Jayland Walker was killed by police in Akron, Ohio when he was shot more than 60 times. The nature of his death, and the brutality of his killing, made headlines. But lest anyone forget, the police kill an average of three people every day in this country and one of those victims will be Black. We do forget while the police snuff out more than 1,000 lives every year . We awake from the slumber of semi-denial when a case comes to public attention that is especially egregious. It can be George Floyd begging for his life or Jayland Walker being executed by a mob. There are times when we can’t look away.
Akron, Ohio - Over 1,000 people marched through downtown Akron July 3 to demand justice in the police lynching of Jayland Walker. The 25-year-old Black Doordash driver was riddled with bullets fired by Akron police June 27. Cops purportedly attempted to stop Walker over a traffic violation. A high-speed chase ensued, in which police claim Walker somehow fired at them while driving; the cops fired multiple shots towards Walker’s vehicle. When Walker tried to flee on foot, police fired at least 90 shots at him, hitting Walker at least 60 times.
Akron, Ohio – On July 3, hundreds of people took to the streets and participated in marches demanding justice for Jayland Walker, an African American man who was murdered by Akron police on June 27. Shot over 60 times and then handcuffed after his body was full of holes and bleeding wounds, Jayland Walker was unarmed while murdered by police. The organized protests follow days of sporadic unrest throughout the city. After the seventh day, the Akron Police Department finally held a press conference which released body-cam footage detailing the incident to the public.
The opening day of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, was stained by brutal police repression of demonstrations. The meeting has already been marred by controversy surrounding the White House’s refusal to invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, giving rise to boycotts and complaints from many other nations of the Americas. Perhaps most notable was the refusal of Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to attend. News outlets and social media platforms shared numerous videos of the scene in which a towering Los Angeles police officer violently attacked a woman who was speaking into a bullhorn, tackling her onto the pavement and delivering blows to her face.
Police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020, shocking the consciousness of the entire United States. On May 25 of this year, President Joe Biden announced that he will instate an executive order which is a watered-down version of a police reform proposal that previously failed to pass in the Senate. The failed proposal would have altered “qualified immunity”, a doctrine that makes it difficult to sue government officials, including police. The proposal would have kept the doctrine intact for individual officers, but made it easier for police brutality victims to sue officers or municipalities. This new executive order would merely create a national registry of officers fired for misconduct, in addition to directing federal agencies to revise use-of-force policies, encouraging state and local police to tighten restrictions on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, restrict the transfer of most military equipment to law enforcement agencies, as reported by the New York Times.
Tristan Taylor, a co-founder of Detroit Will Breathe (DWB) and a Left Voice member, is defending himself in court on Monday, May 23, against felony charges for protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020. Taylor is one of the Shelby 5, a group of protestors facing felony charges for demanding that Robert Shellide, the Chief of Police in Shelby Township, Michigan, be fired for posting violently racist remarks about the mass protests. Several additional protestors were charged with misdemeanors. On Taylor’s court date, Monday May 23, Detroit Will Breathe, an organization which was born in the heat of the Black Lives Matter movement, is calling their supporters to mobilize in support of a motion to get the felony charge thrown out.
A crowd of hundreds marched to the Grand Rapids City Commissioners meeting, April 12, to demand both the release of the raw video showing the murder of Patrick Lyoya and the arrest of the still-unnamed killer cop. Lyoya was a 26-year-old Congolese immigrant executed by the Grand Rapids Police Department last week. In the days after his death, citywide mourning and protests against the police have increased and are expected to surge after the release of the video this Wednesday. The police department has continued to stall the footage, while the city insists it is acting in full transparency. Patrick’s father, Peter Lyoya, said the video shows his son murdered “execution style” on the ground. The family has said the narrative of the department, that there was a “struggle,” runs counter to the facts.
Tamir Rice was one of several names that made international headlines in 2014. He was a 12-year-old Black boy murdered by Cleveland police within seconds of their arrival at Cudell Recreation Center. His mother, Samaria Rice, has since worked long, hard, and tirelessly to get some inkling of justice for her son. As a part of that work, she has been challenging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on its 2020 decision to close the civil rights investigation into the murder of Tamir Rice by former Cleveland Police Department Officer, Timothy Loehmann. Here, Samaria Rice, Da'Shaun Harrison, and Joy James offer three separate responses to the DOJ's refusal to convene a grand jury for the prosecution of Timothy Loehmann.
More than 3,000 high school students from across the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota walked out of class February 8 to march to the governor’s mansion and demand justice following the death of Amir Locke. Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, was shot and killed February 2 by a Minneapolis Police Department SWAT officer during a no-knock apartment raid. Locke was neither named in the no-knock warrant nor a resident of the apartment. In an area beset by the police killings of Black residents — including 46-year-old George Floyd in May 2020 — Locke’s death sparked marches and car caravans across the Twin Cities. Twin Cities high school students organized quickly through social media to demand the demilitarization of the Minneapolis Police Department, the resignation of those culpable in the killing of Amir Locke, and a ban on no-knock warrants.
With a caravan of dozens of cars, protesters in St. Paul continue to demand justice for George Floyd as the federal trial begins for the three former Minneapolis Police officers who assisted Derek Chauvin while he murdered Floyd. Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, all fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, face federal charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights. Opening statements began Monday, January 24.
The New York Times and other outlets report that most police killings in this country are “mislabeled.” The sanitized language is worse than an understatement because it implies that these murders are categorized improperly due to ordinary human error. In fact, there is a long and sordid history of covering up these crimes. The initial coroner’s report for George Floyd, whose murder was witnessed by millions of people, reported drug use and underlying health conditions as the causes of death. According to a report in the Lancet , between 1980 and 2018 police in the U.S. killed an estimated 30,800 people. This number is 17,000 more than reported by the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), which is a misclassification rate of 55%. The deaths of Black people are the most likely to be undercounted, with 5,670 deaths missing out of an estimated 9,540.
The new study provides a clearer picture of the issue of police violence in the United States. However, it does not fully account for the real social toll. What’s missing from this report is the untold number of victims that are brutalized by police but survive the physical and emotional scars bore by the victims and their families and the immeasurable suffering inflicted on families and communities that lose a loved one at the hands of police.
Just one day before the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a riot against the police led by trans women of color, New York City cops brutalized and arrested marchers as well as a street vendor. On early Sunday evening, after the Queer Liberation March and the Stonewall Protests’ Pride March, people poured into Washington Square Park. After individuals allegedly moved barricades, the police arrested, brutalized, and pepper-sprayed eight people. Journalist Janus Rose told Gothamist, “The park was packed and people were just hanging out and having a good time after the Queer Liberation March. Then all of a sudden we started seeing dozens of police vans circle around the park with their sirens and lights flashing, pedal to the metal.”
Accused of severely beating arrestees and attempting to cover up the repeated use of excessive force, three Indiana police officers were recently indicted on 12 counts. One of the officers is the former police chief’s son. On Friday, the Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury in Indianapolis, Indiana, charged Muncie Police Officer Joseph Chase Winkle, son of the former police chief, with nine felony offenses.
In 2014, St. Louis County experienced periods of heightened social protests following the highly publicized shooting of Michael Brown by then-police officer Darren Wilson. According to the New York Times, Wilson noticed Brown fit the description of a suspect who had stolen cigarillos and pulled up near Brown in his police SUV. A struggle ensued and Wilson fired his pistol at close range. Brown moved away from Wilson initially but turned towards him after a short pursuit.