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.

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Justice Department Investigating NYPD Cop Caught Killing Eric Garner on Video

Originally published on December 5, 2014, at NationofChange.org

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department will conduct an investigation into the death of Eric Garner after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD officer responsible for using a banned chokehold resulting in Garner’s death. Garner is one of at least nine unarmed black people killed by police in recent months. To date, no officers have been charged with the deaths.

Around 4:45pm on July 17, Eric Garner and his friend, Ramsey Orta, were discussing where to eat dinner when a fight erupted nearby. After Garner assisted in breaking up the fight, NYPD Officer Justin Damico approached Garner and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. Orta pulled out his phone and began recording the incident on video.

As Garner argued with Damico, Officer Daniel Pantaleo approached Garner from behind and attempted to grab his wrists. After Garner held his arms up in a nonthreatening manner and told the officers not to touch him, Pantaleo immediately placed Garner in a chokehold even though the maneuver has been banned by the department since 1993.

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Autopsy Reveals Cop Shot Mentally Ill Man in the Back

Originally published on December 3, 2014, at NationofChange.org

In response to the district attorney’s lethargic investigation, the family of a mentally ill man who was shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer has released his autopsy report this week. According to the medical examiner, seven of the gunshots were fired in a downward trajectory and one of the bullet wounds proves he had been shot in the back.

On April 30, Dontre Hamilton took a nap next to the statue in Red Arrow Park while waiting for his brother, Nate, to give him a ride. Following company policy, a Starbucks employee called 911 to report someone sleeping in front of the store. Around 1pm, two Milwaukee police officers responded to the call and approached Hamilton.

The officers spoke with Hamilton for a few minutes and left without arresting him. A Starbucks employee called 911 again asking officers to remove Hamilton even though he was not panhandling or bothering anyone. Several minutes later, the same two officers returned and approached the coffee shop.

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