Monday, July 15, 2013

List: Unarmed Citizens Killed by U.S. Law Enforcement Officers

I'm sure I'm not the only person who finds himself at a loss of words right now, feeling simultaneously outraged, saddened, and powerless, so I'll keep this brief. The issue is deep-rooted as American racism itself, and several people have discussed it more eloquently and trenchantly than I ever could.

Of course, no amount of jail time can restore life to Trayvon Martin or compensate for the suffering and grief inflicted on his loved ones. But the message sent by the "not guilty" verdict of the Zimmerman trial is clear: it is often both illegal and fatal to be young, black, and male in this country. So long as the American justice system continues to allow cops (technically Zimmeran wasn't a cop but a cop-wannabe) who murder unarmed citizens to get off with a light slap on the wrist, the number of Zimmermans-- and the number of Treyvons-- will only continue to grow.

This list is by no means complete, even without including the several cases which have gone undocumented. Also left out are the countless victims like Rodney James who were beat, shot, or otherwise brutalized by cops but have survived with their lives. It does not pretend to begin to tackle the systematic racism of the American legal system, the law enforcement agency, or the prison industrial complex. Just a list.

1973: Clifford Grover, age 10, black male. Shot. Officer acquitted.
1976: Randolph Evans, age 15, black male. Unarmed-- no apparent reason. Shot. Officer served 2 years.
1983: Michael Stewart, age 25, black male. Unarmed-- altercation after painting graffiti in a subway station. Beat to death. Officers acquitted.
1993: Johnnie Cromartie, age 40, black male. Unarmed-- became “agitated” after being arrested for arms possession and sent to the hospital due to an epileptic seizure. Beat to death.
1993: Don Myrick, age 53, black male. Unarmed-- during narcotics investigation, officers mistook lighter for gun. Shot. CIty paid fine of $400,000.
1994: Anthony Baez, age 29, hispanic male. Unarmed-- altercation after he and his brother hit a police car more than once with his football. Strangled. Officer served 6.5 years.
1994: Ernest Sayon, age 22, black male. Unarmed-- resisted arrest. Beat to death. No charges filed by city.
1996: Nathaniel Levi Gaines, age 25, black male. Unarmed-- altercation on subway. Officer sentenced to 5-15 years.
1999: Amadou Diallo, age 23, black male. Unarmed-- officers mistook his wallet for a gun. Shot 41 times. Officers acquitted of all charges.
2000: Patrick Dorismond, age 26, black male. Unarmed-- confrontation with undercover cops after they asked him where they could buy drugs. Officers acquitted.
2003: Orlando Barlow, age 28, black male. Unarmed. Shot from 50 ft. while surrendering on his knees. Officers acquitted.
2003: Alberta Spruill, age 57, black female. Unarmed-- officers mistakenly threw a stun grenade into her apartment. City paid fine of $1.6 million.
2003: Ousmane Zongo, age 43, black male. Unarmed-- officers were investigating an operation he was not involved in. Shot. Officer put on probation for 5 years.
2004: Timothy Stansbury, age 19, black male. Unarmed-- no apparent reason. Shot. Officer suspended for 30 days.
2005: Rigoberto Alpizar, age 44, hispanic male. Unarmed-- officers allege he claimed to have a bomb at an airport. No explosives were found, and no passengers who witnessed the incident heard the word “bomb.” Shot. No charges pressed.
2005: Aaron Campbell, age 25, black male. Unarmed. Shot while facing backwards with hands on head. Officer acquitted.
2005: Henry Glover, age 31, black male. Unarmed-- no apparent reason. Shot. Officers awaiting appellate court.
2006: Joseph Erin Hamley, age 21, black male. Unarmed-- no apparent reason. Shot. Officer served 54 days in jail and fined $1000.
2005. Travares McGill, age 16, black male. Unarmed-- confrontation in parking lot. Shot in the back.
2006: Sean Bell, age 23, black male. Unarmed-- officers were investigating the strip club where he was having his bachelor party and thought they heard someone say “gun.” Shot 50 times. Officers found not guilty.
2007: Fermin Arzu, age 41, black male. Unarmed-- fled arrest in his car. Shot. Officer sentenced to 15 years.
2008: Robbie Tolan, age 23, black male. Unarmed-- falsely suspected of driving a stolen vehicle. Shot. Officer acquitted.
2009: Oscar Grant, age 22, black male. Unarmed. Shot while lying face down after confrontation on train. Officer sentenced to 2 years minus time served.
2009: Victor Sheen, age 17, black male. Unarmed-- refused to pull over on his bicycle. Tasered and ran over. Officer acquitted.
2010: Tyrone Brown, age 32, black male. Unarmed-- groped an off-duty officer’s female friend. Shot 12 times.
2010: Aiyana Jones, age 7, black female. Shot during raid. Officer awaiting trial.
2010: Steven Eugene Washington, age 27, black male. Unarmed-- the autistic man approached officers and appeared to remove something from his waistband. Shot.
2011: Alonzo Ashley, age 28, black male. Unarmed-- refused to stop splashing water from a drinking fountain on his face and then threw a trash can. Shot. No Charges filed.
2011: Michael Nida, age 31, black male. Unarmed-- mistakenly accused of robbery. Shot in the back with a submachine. No charges filed.
2012: Wendell Allen, age 20, black male. Unarmed. Shot.
2012: Remarley Graham, age 18, black male. Unarmed-- was trying to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. Shot. Officer acquitted.
2012: Ervin Jefferson, age 18, black male. Unarmed. Shot. Officers acquitted.
2012: Kendrac McDade, age 19, black, male. Unarmed. Shot. Officers acquitted.
2012: Trayvon Martin, age 17, black male. Unarmed. Shot. Officer acquitted.
2013: Kimani Grey, age 16, black male. Unarmed. Shot 11 times.
2013: Timothy Russell, age 43, black male. Malissa Williams, age 30, black female. Unarmed. Shot 137 times in car chase. Awaiting verdict.

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