Police have shot and killed four unarmed black men in the last month, according to a report in Mother Jones, including the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. These deaths all have several things in common, and the report shows a frightening trend in police activity.
The three other men who’ve been killed in the last month are:
1. Eric Garner
New York City police killed Garner in a chokehold after he allegedly resisted arrest for selling cigarettes without collecting taxes. Mother Jones says that the chokehold was banned in 1993, but that didn’t stop the NYPD officer from using it. Later on, the medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide, saying that it did, in fact, cause Garner’s death.
The officer involved in Garner’s death has a history of false arrests. In fact, New York City had to pay out $30,000 to two black women who this officer forced to strip in public before he searched them. In both cases of false arrest, the charges were dropped. This is an officer who should not even be on duty anymore.
2. John Crawford
A man living in Beavercreek, Ohio, was shot and killed inside a Walmart after a man called the police saying he felt threatened. Crawford was playing with a BB gun sold in Walmart, and allegedly didn’t respond to officers’ requests that he drop the weapon. In a store that sells toy guns to look like real guns, this is a major concern.
The police department stood by their officers, saying that they opened fire after Crawford refused to drop the weapon. The police chief did ask the Ohio attorney general’s office, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, to open an investigation into the incident.
When we reported on this incident, we mentioned that Ohio is an open-carry state, and a bunch of white guys get to march around downtown Cleveland carrying long guns without anybody getting hurt. But a black man, in a Walmart, with a toy rifle he intended to buy for his child, gets shot? We have a problem with that.
3. Ezell Ford
According to police, Ford attacked an officer after officers stopped him on a Los Angeles sidewalk and tried to get a hold of the officer’s weapon. However, Ford’s mother has a different story: Ford lay on the ground, complying with officers’ orders, and they shot him in the back.
Another witness said that the police were beating him up before they shot him. And yet another witness said that the police pulled out billy clubs when she rushed over, rather than trying to console her. Everyone in the area also knew that Ford was mentally challenged.
What do all three of these men and Michael Brown have in common? They’re all black, they were all unarmed and they’re all victims of police actions with disputed circumstances. The police tell one story, but witnesses say something different.
All within ONE month in the United States of America.
h/t: Mother Jones