As Baltimore residents seek answers about what happened to Freddie Gray in police custody, “Black Lives Matter” protests have swelled across the country once again. On Wednesday night, more than 1,000 demonstrators marched in the streets of New York City, carrying “RIP Freddie Gray” and “I can’t breathe” signs, chanting “New York is Baltimore, and Baltimore is New York.” Hundreds more took to the streets in other major U.S. cities, including Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, and D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and smaller demonstrations resumed on Thursday. However, while Freddie Gray’s death inspired the recent wave of protests, national outrage about police violence has been building since the death of Michael Brown last August.
Killed by Police, which documents the names, age, gender, and race of people killed by police every day, as well as the circumstances leading up to officers’ use of lethal force, recorded more than 90 people who died at the hands of officers in April. Indeed, Freddie Gray’s death was one of many egregious use of force cases in April. Here’s a recap of some of the police encounters that gained national attention.
Walter Scott; West Ashley, SC: Before his death, 50-year-old Walter Scott was pulled over for a broken brake light by Officer Michael Slager. A dash cam video shows Slager walking toward his police car before Scott tries to run away. After a brief foot chase, eyewitness Gwen Nicols says Slager and Scott yelled back and forth, and in the dash cam video Slager yells “Taser!” Another witness, Feidin Santana filmed Scott trying to run again, at which point Slager fired his gun eight times. Slager later claimed Scott tried to grab the officer’s Taser, and that he deployed his weapon out of fear — a narrative that North Charleston police repeated. After Santana’s video surfaced, Slager was fired and charged with murder.
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Justus Howell; Zion, IL: An unidentified officer fatally shot 17-year-old Justus Howell twice. Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd says one of the bullets injured Howell’s liver, heart, and spleen, while the second hit the teenager’s right shoulder. The Zion Police Department later reported Howell stole a handgun and attempted to run away from officers called to the scene. Police also said a handgun was recovered from the scene, but two eyewitnesses, including one who was watching from her house across the street, say Howell wasn’t holding a weapon.
Eric Harris; Tulsa, OK: During an undercover operation, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department tried to nab Eric Harris for selling an illegal gun before he tried to run away. Body cam footage shows officers chasing him on foot before Reserve Deputy Robert Bates yells “Taser” and fires a single shot at Harris. Bates, a volunteer officer who regularly donated to the sheriff’s department, says “Oh! I shot him. I’m sorry.” While Harris yells about being shot, another officer puts his knee on his head and tells him to “shut the fuck up.” The same officer says “fuck your breath” as Harris explains that he can’t breathe. Harris was pronounced dead within the hour. After the incident occurred, the sheriff’s department claimed Bates completed 800 hours of training and was authorized to use a revolver. However, the department was unable to produce certification documents, and allegedly falsified records of Bates’ training. Bates has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
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Inform Player SuiteEdit descriptionlaunch.newsinc.comHector Morejon; Long Beach, CA: Several officers were sent to investigate reports of vandalism and trespassing at a house in the Cambodia Town section of Long Beach, when they saw 19-year-old Morejon standing inside. A press release issued by the Long Beach Police Department states one officer fired his gun when he saw the teenager “turn towards him, while bending his knees, and extending his arm out as if pointing an object which the officer perceived was a gun.” Before he was driven off in an ambulance, Morejon’s mother heard her son call out “Mommy, Mommy, please come, please come.” The teen was unarmed.
Thaddeus McCarroll; Jennings, MO: After her son locked her out of her home, the mother of Thaddeus McCarroll called the St. Louis County Police Department to remove the 23-year-old from the house. According to a police statement, the woman also said her son was carrying a knife and talking about going on a “mission” and “journey.” Officers at the scene saw McCarroll brandishing several knives and a Samurai sword, and tried to talk him out of the house. A Tactical Operations Unit was eventually called to take over negotiations, after which McCarroll emerged from the house carrying a bible and a knife. But two officers shot McCarroll after he allegedly charged at them.
Anthony Jones and Paula Sen; Philadelphia, PA: Twenty-two year old Anthony Jones was forced to leave a courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center, after making a fuss about having to take off his hat. Outside of the courtroom, Jones continued yelling, and Attorney Paula Sen tried to de-escalate the situation. But according to Sen, six officers ran up to the two of them, yelling, before proceeding to punch Jones and pile on top of him. When Sen tried to stand between the officers and the defendant, Officer David Chisholm hit her in the head and knocked her to the ground — a claim corroborated by Attorney Richard Hoy, who watched the entire incident unfold. Hoy later said Jones “obviously” had mental problems, and “was no threat to anybody.” Sen was taken to a local hospital, but officers at the scene didn’t seek medical assistance for Jones. In response to excessive force claims, Cameron Kline, a spokesman for District Attorney Seth Williams, says Sen wasn’t hit in the head, but “fell over” after she “walked into the scrum.”