Black and unarmed.
Remember the names of unarmed Black men who were killed by police or vigilantes. This is only a short list, please reply with other names so we may remember these men.
The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. He was unarmed and headed home after buying skittles and sweet tea from a gas station close to his home. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place. Zimmerman, against the instructions of the Emergency dispatcher pursued Martin on foot calling him “the suspect.” When the case garnered international attention sparking protests all over the world, the state of Florida filled charges against him 46 days after Martin’s death. Zimmerman was tried for second-degree murder and manslaughterand found not guilty on Saturday, July 13, 2013.
The 18-year-old was shot and killed by two security guards — also African American — outside his Atlanta home on Saturday, March 24, 2012. His mother says that he was unarmed and trying to protect his sister from a crowd that was threatening her.
22-year-old Amadou Ahmed Diallo, a Guinnea-Bissau immigrant, was killed when four white New York police officers in plain clothes fired 41 shots at him, 19 of which hit his body. The officers said they thought Diallo was reaching for a gun when they shot him in the doorway of his apartment. Turns out it was his wallet. During the trial, the officers admitted that they never considered the situation (four strangers in an unmarked car with guns approaching a guy on his stoop at night) from Diallo’s point of view. They were acquitted of all charges.
The 26-year-old father of two young girls was shot to death in 2000 during a confrontation with undercover police officers who asked him where they could purchase drugs. An officer claimed thatDorismond — who was unarmed — grabbed his gun and caused his own death. But the incident made many wonder whether the recent acquittal of the officers in the Amadou Diallo case sent a signal that the police had a license to kill without consequence
In 2003 Officer Bryan A. Conroy confronted and killed Zongo in New York City during a raid on a counterfeit-CD ring with which Zongo had no involvement. Relatives of the 43-year-old man from Burkina Faso settled a lawsuit against the city for $3 million. The judge in the trial of the officer who shot him (and was convicted of criminally negligent homicide but did not serve jail time) said he was “insufficiently trained, insufficiently supervised and insufficiently led.”
Unarmed and with no criminal record, 19-year-old Stansbury was killed in 2004 in a Brooklyn, N.Y., stairwell. The officer who shot him said he was startled and fired by mistake. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called his death “a tragic incident that compels us to take an in-depth look at our tactics and training, both for new and veteran officers.” A grand jury deemed it an accident.
Hours before his wedding, 23-year-oldSean Bell left the strip that hosted his bachelor party, jumped into a car with two friends, and was killed when police fire 50 shots into his vehicle. Police say they opened fire after Bell rammed his car into an unmarked police van filled with plainclothes officers. They say they followed Bell and his friends outside the club suspecting that one person in their group had a gun. Referring to Bell and his friends, Mayor Bloomberg told the Associated Press "there is no evidence that they did anything wrong." A judge acquitted the officers of all charges in 2008.
While surrendering on his knees in front of four Las Vegas police officers, Orlando Barlow was shot with an assault rifle by officer Brian Hartman 50 feet away. Hartman argued that he feared Barlow was feigning surrender and about to grab a gun. Barlow was unarmed. A jury ruled the shooting “excusable.” Hartman later resigned from the force a month before a federal probe uncovered that he and other officers printed T-Shirts labeled ”BDRT” which stood for “Baby’s Daddy Removal Team” and “Big Dogs Run Together.”
Portland police officers got a call to check on a suicidal and armed man at an apartment complex. Aaron Campbell,25, came of the apartment walking backward toward police with his hands over his head. The Oregonian reported that police say Campbell ignored their orders to put his hands up. At which point one officer fired six bean bag shots at his back. Witnesses say they saw Campbell reach his arm around his back, where the beanbag struck him. Officer Ronald Frashour said he saw Campbell reach both hands around his waistband to get a gun, and so he shot Campbell in the back with an assault rifle. The jury acquitted the police officer with no criminal wrongdoing.
17-year-old Victor Steen died when he fled from police, was tasered, crashed his bicycle and was run over by police cruiser. Steen committed a simple traffic violation while riding his bike. The deadly incident was captured on video. The officers were acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing.
Ronald Madison and James Brissette
In 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, five officers opened fire on an unarmed family on the east side of the Danziger Bridge, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Next, officers shot at brothers Lance and Ronald Madison. Ronald, a 40-year-old man with severe mental disabilities, was running away when he was hit, and an officer stomped on and kicked him before he died. In a federal criminal trial, five officers involved in what have become known as the “Danziger Bridge Shootings” were convicted of various civil rights violations, but not murder.
On New Years morning, 2009, three Bay Area Rapid Transit officers pulled 22-year-old Oscar Grant and four other black men off a train in Oakland. You can view what happened afterwards in this Youtube video. In it, former-transit officer Mehserle can be seen shooting Grant in the back. During the trial, Mehserle argued that he thought Grant was reaching for a gun near his waistband. To stop this from happening, Mehserle said he intended to Tase him, but shot him with a pistol instead. He was sentenced to two years in prison and served 11 months.
On Nov. 23, an unarmed, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was shot and killed by Michael Dunn after an argument over loud rap music. Dunn, 46, Davis through the window of a sport utility vehicle at a Jacksonville convenience store gas station before driving away, authorities say.Officials say Dunn parked next to the vehicle where Davis was sitting with three other teens. Dunn complained about the loud music and they started arguing. Dunn told police he thought he saw a gun and fired eight or nine shots into the vehicle. N He is charged with first degree murder.
On November 19, 2011, after his Life Aid medical alert necklace was inadvertently triggered, police came to Chamberlain’s home and demanded that he open his front door. Despite his objections and statements that he did not need help, the police broke down Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead. Chamberlain was a 68-year-old, African-American, retired former-Marine, and a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. He wore the medical alert bracelet due to a chronic heart problem. A grand jury reviewed the case and decided that no criminal charge would be made against police officers involved in the killing.
30-year-old Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, was arrested and sodomized with a broomstick inside a restroom in the 70th Precinct station house in Brooklyn. The case became a national symbol of police brutality and fed perceptions that New York City police officers were harassing or abusing young black men as part a citywide crackdown on crime. One officer, Justin A. Volpe, admitted in court in May 1999 that he had rammed a broken broomstick into Mr. Louima’s rectum and then thrust it in his face. He said he had mistakenly believed that Mr. Louima had punched him in the head during a street brawl outside a nightclub in Flatbush, but he acknowledged that he had also intended to humiliate the handcuffed immigrant. He left the force and was later sentenced to 30 years in prison. The commanders of the 70th Precinct were replaced within days of the assault. As the legal case wore on, Charles Schwarz, a former police officer, was sentenced in federal court in 2002 to five years in prison for perjury stemming from the torture case. A jury found that Mr. Schwarz had lied when he testified that he had not taken Mr. Louima to the station house bathroom where the assault took place.
16-year-old Kimani was shot four times in the front and side of his body and three times in the back by two New York City police officers as he left a friend’s birthday party in Brooklyn on March 9, 2013. The only publicly identified eyewitness is standing by her claim that he was empty-handed when he was gunned down.
19-year-old college student McDade was shot and killed in March 2012 when officers responded to a report of an armed robbery of a man in Pasadena, Calif. He was later found to be unarmed, with only a cellphone in his pocket. His death has prompted his family to file a lawsuit, in which McDade’s parents argue that he was left on the street for a prolonged period of time without receiving first aid. According to court documents, McDade’s last words were, “Why did they shoot me?” The officers involved were initially placed on paid administrative leave but have since returned to duty.
Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams, were killed in Cleveland after police officers fired 137 rounds into their car after a chase in December 2012. Officers said they saw a possible weapon, but no weapon or shell casings were found in the fleeing car or along the chase route.
Washington was shot by gang-enforcement officers Allan Corrales and George Diego in Los Angeles one night in 2010 after he approached them and appeared to remove something from his waistband. The officers said they’d heard a loud sound in the area and the 27-year-old, who was autistic, was looking around suspiciously. No weapon was ever recovered.
Police say that 29-year-old Ashley refused to stop splashing water from a drinking fountain on his face at the Denver Zoo one hot day in 2011, then made irrational comments and threw a trash can. The responding officers, who didn’t dispute that he was unarmed, killed him with a Taser, saying he had “extraordinary strength.” No criminal charges were filed against them.
Allen was fatally shot in the chest by officers executing a warrant on his house on March 7, 2012, in New Orleans. The 20-year-old was unarmed, and five children were home at the time of his death. Police found 4.5 ounces of marijuana on Allen after they killed him. An attorney for the family says that New Orleans police are investigating whether Officer Joshua Colclough was wrong to pull the trigger.
In 2005 in Sanford, Fla. (the same county in which Travyon Martin was killed), the 16-year-old was killed by two security guards, one of whom testified that Travares was trying to hit him with his car. But evidence showed that the bullet that killed the teen hit him in the middle of the back and that the guard kept firing even after the car was no longer headed toward him.
18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot and killed in February of 2012, when Officer Richard Haste and his partner followed Graham into his grandmother’s apartment where Graham was attempting to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. Haste fatally shot Graham, who was unarmed, in the chest. The officers did not have a warrant to be inside the home. A Bronx judge later tossed out an indictment against the NYPD cop. No weapon was ever uncovered from the scene.
32-year-old former Marine from East Baltimore, Tyrone Brown was shot 12 times in a crowded bar after an off-duty Baltimore police officer fires 13 rounds at him for groping one of the officer’s lady friend’s. That officer, Gahiji Tshamba, was indicted for murder and faces a maximum life in prison charge if convicted. Tshamba was sentenced to 15 years in prison.