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These victims of racist police brutality should not be forgotten either

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These victims of racist police brutality should not be forgotten either

George Floyd uttered the words “I can’t breathe” just two years ago, just before he was killed by police during a violent arrest. Former cop Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for that murder. However, Floyd is just one of many black Americans who have been killed by racist (police) violence in recent years. There are many more names that should not be forgotten. 

AHMAUD ARBERY

What happened?
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, of Georgia, was shot dead in broad daylight on February 23, 2020, while jogging in the area. Former police officer Gregory McMichael (65) and his son Travis (35) said they mistook him for a burglar and chased him in a pickup truck. Then they shot him dead with a rifle.

Perpetrators convicted
Initially, no one was arrested for the murder of Ahmaud. Only when a video of the murder was leaked and amid loud protests, the two perpetrators were arrested in early May 2020. Two weeks later, neighbor Wiliam Bryan (51), who filmed the incident, was also arrested. The case sparked major protests and many well-known Americans and politicians spoke out about it.

In June 2020, the three men were charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, and assault. A year later, charges of attempted kidnapping and committing a racial hate crime were added. In January of this year, all three men were sentenced to life imprisonment. Gregory and his son Travis have no chance of parole. Their neighbor is eligible after 30 years.

ATATIANA JEFFERSON

What happened?
Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was shot and killed by police officer Aaron Dean on October 12, 2019, in a Texas home. She was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew at the time. Dean went to investigate the house after a report from Atatiana’s neighbor because there could be a break-in. Bodycam footage shows the officer shining in with a flashlight and saying “hands up, show me your hands!” called out. Almost immediately afterward, he shot Atatiana. She died on the spot from her injuries.

Offender not yet convicted
Dean resigned two days after Atatiana’s death and was charged with murder. In December 2019, he appeared before a grand jury and in October 2020, the judge ruled that his trial would begin in August 2021. The case was delayed due to the corona pandemic. Last week, May 16, it was finally supposed to start, but Dean’s lawyers asked for a delay because one of them was said to have health problems. On June 23, the trial really starts and Dean is expected to hear his sentence soon. The judge refused to agree with Dean’s lawyers’ request to move the case to another county because the local jury was influenced by the media coverage.

Atatiana’s parents have since passed away before justice has been done for their daughter.

WHAT IS A GRAND JURY?

When a case goes to a grand jury , that means that the case appears before a jury of 12 to 23 people in a closed session. The jury – which is made up of citizens – must determine whether there is enough evidence to start a trial. This requires a two-thirds or three-quarters majority.

DAUNTE WRIGHT

What happened?
Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed on April 11, 2021, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. He was in his brother’s car with his girlfriend when officers stopped him because of expired registration tags on his license plate and an air freshener hanging in front of his rear-view mirror. The officers then learned that Daunte had a warrant for his arrest and tried to arrest him. Daunte is then said to have gotten back into his car, leading to a ‘brief struggle’.

Bodycam footage shows Officer Kim Potter pointing a gun at Daunte and yelling “taser” . Then the car with Daunte in it drives away and the cop yells to two other cops “oh shit, I just shot him”. Daunte’s car crashed into another vehicle a few blocks away. Daunte was pronounced dead on the spot. It was later revealed that he died of a gunshot wound to his chest. His girlfriend was injured. According to the police chief, the officer had intended to use her taser, but ‘accidentally’ shot Daunte.

All this happened about 15 kilometers from where Derek Chauvin was tried for the murder of George Floyd.

Offender convicted
Agent Kim Potter, resigned a day after Daunte’s death. A few days later, she was arrested and charged with manslaughter. She was found guilty on December 23 and sentenced to two years in prison in February.

BREONNA TAYLOR

What happened?
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old paramedic, was shot dead by police at her home in Louisville, USA on the night of March 13, 2020. The officers had a search warrant because they believed there might be drugs in Breonna’s home. However, they entered the residence without notice, while Breonna and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were in bed.

Kenneth thought burglars were coming in and fired a warning shot, hitting a cop in the leg. The three officers then fired 32 shots, 6 of which hit Breonna. She died before the ambulance arrived, while it is customary for an ambulance to be ready for these types of searches. Kenneth survived the shooting and was charged with the attempted murder of a cop. That charge was dropped in March 2021.

Offenders not convicted
Agents Myles Cosgrave and Brett Hankison were fired, as was Detective Joshua Jaynes, who authorized the search warrant. Jaynes later admitted that the order contained misinformation. Officer Jonathan Mattingly, who was hit in the leg by Kenneth, was not fired. All the officers got off without a conviction.

There was a lawsuit against former cop Hankison for endangering Breonna’s neighbors because his bullets hit another apartment. He was acquitted last March. The fact that no one else has been prosecuted for Breonna’s death has caused a lot of anger among politicians, celebrities and American citizens.

Breonna’s family received $10 million in compensation from the City of Louisville in September 2020. That is the highest compensation ever for a death caused by police brutality. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also pledged to implement police reforms in the form of stricter search warrant rules and greater transparency in police operations.

Breonna’s mother Tamika, together with their family’s lawyer, demanded an investigation from the US Department of Justice in March and requested that the officers involved be charged. “This is bigger than Breonna. If no one takes this case, they will keep kicking doors and killing us.”

JONATHAN PRICE

What happened?
Jonathan Price (31) was shot dead in October 2020 after he tried to calm a fight between a man and woman at a gas station. When police officer Shaun Lucas arrived, Jonathan greeted him and asked several times if he was okay. He held out his hand for a handshake. The officer thought Price was drunk and tried to stop him several times.

Bodycam footage, which was not released, showed that Jonathan was at no point aggressive towards police officer Shaun Lucas, Jonathan’s family lawyer said. According to witnesses, the situation had already been resolved before the police arrived.

When the officer threatened to use his taser, Jonathan ran away. Lucas deployed his taser, but it didn’t quite work, and Jonathan started walking towards the cop. The officer ended up shooting Jonathan four times in the torso. He subsequently died in hospital from his injuries.

Perpetrator not yet convicted
After investigation, it was determined that Officer Lucas’ actions were unreasonable, after which he was arrested and charged with murder. In April 2021, Lucas pleaded not guilty. In August of that year, it was announced that he would appear in court on May 23, 2022, but no updates have been released so far.

FANTA BILITY

What happened?
Fanta Bility, 8, was shot and killed by three police officers in August 2021. At the time, she was in a car near a high school where a sports game was going on and where she had gone to see her sister and cousin. At that time, a shooting broke out there between two teenage boys. The police thought that the perpetrator was in the car that Fanta was in and fired 25 bullets, which killed the girl, who had nothing to do with the whole incident. Three other people were injured.

Perpetrators not yet convicted
Not the police, but the two boys were subsequently charged with murder. The officers concerned remained on duty. That caused a lot of anger and indignation in the small town near Philadelphia.

In January of this year, the three officers, Devon Smith, Sean Patrick Dolan and Brian James Devaney, were fired and charged with Fanta’s death. They are charged with, among other things, manslaughter, a trial is yet to follow. The charges against the two teens have been dropped.

WALTER WALLACE JR.

What happened?
Protests erupted in Philadelphia on October 26, 2020, after 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., a father of three, was shot and killed by two police officers outside his home. He had a mental health crisis at the time and, according to witnesses, came over to the officers with a knife. They then fired fourteen bullets at Walter. His mother stood by and tried to calm things down. All this was seen on bodycam images and a video made by a bystander. Walter’s death was confirmed at the hospital that same day.

Walter’s father, who reported that his son was on medication for mental health problems, later wondered why a taser was not used. According to the family, the officers were aware of Walter’s mental problems and had just been called to help. The mayor announced an investigation and the two officers were removed from work.

Perpetrators not convicted
Walter’s family sued not for murder, but for wrongful death. In addition, they called on the police to change the way mental problems are dealt with. A lawsuit was also filed against the city of Philadelphia for inadequate police training and the officers’ lack of tasers.

The two officers involved, Sean Matarazzo and Thomas Munz, are no longer on duty, but no charges have been filed against them. In October 2021, the case against Philadelphia came to an agreement. Walter’s family was paid $2.5 million and an additional $14 million was promised to equip officers with electroshock weapons. “Financial settlement was never the primary goal of the family,” said the family lawyer. “They have called for police reforms from the start.”

In addition to these names, there are unfortunately many more victims of racist (police) violence in the United States. The SayEvery.Name website keeps track of all the names and cases of people killed by police brutality or racial violence by civilians in the US. The list is regularly updated, as are the photos and names of the victims of the recent terrorist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo on the website.

Dionne of the organization Control Alt Delete told Start with Fernando that George Floyd’s death at the time was the reason for the idea of ​​the documentary The Blue Family, which was broadcast earlier this week. In it, Dutch officers tell about their experiences with racism and discrimination in the workplace.

Dionne said that there are no figures available in the Netherlands about how many people have been killed by the police. “But how many people have died. We have been monitoring since 2016, since the death of Mitch Henriquez , and we have recorded 58 people who have died under the responsibility of the police . (. ..) Half of them have a migration background.” She calls for more reflection on those names, including Yazan Almadani, Sammer Baker and Tommy Holten, who died in the same way as George Floyd .

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