2015: THE YEAR IN BLACK PEOPLE GETTING KILLED BY POLICE THAT YOU PROBABLY FORGOT ABOUT BECAUSE THERE WAS A NEW ONE LIKE EVERY WEEK

Tired of Best Movies of the Year lists? Well this should be a refreshing change of pace. Let's take a look at the year in unarmed black people, mostly but not exclusively males, killed by police in 2015. It's worth a review because, as you know by now, part of the process of normalizing these incidents is that you can't focus on any one because they happen so regularly that the media and public never follow any single case to its conclusion, with rare exceptions. I'll cheat just a little by starting at the end of 2014 since 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot in Cleveland by an officer who, it was just announced, will not be punished. This is just a sample of officer-involved killings in 2015, and I've sampled only the most egregiously sketchy cases here. If you want to sort through all 1,190 (so far) from 2015, knock yourself out. Otherwise take a look at this timeline and be honest with yourself about how many of these cases you remember hearing about when the link jogs your memory but otherwise had completely forgotten.

Nov. 22, 2014
Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland OH
(Officers exonerated)

Dec. 2
Rumain Brisbon, 34, Phoenix AZ
(Officers exonerated)

Dec. 30
Jerame Reid, 36, Bridgeton, NJ
(Routine traffic stop, on video)

Jan. 8, 2015
Artago Damon Howard, 36, Union County, AR
(Weapon discharged "accidentally")

Feb. 4
Jeremy Lett, 28, Tallahassee, FL
(Unarmed, no criminal record, "fit description" of burglary suspect)

Feb. 15
Lavall Hall, 25, Miami Gardens, FL
(Mentally ill, wielding a broomstick)

Feb. 28
Thomas Allen, 34, Wellston, MO
(Cop jumps in moving car to shoot fleeing suspect, "feared for his life" despite fleeing)

March 1
Charly Leundeu Keunang, 43, Los Angeles, CA
(Seven cops against one unarmed homeless man)

March 6
Naeschylus Vinzant, 37, Aurora, CO
(Unarmed, skipped parole)

March 6
Tony Robinson, 19, Madison, WI
(Officer emptied weapon blindly while retreating, unarmed)

March 8
Anthony Hill, 27, DeKalb County, GA
(Mentally ill Air Force veteran, naked when shot)

March 12
Bobby Gross, 35, Washington, DC
(Mentally ill, naked, wielding tree branch, was on DC Metro tracks when shot)

March 19
Brandon Jones, 18, Cleveland, OH

April 2
Eric Harris, 44, Tulsa, OK (Shot "accidentally" by a 73 year old "reserve deputy" playing cop)

April 4
Walter Scott, 50, North Charleston, SC (Officer indicted for murder, since it was on video and he attempted to plant a weapon)

April 15
Frank Shephard, 41, Houston, TX
(Killed after chase)

April 22
William Chapman, 18, Portsmouth, VA
(Officer fired)

April 25
David Felix, 24, NYC
(Mentally ill)

May 5
Brendon Glenn, 29, Venice, CA
(Shooting on video ruled "justified")

June 15
Kris Jackson, 22, South Lake Tahoe, CA
(Officer claimed "perceived a threat", no weapon found)

June 25
Spencer McCain, 41, Owings Mills, MD
(Officer claimed he had a weapon; unarmed)

July 12
Salvado Ellswood, 36, Plantation, FL
(Homeless man slapped officer, who shot him multiple times)

July 13
Sandra Bland, 28, Hempstead, TX

July 17
Albert Joseph Davis, 23, Orlando, FL
(Shot in back while fleeing)

July 17
Darrius Stewart, 19, Memphis, TN
(Officer mistaked him for a suspect)

July 19
Samuel Dubose, 43, Cincinnati, OH
(Officer fired, charges possible)

Aug. 7
Christian Taylor, 19, Arlington, TX
(Officer fired, "regrets" shooting)

Aug. 21
Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, St. Louis, MO (Police claimed he was aiming a gun at them; autopsy revealed he was shot in the back)

Sept. 23
Jeremy McDole, 28, Wilmington, DE (Paraplegic shot after allegedly brandishing gun from his wheelchair)

Oct. 18
Corey Jones, 31, Palm Beach Gardens, FL (Shot by plainclothes cop while waiting by his disabled vehicle on highway)

Nov. 15
Jamar Clark, 24, Minneapolis, MN (Shot while handcuffed, protesters later shot at by white supremacists)

Dec. 26
Quintonio Greer, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55, Chicago, IL (Greer "acted erratically" and Jones, an uninvolved neighbor, was shot "accidentally" according to the CPD)

And remember, this is just a slice of the nearly 1200 people killed by police in the U.S. this year.

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33 Responses to “2015: THE YEAR IN BLACK PEOPLE GETTING KILLED BY POLICE THAT YOU PROBABLY FORGOT ABOUT BECAUSE THERE WAS A NEW ONE LIKE EVERY WEEK”

  1. c u n d gulag Says:

    I've got nothing.

    Nothing but tears…

  2. J. Dryden Says:

    What amazes me about this phenomenon is how some people will respond to it as if it must be a two-sided issue. As if, upon being told that police are regularly shooting and killing unarmed people, they must argue that this is not something to be upset over, because, seen from another perspective, it's really not that bad.

    Black people "aren't being shot because they're black," therefore it's really not that bad.

    Black people "are being shot because of bad choices that they made in the heat of the moment," so it's really not that bad.

    Black people are shot, but "it's the cops we should sympathize with," so it's really not that bad.

    The response to "unarmed people are frequently being shot by police officers" should not be to turn it into a two-sided issue. It should not be about finding some way to blame the dead. It should not be arguing that those who shot them were right to do so.

    The only humane response is this one: "That's horrible. What can we do to find out why this is happening, and then what can we do to put a stop to it–or at least, stop this from happening quite so often?"

    That's all. That's it. THERE IS NO OTHER RESPONSE YOU CAN GIVE AND BE A DECENT PERSON. That's not to say you have to come to the same diagnosis. Because there ARE multiple reasons why this is happening. And whichever practical solution floats your boat–great, argue in favor of that.

    Just so long as your "solution" doesn't boil down to "Fuck 'em." Which if your response is anything other than "That's awful–let's find out why this is happening and minimize it"–yeah, that's what you're arguing for.

  3. freeportguy Says:

    Somehow my heart sank one more notch as I read every case…

    When you think that wingnuts view Black Lives Matter as "domestic terrorism", you realize that they live in a parallel universe where up is down…

  4. Mark Says:

    I believe that the problem starts and ends with the mind set that police officers think that they are in constant danger of their lives. A naked man wielding a stick is not a real threat to your life, sir, but it is easier to shoot him first and then twist the truth in your favor to make it appear that your own death was imminent. I think much of this comes from many cops being former military and instilled with the "kill or be killed" mentality which does not actually exist.

  5. Katydid Says:

    I agree with Gulag. I read this and was just so heartsick.

  6. Jude Says:

    I'm just waiting for all the authoritarian boot-lickers to show up and defend the poor, beleaguered cops.

  7. Buckyblue Says:

    Hey, but on a somewhat related good note, a father was charged yesterday when his daughter shot herself with a loaded gun that was left unattended. The father was black so it made complete sense to me. I guess the only time BLM to cops is when they can charge another black man with a crime.

  8. RosiesDad Says:

    @JDryden: Unfortunately, as a society we don't give a shit. Whether it's cops or a psychopath with an AR, the victims don't matter. Not if they are Black men or 6 year old kindergarten students. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  9. postcaroline Says:

    Yesterday I waded into the comments on a Yahoo post about Tamir Rice. It was demoralizing to say the least. It turns out, some people can find plenty of justification for shooting an unarmed 12 year old on a playground, such as:
    – being on a playground unsupervised (parent should have been watching)
    – playing with an toy that looks like a weapon (parent should not have allowed child out of house with such item)
    – and of course, cops can't be too careful!

    In conclusion being a 12 year old kid on a playground without parental supervision is tantamount to a crime, if you are black. Black parents are guilty too. And police always, always act responsibly (save for a few bad apples).

    I do not think the world has become a more inherently dangerous place. But I think we have become more fearful, and have acted accordingly.

  10. Skipper Says:

    Once they get everyone used to their shooting unarmed black folks, then they can move on to marginal whites. People will make the same excuses for them. Then, they'll move up the ladder a bit. People will continue to make excuses. When it's all over, the police will be able to shoot anyone in the bottom 90% with impunity.

    The US has become such a gun crazy and violent society that people in other developed countries can't understand it. I know because I've tried to explain it to them. Of course, explaining our healthcare system to them is a fruitless task also. No one outside the US can understand someone going into bankruptcy because of healthcare costs.

    Something that slipped under the radar of a lot of people is that 27 people in the US were shot to death on Christmas day alone. Another 63 were injured. But of course you knew that from the screaming headlines in your local newspaper. Can you even imagine the non-stop coverage if 27 people were killed in any other way in a single day.

  11. Major Kong Says:

    If playing unsupervised with a toy that looks like a weapon is probable cause for a police shooting:

    My friends and I would have all been gunned down back in the 1960s.

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    Skipper,
    On a lighter note – on a post about an inexusably horrible subject – when I start to explain to furriners how fuckd up we 'Murkinz are, I don't start with guns or our health care system, I start by telling them that we drive on our parkways, and park on our driveways.

    That lernz 'em good!

    Then, when their eyes un-cross, I delve into the greater mysteries of our language and "culture."

  13. Freeportguy Says:

    Police is deemed to "always act responsibly"…that is unless they're trying to serve a wingnut like Bundy: then it's tyranny!

  14. mothra Says:

    Thanks, Ed, for what should be on every news site's "end of year lists." But no, we'll have lists on the most used emojis of 2015, the most embarrassing celebrity moments, etc. Because God forbid we clutter up our beautiful minds with information that really matters.

  15. mother earth Says:

    I was on a big true crime reading kick when the OJ Simpson trial began. I followed it closely and when the verdict came down, I was shocked. The evidence clearly pointed to OJ, I could not understand the verdict, at all. I did not understand nor could I comprehend the explanation that black citizens inherently did not trust white police officers. Now, a mere 21 years later, I understand completely, thanks to cell phone cameras everywhere. This list is sad and depressing, one killing occurred in my home state and I don't even remember the details of it. Way too many, way too sad.

  16. ShortWoman Says:

    And just think, this is only the *short* version of the list. =(

  17. Lit3Bolt Says:

    "Innocent Victim Probably Deserved It"

    That's the too-real-for-The-Onion subtext in all of these stories and their news coverage.

  18. Robert Says:

    The more I learn about the history of this country, up to and including yesterday afternoon, the fact that Black people are willing to *talk* to white people, much less engage in any more significant interaction, strikes me as a triumph of hope over experience beyond my comprehension.

  19. Major Kong Says:

    Of course if you're a white rancher you can point guns at federal agents and still get the kid gloves treatment.

  20. paintedjaguar Says:

    The police already DO kill marginalized whites, as well as the occasional middle-class white who happens to come under their guns. I still can't see the value in casting this as a racial problem rather than a police violence problem.

  21. Gerald Says:

    The sad truth is that each last one of these people were American citizens and human beings who historically have NOT been considered American citizens or human beings in this society for the past 250 YEARS!

    It is apparent that the murder of these people is not a bug in the system …it is a feature!

    And based on the MSM coverage (or lack of), politician's (the State) response and handling to date … a common and expected occurrence.

    THAT is sad!!!

  22. Mo Says:

    paintedjag – "rather than"? How about both?

    I still can't see the value in casting this as a racial problem

    And just what makes you imagine it's not?

    AS WELL AS a police violence problem.

  23. Wim Says:

    It's hard for me to square the circle when, on the one hand, the police and their defenders refer to them as brave defenders of social order and on the other they scream hysterically at the sight of their own shadows…which, admittedly, are black.

  24. Mo Says:

    Hey Skipper –

    It's already a thing.

    Unless, as Major K says, you're someone like Craven Bundy, thieve from public land, and attract a posse of bums with guns.

  25. noskilz Says:

    It is depressing, but perhaps the increasing coverage and situations like the Dothan police department being exposed will force some progress on the situation.

  26. Dave Bearse Says:

    One of the issues, despite increasingly ubiquitous video, is that there are advantages in shooting to kill.

    I don't recollect where, but I saw a clip of a half dozen big US city officers plugging a surrounded guy with an 8" blade in his hand with a few dozen bullets was contrasted with video of a solo German policeman shooting in the thigh and wounding a guy with a three foot sword coming at the officer.

    Major Kong – Contrast Bundy's occupation and theft with what would happen to a black man at TVA facility stealing a million in electricity. He'd be ought of there or dead within 24 hrs.

  27. Runt Says:

    Once again I'm reminded of this:

  28. Bitter Scribe Says:

    Hey, sometimes I spill my coffee, and sometimes cops spill bullets on unarmed people. We're all human.

  29. Robert Says:

    Paintedjaguar – "I don't want to see the value of acknowledging this as a racial issue." FTFY

  30. Karen Says:

    What do we tell our children? This teaches them that the police are not to be trusted, that they won't protect us, that they are the real bad guys. Don't call the police if you're scared; they will just as soon shoot you as look at you.

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  32. paintedjaguar Says:

    @Mo @Robert

    All right, you mooks, I give in. Even though it makes me sad and weary to to do so, I'll expand on my remark. I'll try not to use too many syllables. And please cut me some slack. See, I spent half my childhood in the Segregated South, so naturally I have no idea what discrimination looks like. I'm just not prepared for the rigors of millenial social justice.

    What do you want to accomplish? In spite of what everyone likes to think, there is actually no such thing as multi-tasking. Even computers just switch back and forth from one problem to another (very quickly). Actually getting results requires defining separate workflows, unless problem A is only a side-effect of problem B. Jumbling up your goals and methods makes that more difficult.

    Is police murder just a side-effect of racial discrimination? Well, if we can make racial death rates proportionate — if only 12 to 15 percent of the victims of police violence are black, say — will you feel that we've solved the problem of out of control police? If your answer is yes, then there's nothing else to talk about, except how I can manage to not live in the same country with people like you.

    Otherwise, there are two separate problems to solve (although practically, solving the police problem alone would disproportionately benefit minorities). Of course I'm assuming that you actually want to stop police murders. If all you want is to use them as ammunition for anti-racism, then keep on as you're going.

    Yes, I'm being snide. You guys earned it, congratulations.

  33. paintedjaguar Says:

    My main impression (possibly media driven) of BlackLivesMatter has been of some self agrandizing fools, but some of the activists associated with it have put together a program, Campaign Zero, that anyone who cares about these issues should have a look at, if they haven't already.

    http://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision