16 Unarmed Black People Killed by Police this Year

Originally published on December 13, 2014, at NationofChange.org

At least 16 unarmed black people have been killed by police officers this year including a woman and two children. According to law enforcement officials, these people lost their lives in instances of poor police training, miscommunication, justified tactics, and excessive brutality. Although the majority of unarmed individuals killed by police this year have been black, officers have also been killing unarmed people of other races.

On January 16, Jordan Baker was allegedly killed in a case of mistaken identity. Working off-duty as a mall security guard, Houston PD Officer Juventino Castro confronted Baker because he fit the description of some robbery suspects who had recently held up three stores while wearing black hoodies. Castro claims Baker charged at him, forcing the off-duty officer to shoot Baker to death. A grand jury is deciding whether to charge Castro with killing Baker.

In August, North Augusta Public Safety Officer Justin Craven was charged with misconduct in office for gunning down a 68-year-old unarmed man named Ernest Satterwhite. After a slow-speed chase that ended in Satterwhite’s driveway on February 9, Officer Craven ran up to Satterwhite’s car door and shot him to death. The prosecution sought to charge Craven with voluntary manslaughter, but the grand jury indicted him on a misdemeanor instead. Satterwhite’s family has filed a lawsuit alleging Craven had disobeyed orders and lied about Satterwhite trying to grab his gun.

Continue reading

New Mexico Deputy Charged with Murdering Fellow Deputy

Originally published on October 30, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy has been charged with murder after gunning down his colleague at a hotel in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Deputy Jeremy Martin had been fleeing towards the elevator when Deputy Tai Chan shot him multiple times in the back and arm. Las Cruces Police officers found Martin in the hotel lobby and transported him to MountainView Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

After transporting a prisoner to a detention facility in Safford, Arizona, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies Martin and Chan stopped in Las Cruces and booked room 711 at Hotel Encanto around 4pm on Monday. According to Chan’s friend, Joshua Sexauer, the off-duty deputies were already drinking when he picked them up from the hotel. They went to three different bars including Dublin’s Street Pub where the deputies got into a heated argument and the bartender had to physically separate them.

Sexauer left the bar and later received a phone call from Chan’s girlfriend, Leah Tafoya. At 12:31am, Tafoya asked Sexauer to check on Chan. She had just been on the phone with Chan when she heard someone yelling, “Please don’t, please don’t!”

Then she heard gunshots.

Continue reading