[News] Who Police Killed In 2014

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 23 11:45:24 EST 2014

  Who Police Killed In 2014

by Carimah Townes 
& Dylan Petrohilos 
Posted on December 12, 2014 at 11:40 am Updated: December 13, 2014 at 
9:02 am

In the months since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren 
Wilson on August 9, demonstrators have marched, set up street blockades, 
shut down highways, and faced off against the very police officers they 
want brought to justice. Grand jury decisions not to indict Wilson, or 
the NYPD officer who choked Eric Garner to death on film, have sparked 
what may be a tipping point for people exhausted with the number of 
deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

Sadly, we know Brown and Garner were just one of many people who died at 
the hands of police this year. But a dearth of national data 
on fatalities caused by police makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact 
number of deaths. One site put the total at 1,039. 

What we do know is that police-related deaths follow certain patterns. A 
2012 study found that about half of those killed by the police each year 
are mentally ill 
a problem that the Supreme Court will consider 2015 
Young black men are also 21 times more likely 
<http://www.propublica.org/article/deadly-force-in-black-and-white> to 
be killed by cops than young white men, according to one ProPublica 
analysis of the data we have. The Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention also compiled data which shows that people of color 
<http://www.cjcj.org/news/8113> are most likely to be killed by cops 
overall. In short, people who belong to marginalized communities are at 
a higher risk of being shot than those who are not.

don't shoot

CREDIT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Below is a list of 21 people of color and/or mentally ill persons who 
were killed by cops in 2014. Some cases are more clear-cut than others, 
but all of them raise questions about the use of force — like shooting 
to kill — in policing. They also prompt scrutiny of how cops confront 
people with mental illnesses:

*1. Darrien Hunt; Saratoga Springs, UT:* Hunt was shot six times 
and killed after someone reported a man with a suspicious sword. Hunt, 
who had a fascination with Japanese anime characters, was carrying a toy 
sword. A recent autopsy report found the shots hit him in the back, 
suggesting he was running away from police on the scene.

*2. Ezell Ford; Los Angeles, CA:* In what was described as “an execution 
by family members, Ford was unarmed when LAPD shot him last August. 
Officers stopped him on the street, in response to a possible 
officer-involved shooting. One witness contends that officers beat the 
25-year-old disabled man while saying “shoot him.” Others maintain that 
Ford was laying on the ground when he was shot.

*3. Omar Abrego; Los Angeles, CA:* Abrego died a mere four blocks from 
where Ezell Ford was shot. A father of three, Abrego was beaten to death 
by LAPD after a car chase 
last August. Witnesses allege that officers punched Abrego in the face 
continuously, and also hit him with a baton.

*4. Tamir E. Rice; Cleveland, OH:* Police responded to a 911 call about 
a boy with a gun in the park. Within seconds of arriving at the park, 
police opened fire, killing the 12-year-old 
who had been holding a toy gun. Officers on the scene refused to 
administer first aid for four minutes, and left him laying on the 
ground. They allegedly handcuffed his 14-year-old sister 

*5. Tanesha Anderson; Cleveland, OH:* Anderson, a schizophrenic and 
bipolar women, died after police allegedly slammed her onto the pavement 
outside her family’s home. Officers had approached Anderson after a 
caller reported her for “disturbing the peace.” Police claim that they 
planned to take her to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, and 
that she went limp in an officer’s arms. But Anderson’s brother and 
daughter deny the cops’ story and contend that the 37-year-old was 
slammed to the ground.

*6. Rumain Brisbon; Phoenix, AZ:* Brisbon was killed earlier this month, 
after an officer mistook a pill bottle for a gun 
The officer approached Brisbon’s car after someone reported a drug deal 
happening near the vehicle. When asked to raise his hands, Brisbon put 
them in his pockets. A quick chase on foot ensued after the officer 
pulled out a weapon. There was a brief scuffle when the cop caught up to 
Brisbon, during which the latter reached into his pocket. The officer 
shot him, and explained later that he thought he felt a gun in the 
pocket. The perceived gun was actually a pill bottle.

*7. John Crawford III; Beavercreek, OH:* Crawford was shot by police 
officers in a Walmart 
who were responding to a 911 call about an armed man. The caller, who 
originally stated that Crawford was pointing the gun at people, changed 
his statement later on. In a video released after the incident, Crawford 
was walking down a store aisle while holding a BB gun that he was buying 
for his children, and then swung it over his shoulder. All the while, he 
was talking on a phone and looking at the shelves. Officers descended 
upon him and fired two shots.

*8. Keith Vidal; Southport, NC:* Police responded to a 911 call for 
assistance from the parents of Vidal, a schizophrenic 18-year-old, who 
was in the middle of an episode. Although Vidal picked up a screwdriver, 
two officers were able to calm him down. But the situation turned deadly 
when a third cop tased the teenager shortly thereafter. That officer 
allegedly said “we don’t have time for this” before shooting 
and killing Vidal on the spot.

*9. Kajieme Powell; St. Louis, MO:* Just days later and a few miles away 
from where Mike Brown was shot, officers gunned down Kajieme Powell 
who had stolen energy drinks and pastries from a convenience store. 
Officers said they shot Powell after he approached them wielding a knife 
with an “overhand grip,” and that he was within three or four feet of 
them. But video from a cell phone showed the 25-year-old standing 
farther away and with his hands by his sides.

*10. Akai Gurley; Brooklyn, NY:* A police officer accidentally shot 
who was walking down a dark flight of stairs. The officer fired his gun 
while he was performing a vertical patrol, and texted a union rep as 
Gurley was dying 
Police Chief Bill Bratton confirmed that Gurley was a “total innocent.”

*11. Eric Garner; Staten Island, NY:* NYPD officers stopped Garner, who 
was selling untaxed cigarettes, on the sidewalk. The encounter turned 
deadly when Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner, an asthmatic, in an 
illegal chokehold 
Garner repeatedly said ‘I can’t breathe’ before dying on the scene. The 
entire incident was caught on camera, but a grand jury decision refused 
to indict the officer.

*12. Mike Brown; Ferguson, MO:* Brown was shot by Officer Darren Wilson 
after the police stopped him and friend Dorian Johnson, who were walking 
in the street. After he stopped them, Wilson realized that Brown matched 
the description of a suspected thief who the officer was trying to find. 
Wilson claimed there was a physical altercation, and that Brown tried to 
grab his gun and charged at him. Witnesses say Brown was running away 
with his hands up when the officer shot him. Police kept the body in the 
street for 4.5 hours. A grand jury chose not to indict Wilson.

*13. Michelle Cusseaux; Phoenix, AZ:* Frances Garrett called Southwest 
Behavioral Health Services to transport her 50-year-old daughter, 
Michelle Cusseaux, to an in-patient facility. Cusseaux, who was 
schizophrenic, bipolar, and had depression, was showing signs of 
threatening behavior. But when officers came to take her away, the 
incident escalated. Cusseaux threatened them with a hammer, and was shot 
in her home 
when she wouldn’t put it down. Later Garrett said, “They knew (who) they 
were going to work with — a person with a mental illness. You don’t come 
with guns drawn, guns at her door. I’m sure it frightened her.”

*14. Jack Jacquez; Rocky Ford, CO:* When Jacquez returned home after 
babysitting with a friend, officers showed up unexpectedly and burst 
into the home. According to his sister in law, Jacquez was standing next 
to his mom with his back to the cops, when Officer James Ashby shot him 
two times 
His fiance was woken up by gun shots. Details haven’t emerged about why 
officers were at the house.

*15. Jason Harrison; Dallas, TX:* When Harrison’s mother dialed 911, she 
was seeking help for her son who had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 
But the officers who responded to the call shot and killed Harrison 
on the front porch of his mother’s home, when he didn’t obey orders to 
put a screwdriver down. Police claimed Harrison was acting aggressively, 
but the victim’s family filed a lawsuit stating that excessive force 
was used. Harrison’s father also alleges that cops were previously 
called to subdue the victim. Video of the shooting, recorded by a body 
cam, has not been released to the public.

*16. Yvette Smith; Bastrop County, TX:* Police were called to a house 
where a disturbance call was placed, although a dispatcher misinformed 
them that the disturbance was about a gun. Officers allege that people 
inside the house ignored demands to step out of the home. The Sheriff’s 
Department originally said that Smith eventually opened the door with a 
gun in her hand and refused to listen to orders, which is when Deputy 
Daniel Willis shot her in her abdomen and hip 
But the department backtracked on the gun claim hours later. Witnesses 
say the disturbance call was about money and not a gun 
and that Smith was compliant. The 47-year-old woman died at the 
hospital, and Willis was indicted for murder.

*17. Louis Rodriguez; Oklahoma City, OK:* Police were called about a 
domestic dispute between a mother and daughter, but wound up killing the 
father outside of a movie theater. Rodriguez was trying to calm his wife 
down when he was approached by police and security guards from the 
theater. Officers began to beat him 
when, in an attempt to stop his wife from driving away, Rodriguez 
bypassed the officers. Although an autopsy conducted by the Oklahoma 
State Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the victim died from 
“cardiac arrhythymia due to physical constraint,” 
a private autopsy concluded that he died of asphyxia as a result of a 
maneuver that restricted his breathing. The daughter, Lunahi Rodriguez, 
recorded the incident.

*18. Matthew Pollow; Palm Beach, FL:* Police were called to investigate 
an “armed disturbance,” when they approached Matthew Pollow standing 
next to a car. Pollow complied when he was ordered to remove everything 
from his pockets. Then Deputy Evan Rosenthal drew his weapon, alleging 
that the victim looked “very disturbed.” Pollow, who had a history of 
mental illness, grabbed a screwdriver and charged at the officer. 
Rosenthal shot Pollow 
who died at the scene.

*19. Dontre D. Hamilton; Milwaukee, WI:* Hamilton, a 31-year-old 
schizophrenic man, was sleeping in a park when Officer Christopher 
Manney approached him for a standard welfare check. After assessing that 
Hamilton was mentally ill, Manney approached him from the back and 
started to pat him down. The two exchanged punches before, Manney 
eventually used his baton to hit the victim in the neck. Manney then 
shot Hamilton 14 times 
Chief Edward Flynn of Milwaukee said that Manney disregarded police 
policy after correctly determining that Hamilton was mentally unstable. 
“You don’t go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they 
appear to be mentally ill,” said Flynn.

*20. David Latham; Northfolk, VA:* According to Latham’s family, his 
mother and sister called 911 when he threatened his brother with a 
knife. Latham had stopped taking his medication for schizophrenia, which 
explained his behavior. When he didn’t immediately put down his knife, 
an officer shot Latham, who was standing in a doorway 
nine times.

*21. Maria Godinez; Orlando, FL:* Officer Eduardo Sanguino accidentally 
shot and killed Godinez 
a 22-year-old college student. The officer was shooting at Kody Roach, 
who was a caller reported for waiving a gun outside of a bar. Police 
attempted to tase Roach, but that didn’t work. And when Roach turned 
around, Sanguino shot his firearm nine times. Godinez was inside when 
she was hit by a stray bullet.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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