. Jones was on parole for firearms, but he was also known for being involved in local music, teaching, and youth outreach.
2010: Aaron Campbell (Portland, Ore.)
Aaron Campbell was 25 when he was shot in a standoff with police in Portland outside an apartment. The police had been called to the apartment to do a welfare check on Campbell because he was known to have a gun and considered potentially suicidal. When the officer believed he was reaching for a gun — which he did not have — in his pants, he was shot. A settlement was reached with the family, and Mayor Sam Adams made an apology, but the officer was not found guilty of a criminal offense. Instead, the police department of Portland was considered accountable.
2011: Raheim Brown (Oakland, Calif.)
Raheim Brown, 20, was shot outside of an Oakland School where he and a female friend were pulled over. After non-cooperation with the police officers who reported being threatened with a screwdriver, police shot into the vehicle a number of times, killing Brown. Since then, a whistleblower has come forward within that department
2011: Reginald Doucet (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Reginald Doucet, a model, football player, and physical trainer, was shot and killed at 25 during a physical altercation with police. The officer’s report stated that he had attempted to take the gun from the officer and was shot. They were called in response to his argument with a cab driver, during which he had begun stripping off some of his clothing. Both officers were hospitalized. Neither had been charged, but the case has been appealed as of this year to the Ninth Circuit in light of evidence suggesting he was shot in the torso while kneeling and in the neck from a specific angle.
2011: Jimmell Cannon (Chicago, Ill.)
Jimmell Cannon, 13 years old, was shot by police 8 times in 2011. He was holding a BB gun, and police officers report that when asked to lower what they thought was a real gun, he had not acquiesced. They had been pursuing him on suspicion that he might be a shooter they were looking for. According to the Huffington Post, his parents say he was an animated kid and a “straight A-B student.”
2011: Kenneth Chamberlain (White Plains, N.Y.)
Kenneth Chamberlain was a 68-year-old former Marine who police killed after he attacked with a hatchet and knife. His heart monitor showed problems to a medical alert company which sent police to visit. Though he told them he was fine through the door, they asked to see him, and when they took the door out he attacked, leading them to hit him with a stun gun, beanbags, and eventually bullets. The grand jury chose not to indict. A civil suit followed, and one of the police officers who uttered a race-based insult during the altercation was fired.
2011: Kenneth Harding (San Francisco, Calif.)
Kenneth Harding’s death at 19 is a controversial occurrence with conflicting stories. He is thought to have shot himself in the neck during a run in with police, but whether he first fired a gun at them, or they fired after he had fired at himself, or they had fired first and had killed him themselves, is undecided. It’s also been suggested that he was not offered any form of medical aid, but instead was allowed to die without any sort of help. His weapon was also not found after the shooting, though a bullet was found in his pocket.
2011: Alonzo Ashley (Denver, Colo.)
Alonzo Ashley died after being tasered by police at the Denver Zoo during a tussle. He had demonstrated unstable and aggressive behavior, biting them at one point according to officers. Police had been called after he overheated, according to his girlfriend, causing him to vomit. She denied he had behaved in such a way as to elicit such treatment, and while police report he had drugs on his person, she insists this was not the case. After being tasered, he convulsed and died before paramedics got to the scene. No criminal charges were brought against the police.
2012: Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams (Cleveland, Ohio)
The shooting of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, resulted in a U.S. Justice Department decision to open a civil rights investigation in 2013. The two were involved in a high speed car chase with 60 police vehicles that culminated in 137 shots fired at their vehicle once it was over. Russell was shot 23 times and Williams was shot 24 times — neither had a gun. The car chase was set off by Russell’s car backfiring, which officers thought was gunfire. One police sergeant lost his job, while two other members of Cleveland PD leadership were demoted, and nine others were “disciplined,” according to Cleveland.com.
2012: Wendell Allen (New Orleans, La.)
Twenty-year-old Wendell Allen was shot and killed in New Orleans by an officer who was conducting a marijuana raid with a search warrant. Allen was not connected to the marijuana search and was shot after he showed up at the top of some stairs. He had no weapon. Officer Joshua Coclough was sentenced to four years in prison and charged with manslaughter.
2012: Sharmel Edwards (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Sharmel Edwards, a 49-year-old mother, is included on the NAACP’s list of unarmed black individuals who were shot and killed by police, but, like many, the actual events surrounded her death are disputed. The offical report from the Clark County District Attorney’s Office review states that she had a gun which she pointed at the officers who fired on her after they’d spent 40 minutes talking her out of the car. Some still question police action in her case and whether an over-excess of force was used, even with the presence of the gun — which was called in by the friend who reported his car to have been stolen by Edwards. Some witness testimony has said that she did not have a gun, but a cell phone though, and others have said that while she had one, it wasn’t pointed at police. Officers were not charged.
2012: Shereese Francis (New York, N.Y.)
Shereese Francis was a 30-year-old woman who suffered from mental illness, specifically schizophrenia. After her family called police to aid in getting her appropriate help at a hospital, she was suffocated while police tried to handcuff her. An ambulance was on its way, but police tried to restrain her and her air supply was cut off long enough to kill her. She was dead before her arrival to the hospital.
2012: Tamon Robinson (New York, N.Y.)
Tamon Robinson, 27, died after being hit by a police cruiser. Police claim he was stealing cobblestones from a building when Robinson ran into the car himself, falling and hitting his head. But many witnesses claim the car drove up and hit him directly, and his family claim he had permission to take the stones. He went into a coma and eventually died. At the time the police department sent his mother a bill for the dent in the car, which they later retracted and apologized for. No grand jury was involved, but his family contacted legal representation.
2012: Robert Dumas Jr (Cleveland, Ohio)
Robert Dumas Jr. died at 42 after he crashed his car trying to escape from police in Newburgh Heights while without his seat belt. He hit a 22-year-old pedestrian during his flight from police officer Teanna Smith.
2012: Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr (Orange County, Calif.)
Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. was a 31-year-old U.S. Marine and father who was shot after driving through a gate with his daughters in the car and behaving oddly in a nearby field. When he got back in the vehicle despite police requests that he stop, the officer in question shot him, claiming he feared for the safety of the children. The shooting was ruled to be justified, and no charges were brought against Deputy Darren Sandberg, who pulled the trigger. His wife filed a wrongful death suit and complained that Loggins’s daughters were questioned for 13 hours despite just having seen the death of their father.
2012: Shantel Davis (New York, N.Y.)
Shantel Davis, 23, was shot and died after she crashed a car she had stolen and was fleeing from police in after she ran a red light. Whether police knew the car was stolen is uncertain. She struggled with police and had put the car in gear to drive off again when the officer shot her. She had a record and had been involved in a pending armed robbery case, but had no weapon at the time of her shooting.
2012: Raymond Allen (Galveston, Texas)
Raymond Allen died at 34 after being tasered by police a number of times. While police say he was acting strangely and suspected of being under the influence, he was nonviolent. His wife, Sabrina Allen, brought a lawsuit against the city for excessive use of force.
2012: Rekia Boyd (Chicago, Ill.)
Rekia Boyd, 22, died after she was shot in the back of the head by Detective Dante Servin. Servin shot five times out of his car into a group of people, claiming he believed a man had pointed a gun at him, which was actually a cell phone. Instead he hit Boyd. He was off-duty. Servin was charged for Boyd’s death with involuntary manslaughter. $4.5 million was awarded to his family in a wrongful death settlement.
2012: Reynaldo Cuevas (New York, N.Y.)
Reynaldo Cuevas, 20 years old, is a fairly ideal example of police failing to protect and serve those in need — instead doing the exact opposite. Cuevas was fleeing armed robbers who had held up his store when he ran right into a police officer. The officer said his gun accidentally went off while Cuevas ran at him, but witnesses claim he had simply mistaken Cuevas for one of the robbers without properly checking to ensure he wasn’t a victim. The robbers were charged with his death, but the family filed suit against the NYPD.
2012: Ramarley Graham (New York, N.Y.)
Ramarley Graham was 18 years old and in his grandmother’s apartment when he was shot. The police had entered the apartment without proper cause, according to Graham’s mother. Police claim he was seen with a gun his pants and was a suspect for drug involvement, and that he had not stopped when told to by plainclothes officers in an unmarked car, so they had pursued. Graham’s grandmother has said police did not identify themselves as law enforcement, something they argue is incorrect. The investigation was still pending as of 2014.
2012: Nehemiah Dillard (Gainesville, Fla.)
Nehemiah Dillard died at 29 after being hit by a taser two times. His heart stopped while on his way to medical attention. He was displaying erratic behavior and had stripped down to his underwear. He was aggressive with police, who wrestled with him, but found him difficult to control, and after tasering the second time — the first time reportedly ineffective — he was given medicine to calm him down at the scene.
2012: Johnnie Kamahi Warren (Dotham, Ala.)
Johnnie Kamahi Warren, 43, was visiting from Georgia for work where he got in a bar altercation. Police were called, and he was aggressive and uncooperative, leading him to be tasered twice, then handcuffed at which point he passed out and shortly died. ABI investigated, and the deputy in question was put on administrative leave temporarily.
2012: Justin Sipp (New Orleans, La.)
While his family has argued otherwise, convincing evidence shows Justin Sipp was in fact armed. His name has also been corrected, as it contained a typo in the NAACP’s list.
2012: Kendrec McDade (Pasadena, Calif.)
Kendrec McDade was only 19-years-old and a student in college when he was shot and killed by an officer following up on a false 911 report. The call had stated that Oscar Carrillo — who later pleaded guilty for filing a false report — was robbed at gunpoint by two men. He fabricated the gun in order to hasten the arrival of police. Officers chased McDade, who was unarmed, first in the squad car and later on foot, and eventually shot him without any verbal warning, without having seen his hands. The police officer was not charged and returned to work. The city of Pasadena settled two suits with McDade’s mother and father adding up to approximately $1 million.
2012: Duane Brown (New York, N.Y.)
Duane Brown was a 26-year-old college graduate and father. He was in his own home when he was shot, and police were present because they had been called in on a robbery at his address. The robbers fled, but Brown was seen in the house carrying a gun and was shot. Claims against the police say they did not identify themselves or give adequate medical aid after he was mistakenly shot. The mother of Brown’s son filed a lawsuit, and IA conducted an investigation.
2012: Ervin Jefferson (Atlanta, Ga.)
Ervin Jefferson, 18, was not killed by police officers, but rather was shot by two security guards pretending to be law enforcement. Both were arrested and charged for impersonation of officers.
2012: Jersey Green (Aurora, Ill.)
Jersey Green, 37, died after being tasered by police. They were following up on a call that reported he was acting strangling, jumping on nearby cars. Upon arrival of the police, he jumped on their car, was subsequently tasered and handcuffed. He later stopped breathing and was given CPR in an ambulance. Drugs may have been involved.
2012: Chavis Carter (Jonesboro, Ark.)
Chavis Carter died at 21 in a police squad car. He and a few other individuals — both white — were stopped while driving, and he was arrested after it was found that he had marijuana on his person and had an outstanding warrant for a drug charge. He was frisked twice, and no weapon was found. He was then handcuffed — behind his back — and put into the back of the squad car, at which point police say he shot himself in the head and committed suicide with a gun they had somehow missed. Whether the death was a suicide or homicide was controversial, but eventually the death was ruled a suicide. None of the witnesses interviewed said police were in the vehicle with Carter when they heard the gunshot.
2012: Dante Price (Dayton, Ohio)
Dante Price, a 25-year-old father, died after two private security guards shot him. Both were indicted. Police were not involved.
2013: Miriam Carey (Washington, D.C.)
Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old dental hygienist, was shot from behind five times while in her vehicle. She’d been followed by a number of police cars in pursuit during a car chase that went from a White House checkpoint, where she hit an officer with her car who was trying to prevent her departure, to Garfield Circle. Twenty-six bullets in total were fired. Her 1-year-old daughter was in the backseat.
2013: Kyam Livingstone (New York, N.Y.)
Kyam Livingstone, a 37-year-old mother, died while in the custody of the NYPD. She had been arrested for drinking alcohol and becoming violent, as reported by her grandmother in a 911 call. After being booked and taken to a cell, she complained of stomach pain, but was ignored, as were other inmates who asked that she be helped. She later died on her way to the hospital or in her cell prior to transport — which is true is disputed.
2013: Kimani Gray (New York, N.Y.)
Kimani Gray, 16, was shot by two officers out of uniform a total of seven times. Most evidence appears to point to Gray having had a gun at the time. Though his intent to use it may be debatable, he does appear to have been armed. The two police officers claim he had a handgun, and it was pointed at them. The gun was found after the shooting. Some witnesses have suggested he did not have a gun, or was only messing with his waistband, or would not have used the gun. There is also some evidence that some of the shots were in his back, and may have been made after he was already down. Police were not charged, and no grand jury was called.
2013: Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. (Austin, Texas)
Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. was shot and killed by an officer after he attempted to enter a bank that had just been robbed. He then left and was followed by a police officer, Detective Charles Kleinert, who said he was acting suspiciously — whether he was walking or running from the officer is disputed by witnesses. He was shot in the back of the neck in an altercation that followed.
Like many of these cases, his death resulted in public outcry from the local community. City Manager Marc Ott asked the Department of Justice to look into the police department, which the DOJ refused to do. The family of Jackson filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department. A grand jury was called in 2014, and Kleinert retired in 2013.
2013: Carlos Alcis (New York, N.Y.)
Carlos Alcis died of a heart attack at 43 when police visited his home to look into a stolen cellphone case. The family claims that police charged in at 5 a.m., waking them, and that after scaring him, an argument with the police led him to have a heart attack. Police say they knocked, and Alcis opened the door for them. They were looking at his teenage son for the cellphone theft, of which he turned out to be innocent.
2013: Deion Fludd (New York, N.Y.)
Deion Fludd was paralyzed at 17, made a quadriplegic after being beaten by police for slipping through a train turnstile with his girlfriend with only one MetroCard use, instead of two. Once noticed, the police prepared to place Deion under arrrest but he ran. Police claim he ran into a train in the subway, which paralyzed him. He did not immediately die, and told his mother from the hospital before dying that while he did run from police, he had not been hit by a train but was assaulted by police. She filed a lawsuit against police, saying she wanted to know what had happened, and if he had been hit by the train, why police hadn’t called the station to report someone on the tracks.
2013: Andy Lopez (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was shot by a police officer while walking to a friend’s house. He was carrying a toy airsoft gun when police pulled up and asked him to drop his gun. He began to turn, at which point an officer shot him seven times, believing the weapon to be an AK-47. The FBI led an investigation, but the deputy was not charged. Grief, marches, and protests followed in the area.
2013: Jonathan Ferrell (Bradfield Farms, N.C.)
Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was in a car crash. He sought help from neighboring houses, who called the police after he banged on their door late at night. He had no phone or shoes and had to kick out his back window to escape his crashed vehicle. Police arrived, and when he ran toward them, they attempted to taser him, then eventually shot him when he continued to approach. He was shot 10 times. Officer Randall Kerrick was indicted by the second grand jury to hear evidence on the charge of voluntary manslaughter.
2013: Barrington Williams (New York, N.Y.)
Barrington Williams, 25, died from an asthma attack brought on by running from police on foot. Officers had approached him, believing him to have been selling MetroCards. After being handcuffed he passed out, and when he reached the hospital, he was dead. Whether or not faster or more appropriate medical assistance should have or could have been offered is likely the reason the NAACP considers the death concerning.
2014: Eric Garner (New York, N.Y.)
Eric Garner, 43, died after suffocating in a police choke hold. He was restrained in this way after being approached on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. He reportedly told police at the time that he could not breathe, but was not responded to. His death has led to many of the protests and demonstrations still happening today.
2014: Jordan Baker (Houston, Texas)
Jordan Baker was a 26-year-old father and college student. He died after being shot by an off-duty police officer who was also working as a security guard at the time. The officer thought he recognized Baker as a suspect in a robbery at the strip mall where he was doing security and asked him for ID. There was an altercation and then a chase on foot. The officer says that after he cornered him, Baker ran at him, at which point he shot him. His mother says they are thinking about looking into legal representation.
2014: John Crawford III (Beavercreek, Ohio)
John Crawford III, 22, was shot inside a Walmart where he was carrying a pellet gun. The toy gun was from inside the Walmart itself. Someone called 911 and claimed he was pointing it at shoppers — a statement later withdrawn — and believing it to be a real gun, an officer arrived and told him to lay on the ground. The officer claimed that he shot Crawford III after asking him a number of times to drop the weapon, and only after he had turned toward him in a concerning way. Video footage from inside the store doesn’t support the officer’s story. A grand jury did not indict police involved. An independent Justice Department civil rights review was recently announced. The video linked above contains graphic footage.
2014: Yvette Smith (Bastrop, Texas)
Yvette Smith, a 47-year-old mom, died after police arrived to respond to 911 call. The domestic disturbance call had reported a gun was at the residence with two men fighting over it, according to police, but those present during the call say the phone call had reported fighting over money, not a gun. The Deputy involved, Daniel Willis, asked Smith to come out, but witnesses say that when she emerged she was immediately shot twice. Police initially claimed she had been holding a gun, but have since changed their story. Certain changes to the Deputy’s record resulted in a number of police employees being demoted or punished. A wrongful death suit has been filed.
2014: Dante Parker (San Bernardino County, Calif.)
Dante Parker was 36 years old when he died after being shot with a taser multiple times. Parker was a father of five, and had been riding his bike when a resident in the area who said a man had fled on a bike after he’d tried to break into a home. The deputy fought with Parker, leading to him being tasered and then handcuffed. He was taken to the hospital where he died. His family accused police of over-use of force, saying he was exercising on his bike, not uncommon, and that there was no call for the force used.
2014: McKenzie Cochran (Southfield, Mich.)
McKenzie Cochran, 25, was suffocated to death while being subdued by mall security guards. They were not police officers.
2014: Tyree Woodson (Baltimore, Md.)
Tyree Woodson, 38, shot himself in a police bathroom with a non-police weapon. Police say they are unsure of how he got the weapon into the police station without it being found. He had been brought in as a suspect in an attempted murder case and was set to go to trial in August over other charges. Woodson’s parents say they do not believe police accounts of his death, or that he would have brought a gun with him when he would be seeing his parole officer.
2014: Ezell Ford (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Ezell Ford, 25, was shot and killed by to LAPD officers in recent months, but reports of what transpired before the shooting differ depending on witness or police accounts. Ford was mentally ill and suffered from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, and when approached by police responded poorly. However, whether or not the police got in a physical altercation with Ford and he attempted to take one of their guns before they shot him, or whether he had been lying on the ground in compliance when he was shot is unclear. The shooting was a mere two days after Michael Brown’s in Ferguson.
2014: Kajieme Powell (St. Louis, Mo.)
Kajieme Powell, 25, was shot after police responded to a 911 call from a convenience store. The call said that it was believed he’d stolen beverages and donuts. Another phone call reported that he had a knife and was behaving strangely. He was in fact carrying a knife, which was found after the shooting. He approached officers, yelling at them to shoot him. A released video shows that he was perhaps less threatening than portrayed, but was armed. The video, linked above, contains graphic content. The Atlantic offers an interesting breakdown of the case an includes information on police training on how to handle a situation involving a knife.
2014: Michael Brown (Ferguson, Mo.)
Michael Brown, an 18-year-old resident of Ferguson, was shot by an officer who stoped him while he was walking with a friend. The officer claims Brown attacked, hit him several times, and reached for his gun. Witnesses claim Brown did not reach for the gun, and that the officer shot him without cause, and continued to shoot him. His death lead to investigations on a number of levels and heavy criticism of the racial breakdown of Ferguson’s police force. The officer was not indicted by the grand jury.
2014: Akai Gurley (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
A grand jury will hear the case of Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old man who was shot while leaving his girlfriend’s apartment in Brookyn. He and his girlfriend had taken the stairs and an officer participating in what are known as vertical patrols — walking up the stairs to the roof and then back down — with his partner when he reportedly accidentally fired his weapon, shooting and killing Gurley. He had committed no crime and was unarmed. His family insists they do not believe the shot was an accident. The officer will face a grand jury.
2014: Tamir Rice (Cleveland, Ohio)
Tamir Rice, 12 years old, was shot by police who responded to a call stating that a likely fake gun was being waved around by a young individual. The call made it clear that, while the fake gun was scaring some individuals, it probably wasn’t real. Police report that they told Rice to drop the gun three times and he did not comply, but reached for his waistband — it’s unclear how much Rice understood what was happening given the rapid timeline of events — and was then shot twice. The officers did not give first aid, but when an FBI agent came a few minutes later, the individual began to help. It’s fairly clear that the response was badly mismanaged from start to finish, with dispatch not clearly explaining the situation to the officers, and the officers in question potentially poor choices for field work. His mother says she is hoping for a conviction, according to CNN.
2014: Victor White III (Iberia Parish, La.)
In ways similar to the Chavis Carter case of 2012, Victor White III, a 22-year-old son and father, died in what police claim was a suicide. According to police, he was arrested upon being searched and found to have illegal drugs. He was then frisked multiple times, then handcuffed and placed in the back of the police cruiser. They report he then shot himself in the chest — initially they had said the back — and then died at the hospital. His family insists they do not believe the police account of his death and that they believe aspects of the investigation have been purposefully non-transparent.
Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS
More from Politics Cheat Sheet:
- After the Ferguson Hearing: Police Reform or More Controversy?
- Race and Ferguson: A Numerical Breakdown
- When Is Police Power Counter-Effective? Ferguson Offers an Answer
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