LAPD Shoot 15-Year-Old in Back for Standing Near Friend Holding Toy Gun

Originally published on February 15, 2015, at NationofChange.org

LAPD officers shot a 15-year-old student on Tuesday morning because his friend was playing with a replica gun as they were walking to school. Although the police claim the officers issued multiple warnings to drop the gun, nearby residents do not recall hearing any warnings before the shooting.

Around 7:45am on Tuesday, 15-year-old Jamar Nicholson and a small group of friends were walking to school dressed in their uniforms and khaki pants. As they entered an alley, one of Jamar’s friends pulled out a BB gun. Following up an investigation in the area, LAPD Criminal Gang Homicide Group officers noticed the replica gun mistaking it for a real firearm.

According to a police statement, the officers ordered Jamar’s friend to drop the weapon multiple times before opening fire. But nearby residents who heard the gunshots reportedly did not hear the officers issue any warnings. A moment before a bullet entered his upper back, Jamar heard someone yelling, “Freeze!”

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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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Rookie Cop Guns Down 12-Year-Old on Playground

Originally published on November 24, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A 12-year-old boy died this weekend after a Cleveland police officer shot him in the stomach on Saturday. Responding to a 911 call concerning a possible juvenile aiming a probably fake gun at people, a first-year rookie and a 10-year department veteran arrived at the playground and shot the 12-year-old. The officers later realized the boy had been playing with a toy BB gun.

While visiting his friends in the playground area outside Cuddell Recreation Center around 3:30pm on Saturday, 12-year-old Tamir Rice acquired an airsoft pistol with the orange safety indicator removed. As Tamir sat on the swings, he pulled the toy gun out of his waistband pretending to shoot people. A Cleveland resident called 911 to report “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.”

“I don’t know if it’s real or not,” the caller admitted.

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