I wrote about George Floyd on Monday, and I will continue to say his name, but it’s not just about George. Lot’s of people in the country have been killed over race, and/or killed by police. These two things aren’t always combined, but when they are, it is especially egregious. Today, I want to talk about a few of the other recent incidents, just in case you haven’t heard about them or don’t know the story.
On February 23rd of 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia. While this was not a police killing, it was a racially motivated killing, which ignited outrage about the ongoing consequences of racism in America. Ahmaud’s killers were not arrested until 74 days later, long after the video of the killing had gone viral. One of the killers was a former police officer still connected to current officers and prosecutors.
On March 13th, police in Louisville, Kentucky, used a battering ram to bust down the door to the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician. This happened just after midnight, and they were serving a “no-knock” warrant, but it is hotly disputed whether they gave warning or not. Breonna was shot at least 8 times by police and killed in the ensuing firefight between police and her boyfriend, a licensed gun owner who claims to have shot in self-defense against unidentified intruders.
On May 30th, 22-year-old Sarah Grossman was demonstrating at a protest in Columbus, Ohio when she was tear-gassed police. She later died in the hospital from respiratory issues as a result. The use of tear gas in warfare was banned by the Geneva Protocol of 1925, but police in the United States continue to use it on protestors to this day.
June 1st, 2020, again in Louisville, Kentucky. This time, David McAtee, a chef, was protesting when the police and National Guard came in to enforce a curfew. He was killed by a National Guard bullet in a shootout between protestors and officers. The police involved had turned off their body cameras.
June 2nd. Police in Vallejo, California, respond to reports of looting at a Walgreens. They find a dozen people and several cars in the parking lot. Most of the people flee, and the police give chase, resulting in a car chase. However, 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa kneels on the ground with his hands up and is fatally shot.
June 12th. 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks passes out in his car in a Wendy’s drive-through. Police report to the scene and wake him up. He submits to a breathalyzer test and it turns out he is slightly above the legal limit. When the police attempt to arrest him, a fight breaks out and Rayshard steals a taser from one of the police. He is then shot in the back and kicked by officers while he lies on the ground bleeding. All of this is on video.
There have been more. These are only the ones I know about within the past couple of months. There have been many widely-publicized killings of African-Americans by police over the past decade as social media has made these videos available to all of us. This year, over 780 videos of police violence against protestors have appeared on Twitter since the outbreak of protests on May 26th. Most of those killed have been African-Americans. Let’s not pretend this isn’t happening. Let’s talk about why and what we can do to make it stop.
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