You should recognize these names and the thousands that have come before them. These are the names of unarmed black men who were killed by law enforcement since July 2014 for seemingly inexplicable reasons: allegedly selling loose cigarettes, allegedly holding a toy gun in the toy section of Wal-Mart, allegedly running away after a scuffle with the cops, and allegedly complying with police by lying down on the street. All of these cases are currently in varying stages of investigation.
1) To put a stop to this unjust police behavior, and
2) To initiate an independent investigation into the deaths of ERIC GARNER and JOHN CRAWFORD III and MICHAEL BROWN and EZELL FORD, to prevent more cases like this in the future.
This is what we know for the moment with the help of our friens of The Root
Ezell Ford shot on Aug. 11 in South Los Angeles
His family claims that he was obeying Los Angeles Police Department officers and lying on the ground. The 25-year-old, who was mentally disabled, was stopped by the police for what they described as “investigative” reasons. A cousin, who did not want to be identified, said that the unarmed young man was laid out before he was shot in the back three times. Ford was rushed to the hospital, where he had to undergo surgery, but he did survive. Tritobia Ford, who was identified as the young man’s mother, said that the police would not tell her where her son was hospitalized.
Any charges? So far no charges have been filed in this particular case, but the officer responsible, who has yet to be identified, has been put on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated. According to reports, LAPD police Chief Charlie Beck, the Office of the Inspector General and the Board of Police Commissioners are expected to review the case.
Michael Brown shot Aug. 9 in Ferguson.
His friend Dorian Johnson explained in an exclusive interview with MSNBC that a cop confronted them and told them to “get the fuck off the sidewalk.” The officer attempted to get out of the squad car, and as he did the door slammed against Brown’s body and then closed again. The officer allegedly reached out of the car, grabbing Brown by his throat before threatening to shoot to him.
That was when Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran, ended up firing the first shot. The young men allegedly started running, and Johnson ducked behind a car. Brown, 18, kept running and was hit again by another bullet. At this point he tried to surrender, holding up his hands and attempting to get to the floor, but the officer continued shooting, according to reports. In the aftermath, Brown’s body was left lying in the street for hours, and his mother claimed that she was not given an opportunity to identify her own son
Any charges? So far the officer is on paid administrative leave. The FBI has gotten involved in the case and is said to be conducting an investigation parallel to that of local authorities. The Department of Justice is apparently also watching this case closely.
John Crawford III shot in southwestern Ohio on Aug. 5
His relatives tell the story of a young, loving father who was just handling a toy gun in the toy section of Wal-Mart before he was inexplicably gunned down by law enforcement. Since then the family has been demanding that surveillance video from the store be released so that they can prove exactly what happened. They have taken their case to civil rights organizations in hopes of finding closure.
Any charges? The two law-enforcement agents who fired their weapons—Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow—were put on leave after the incident and an investigation is pending. According to reports, local authorities have asked the state to take over the investigation. Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers has requested the state attorney general and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to look into whether the use of deadly force was justified.
Eric Garner shot on July 17 in Staten Island, N.Y
The tragic video showing the death of the father of six was widely publicized. From the moment the footage was released, Garner’s family has been demanding justice.
Video footage taken at the scene of the incident shows Garner in what appears to be a choke hold after he was accused of selling loose cigarettes illegally. His family pointed to the fact that he did not have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death. His widow, Esaw Garner, alongside black leaders like Al Sharpton, called for a thorough and prompt investigation and civil rights probe into the incident, given that it is illegal in New York to subdue suspects using a choke hold.
Any charges? Internal Affairs was looking into the matter as of last month, and in the immediate aftermath two officers, Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico, were put on desk duty. A medical examiner ruled at the beginning of August that Garner did, in fact, die as a result of the choke hold, ruling the 43-year-old father’s death a homicide.