Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police, 1999-2014
On Wednesday, after the announcement that NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted for killing Eric Garner, the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund Twitter posted a series of tweets naming 76 men and women who were killed in police custody since the 1999 death of Amadou Diallo in New York. Starting with the most recent death, what follows are more detailed accounts of many of those included in the Legal Defense Fund's tweets.
Officer Tim Loehmann shot and killed Rice, who was holding a BB gun, seconds after spotting him at a park. Aftermath: Rice's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Cleveland.
Akai Gurley, 28, Brooklyn, NY—Nov. 20, 2014
Gurley was shot in a dark stairwell of an East New York housing project building by Officer Peter Liang. Gurley was unarmed. Police Commissioner William Bratton called Gurley "a total innocent." "The cop who was standing behind Officer Liang doesn't know what happened; the girlfriend doesn't know what happened," a senior police official told the New York Times. "There is a distinct possibility that Officer Liang doesn't quite understand what happened."Aftermath: District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that he is investigating.
Kajieme Powell, 25, St. Louis, Mo.—August 19, 2014
Powell was shot by police who responded to a 911 call accusing him of stealing some energy drinks and pastries. Cops claimed that he approached them holding a knife "in an overhand grip"; video footage of the incident shows that Powell did not come as close to the police as they reported and that his hands were by his side. Police shot him within 15 seconds of arriving at the scene. Aftermath: Powell's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the St. Louis police chief and arresting officers.
Ezell Ford, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—August 12, 2014
Ford was shot by police who were conducting "an investigative stop." " A struggle ensued," read the LAPD's news release. Ford's family members say he was lying down when shot. Aftermath: The LAPD, which hasn't closed the investigation into Ford's death, put an indefinite "investigative hold" on the coroner's autopsy report to prevent witness testimony from being tainted.
Dante Parker, 36, San Bernardino County, Calif.—August 12, 2014
Shot by Officer Darren Wilson after an altercation that happened inside Wilson's car. Wilson reported that Brown "looked like a demon." Aftermath: Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury. He resigned from the Ferguson police force. "The family greatly wanted to have the killer of their unarmed son held accountable. They really would look at every legal avenue," saidBrown's family's lawyer Benjamin Crump.
John Crawford III, 22, Beavercreek, Ohio—August 5, 2014
Crawford was fatally shot while carrying a pellet gun in a Wal-Mart. The gun was unsold merchandise and out of its package. A man named Ronald Ritchie told 911 that he looked like he was pointing it at people, but a month later he admitted that Crawford was not pointing the gun at people. Aftermath: No indictment.
Tyree Woodson, 38, Baltimore, Md.—August 2, 2014
Police say Woodson's fatal gunshot wound was self-inflicted. That would mean that he smuggled his gun into a police station after police brought him there for having several open warrants. "Things don't seem quite right here," said Baltimore Councilman Carl Stokes. "This person could have a gun, a high caliber gun, that could be used against other officers and then he allegedly kills himself." Aftermath: Pending.
Victor White III, 22, Iberia Parish, La.—March 22, 2014
The coroner says he shot himself while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. The autopsy report claims, White's injuries "are possible to be self-inflicted even with the hands handcuffed behind the back." "Short of him being Houdini or David Copperfield, it's not possible," saidWhite's family's attorney. Aftermath: Pending. District Attorney Phil Haney of the 16th Judicial Circuit, who said he will let a federal investigation run its course before making a decision.
Officers responding to a domestic disturbance call shot after she opened her front door to them. Initially, police claimed that Smith had a firearm, but the sheriff's office retracted this the next day. Aftermath: Deputy Daniel Willis, who shot Smith, was indicted on a murder charge. Her family is asking for $5 million in a wrongful death suit.
Cochran died of "position compression asphyxia" during struggle with mall security. Cochran told them, " I can't breathe." His death ruled an accident by medical examiner. Aftermath: No indictments for the security guards.
Jordan Baker, 26, Houston, Texas—January 16, 2014
An off-duty police officer thought Baker fit the description of robbery suspects—both they and he were wearing black hooded sweatshirts. A scuffle and foot chase ensued. Baker, who was unarmed, was fatally shot.Aftermath: Officer J. Castro, who killed Baker, was placed onadministrative leave pending an investigation. Baker's mother was said to be considering filing a lawsuit.
Andy Lopez, 13, Santa Rosa, Calif.—October 22, 2013
Lopez was carrying a pellet gun that resembled an AK-47 assault rifle. After officers reportedly told Lopez to drop the gun, he turned toward them and they shot him. Aftermath: Noindictment.
While attempting to make a U-turn at a White House checkpoint, Carey allegedly hit a barricade and a Secret Service officer in front of the White House. After a high-speed chase, police surrounded her, weapons drawn. She was shot five times in the chase and died at the scene. She was unarmed. Her daughter was in the car with her and was unharmed.Aftermath: The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to press charges.
Jonathan Ferrell, 24, Bradfield Farms, N.C.—September 14, 2013
Ferrell crashed his car and knocked on the door of a nearby house. The woman inside called the police. Police said that when Ferrell was apprehended, they shot him. Ten times. Aftermath: Officer Randall Kerrick has been indicted on a charge of voluntary manslaughter. It took two grand juries to get there.
Carlos Alcis, 43, New York, N.Y.—August 15, 2013
Alcis died of a heart attack after the police mistakenly raided his home in search of a cell phone thief. Aftermath: Alcis's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the city and the NYPD for $10 million.
Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., 32, Austin, Texas—July 26, 2013
Jackson was fatally shot during a scuffle resulting from a chase that took place when detective Charles Kleinert apprehended Jackson for trying to "defraud" a bank. Aftermath: Kleinert was indicted on a manslaughter charge.
Deion Fludd, 17, New York, N.Y.—May 5, 2013
Police say that a train clipped Fludd as the chased him after dodging subway fare. According to his mother, Fludd denied this before succumbing to his injuries. Aftermath: Fludd's mothersued the officers involved, the NYPD, and the MTA.
A Houston County Sheriff's deputy spotted Warren struggling with three other men outside a bar. Upon approaching Warren, he used a taser at least twice. Soon after additional officers arrived and arrested him, he lost consciousness and died at the hospital soon after. Outcome:An Alabama Bureau of Investigation probe; the sheriff's deputy was placed on paid leave.
Russell led 62 police cars on a chase that ended with 137 shots being fired at his car, killing him and Williams. Police believed someone in Russell's car had fired at them first. Cornered at a middle school, Cleveland Patrolman Michael Brelo jumped on top of Russell's car from behind, climbed to the hood, and fired 15 more shots. Aftermath: A judge approved a settlement between the city and the two's families—$1.5 million each. Brelo was indicted in May 2014 for voluntary manslaughter. His trial date has not been set.
Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, New York, N.Y.—September 7, 2012
Cuevas was shot and killed by police as he was fleeing armed men attempting to rob the bodega he worked at. Aftermath: The Bronx District Attorney did not find the officer at fault and declined to move the case forward to a grand jury. His mother filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against the city last year.
Chavis Carter, 21, Jonesboro, Ark.—July 29, 2012
Police say Carter killed himself while handcuffed in the back of a police car. His mother pointed out that he was left-handed (he would have shot himself with his right hand), detained for marijuana while his concealed weapon supposedly went undetected, and not suicidal.Aftermath: The officers involved were placed on administrative leave and the FBI stepped in to "monitor and assess " the situation. His mother filed a wrongful death suit.
Shantel Davis, 23, New York, N.Y.—June 14, 2012
After reports of a fight at the BART train station, police detained Grant and some of his friends. While Grant was lying face down, resisting arrest, a police officer named Johannes Mehserle shot him. The officer claimed he meant to taser Grant. Aftermath: Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years in prison. BART paid Grant's mother and daughter $2.8 million to settle the civil suit they filed. Grant's father lost a civil case against Mehserle.
DeAunta Terrel Farrow, 12, West Memphis, Ark.—July 22, 2007
Farrow was out walking with his 14-year-old cousin when gunned down by a police officer, Erik Sammis. Sammis claims that only after he shot Farrow did he realize that the gun Farrow was carrying was a toy. Aftermath: Sammis wasn't indicted. He resigned from the force via a letterthat contained the sentence, "Then there are others who are not rational and breed hate and racism in this community." Sammis and Jimmy Evans, who was also on duty with him July 22, 2007, were found not liable in Farrow's family's $250 million civil suit.
Sean Bell, 23, New York, N.Y.—November 25, 2006
On the night before Bell's wedding, Bell and his friends attempted to flee the scene of escalating tension with the police. The police fired about 50 shots into Bell's car, killing him in the process:Aftermath: All three officers were acquitted on all charges. They and their commanding officer were fired/forced to resign. New York City agreed to pay Bell's family $3.25 million to settle their wrongful death suit.
Henry Glover, 31, New Orleans, La.—September 2, 2005
Glover was shot in the chest by NOPD officer David Warren at a strip mall in the days following Hurricane Katrina. Glover, with the help of a friend, attempted to get aid, and ended up handcuffed. He died. NOPD Officer Greg McRae set fire to Glover's body in Glover's friend's car.Aftermath: David Warren was sentenced to 25 years and 9 months on a manslaughter conviction. Greg MacRae got 17 years and 3 months for obstruction of justice. About a year and a half later, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Warren's convictions and two of MacRae's, ordering new trials. Warren was acquitted in the retrial.
Ronald Madison, 40, and James Brisette, 17, New Orleans, La.—Sept. 4, 2005
Police received a call claiming gunfire on the Danziger Bridge. Police opened fire upon arriving in a Budget Rental Truck. They hit Brisette. Madison, who was developmentally disabled, fled. Two cops chased him down. One, Robert Faulcon, shot him. The other, Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, was convicted of stomping Madison on the back before he died. Aftermath: That conviction was later overturned. Police attempted a coverup. Eventually five officers involved in the shooting were found guilty of various charges. Faulcon was sentenced to 65 years' imprisonment, Bowen and Sgt. Robert Gisevius Gisevius received 40 years, Officer Anthony Villavaso got 38 years, and Arthur "Archie" Kaufman, who was the investigator placed on the case and eventually found guilty of conspiring to conceal evidence, received 6 years. A month later, the same judge that convicted them, Kurt Engelhardt, vacated their convictions andordered a new trial as a result of the defendants' appeal and "highly unusual, extensive and truly bizarre actions" by prosecutors.
Timothy Stansbury, 19, New York, N.Y.—January 24, 2004
Officer Richard S. Neri Jr., testifed that he shot the unarmed Stansbury by accident when Stansbury pushed open the rooftop door of a building Neri was patrolling. Aftermath: Neri was not indicted. He was suspended for 30 days without pay and stripped of his gun permanently. The NYPD settled the wrongful death lawsuit of Stansbury's family for $2 million.
Zongo was shot four times (twice in the back) by officer Bryan Conroy during a police raid in a storage facility where Zongo worked. Zongo was unarmed and his business (art and musical instrument reparation) had nothing to do with what the police were investigating (CD and DVD piracy). Aftermath: Conroy was convicted of criminally negligent homicide. He received five years probation and lost his job. Zongo's family received $3 million in a wrongful death suit.
Orlando Barlow, 28, Las Vegas, Nev.—February 28, 2003
Barlow was hired to babysit seven children. After a supposed argument, his employer (the children's mother) called the police, saying that Barlow was holding her children hostage with a sawed-off shotgun. Police responded to the call. Barlow was shot while surrendering. He was unarmed. Aftermath: A coroner's inquest labeled the shooting "excusable." The FBI looked into it. "The shooting was unanimously ruled justifiable, but Hartman and two other officers were fired after they printed T-shirts with the initials 'BDRT' — 'Baby's Daddy Removal Team,'"reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Nine officers pursued Thomas, who was wanted on 14 misdemeanor counts. Twelve of them were traffic violations. A chase ensued. Thomas ran into an alley and was shot by Patrolman Stephen Roach, who joined the group of nine officers during the pursuit. Roach said he believed Thomas was going for a gun, but an investigation later revealed that Thomas was attempting to pull up his pants. Aftermath: Roach was acquitted on a charge of negligent homicide. An investigation later revealed that Roach lied on his incident report and broke protocol.
Prince Jones, 25, Fairfax County, Va.—Sept. 1, 2000
An undercover narcotics agent followed the unarmed Jones, firing 16 shots at him while Jones was in his Jeep. Eight landed. Officials later confirmed that Officer Carlton Jones (no relation)mistook Prince Jones for someone else. Aftermath: The Fairfax commonwealth's attorney and the Justice Department declined to file charges against the officer, Carlton Jones. The case was not put before a grand jury. Five years after the killing, Prince Jones's parents and daughter were awarded $3.7 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Ronald Beasley, 36, and Earl Murray, 36, Dellwood, Mo.—June 12, 2000
Patrick Dorismond, 26, New York, NY—March 16, 2000
An undercover cop approached Dorismond and his friend, Kevin Kaiser, when they were standing outside of a lounge. The cop asked where he could buy marijuana. A scuffle ensued and another undercover cop, Anthony Vasquez, stepped in to help his partner. Vasquez claimed Dorismond grabbed his gun and caused it to discharge into his own chest. Vasquez said the first cop was in their face, and that he attempted to pull Dorismond out of the confrontation to no avail. Aftermath: Vasquez was not indicted. New York paid the Dorismond family $2.25 million as a settlement in a wrongful death suit.
Malcolm Ferguson, 23, New York, N.Y.—March 1, 2000
Drug officers "noticed some movement" in the hallway of a public housing building and investigated. Ferguson, who was unarmed, ran up the stairs. "At some point, on the second-floor landing, there was a struggle," Chief John Scanlon said. "The [officer Officer Louis Rivera's] firearm discharged." Aftermath: Rivera was cleared of wrongdoing. Ferguson's mom, Juanita Young, was awarded $10.5 million as a result of her wrongful death suit against the NYPD and the city.
Amadou Diallo, 23, New York, N.Y.—Feb. 4, 1999
Four plainclothes officers fired a total of 41 shots at Diallo outside of his apartment in the Bronx. Nineteen hit him. He was armed with a wallet, which an officer mistook for a gun when he pulled it out of his pocket. Officers initially approached him because he supposedly matched the description of a serial rapist. Aftermath: The officers were acquitted of all charges. Diallo's mother and stepfather filed a $61 million ($20m plus $1m for each shot fired) wrongful death suit against the officers and New York city. They settled for $3 million.