How Michael Brown’s death, two years ago, pushed #BlackLivesMatter into a movement

USA TODAY NETWORKJosh Hafner , USA TODAYPublished 7:50 p.m. ET Aug. 8, 2016 | Updated 12:28 a.m. ET Aug. 10, 2016


The Louisville chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement called for justice during a vigil and march following recent police shootings. Sam Upshaw Jr./The CJ

(Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

Since police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown two years ago Tuesday in Ferguson, Mo., the words “Black Lives Matter” have morphed from a public outcry into a national movement.

Through a decentralized collection of grass-roots activists and groups, Black Lives Matter protesters have rallied on the streets of cities around the nation where African Americans have been killed in police-involved shootings, including Baltimore, Minneapolis and Baton Rouge. The movement even made its presence felt in protests at July’s presidential conventions.

Activists who drive the Black Lives Matter movement and academics who study it say it all began with Brown’s death, when images of his body lying on the street of a northern St. Louis suburb and accounts of his killing spread widely through Twitter and sparked protests and media attention.

“If Mike wasn’t killed and people weren’t directly impacted, if we didn’t leave our homes, I don’t know where or what movement I would (have been in) two years ago,” said Johnetta Elzie, 27, a Ferguson protester who has become one the movement’s most prominent voices.

Without Brown’s death, Elzie said, “I probably wouldn’t be as involved as I am now.”

Demanding political change for black lives: Voices


Kwame Rose, 22, became an activist in Baltimore after a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Gray, died in police custody eight months after Brown’s death. Black people dying at police hands isn’t new, Rose said, but the recent incidents have received more widespread attention because of social media .

“Black people have been having these conversations in our living rooms,” Rose said. “But social media has invited our followers, and millions of them, into our living rooms to have this conversation with us, in a sense.”

 (Photo: Brown Family via AP)

#BlackLivesMatter, the now-iconic Twitter hashtag, first surfaced in 2013 after the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old. It accompanied a public expression of grief by Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza.

Use of #BlackLivesMatter had diminished by summer 2014, however, said Deen Freelon, an associate professor at American University who studies online political expression. In the months after of Brown’s death, the hashtag became more widely used among people sharing frustration about not only Brown’s death, but also other incidents around the country.

Freelon co-authored a study, Beyond the Hashtags, that examined 40 million tweets related to Ferguson and Black Lives Matter. It determined that Brown’s killing, paired with the protests and media attention that followed, propelled Black Lives Matter from a expression into a national movement.

A handful of Twitter users played key roles in driving awareness of Brown’s death on Aug. 9, 2014, the study determined. First, St. Louis rapper Tef Poe tweeted a photo of Brown’s body lying in the street that was retweeted more than 5,000 times.

Then activists Michael Skolnik, a New York-based entrepreneur, and Shaun King, a writer for New York Daily News, tweeted streams of details, including that Brown was unarmed and that police had left his body in the street for hours. Then came the national media, which leaned on social media to source on-the-ground reports and photos.

What really bolstered the movement, Freelon said, were the protests and police response in the days after the Ferguson incident. By Aug. 12, activists hit the streets. Police responded with armored vehicles, military-grade equipment and what critics considered disproportionate force. Images spread online of officers firing tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds.

“We saw no examples of highly-retweeted eyewitness accounts supporting the police response,” the study concluded.

Why Black Lives Matter doesn’t focus on ‘black-on-black’ crime


Multiple hashtags found widespread use after Brown’s killing, including #HandsUpDontShoot and #NoJusticeNoPeace, driving demonstrators into the streets. The simple hashtag #Ferguson was the most used in the study’s data. But #BlackLivesMatter found favor during an Aug. 30 protest march in Ferguson, the study found, when several on-the-ground Twitter users used it and found themselves retweeted widely.

“I didn’t know it would be a movement for a few months at least,” said Elzie, who was among the earliest demonstrators who began protesting on Aug. 9. But she saw first-hand how online interactions could manifest into physical action.

Elzie recalls “just meeting people literally off Twitter who wanted to help and didn’t know where to go, just making connections with strangers who all saw what happened and felt inclined to do something.”

The hashtag gained considerable prominence on Nov. 24, the day a grand jury declined to charge Wilson in Brown’s death. Before that date, #BlackLivesMatter had appeared in 2,309 tweets. Its tweet total rocketed to 103,319 that day, the study found. Tweets and retweets pushed #BlackLivesMatter in front of a diverse audience in the months after Ferguson.

Within two weeks, another grand jury declined to indict a New York City police officer who had fatally choked Eric Garner, another unarmed black man, earlier that year. More protests and media attention followed, pushing the phrase “Black Lives Matter” further into the public consciousness.

The lack of an indictment against Wilson, Freelon notes, was the tipping point. Twitter activity around the movement never fell to its former levels and a higher baseline emerged.

Black Lives Matter had started to take root both online and off. Over time, it became so recognized that competing hashtags from critics riffed on its format, sparking #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter.

 (Photo: Noah Berger, AP)

Now, Black Lives Matter serves as a banner under which multiple groups, individuals and protests aim to address police brutality. Elzie joined other activists to form Campaign Zero, a 10-point policy plan that calls for police use of body cameras among other proposals. Last week, a coalition called the Movement for Black Lives released an agenda with 40 recommendations for policing and criminal justice reforms.

To Freelon, the policy proposals show that a movement “that has a very substantial online component can also have serious goals.”

But had Wilson never opened fire on Brown two years ago, had Brown not died about 150 feet from Wilson’s vehicle, had images of Wilson standing over Brown’s corpse not gone viral online, Freelon believes Black Lives Matter would have still happened.

“I think this was probably inevitable, the movement,” Freelon said. “Because the movement tries to communicate that these are not isolated incidents. Sooner or later, you would have seen something like this.”

Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner

Black Lives Matter: A primer on what it is and what it stands for




Double Standard

From Donna Sullivan:

Imagine if you will, we are back in 2008. President Obama has won the election. Now imagine, word has spread that he has Russian ties and is very friendly with Putin. Imagine that he owes millions to Russian crime bosses, imagine that his businesses have filed bankruptcy many times over. Now imagine that word is out that the Russians helped Obama get elected by helping to thwart the efforts of the Republican candidate. Imagine, that President Obama had made fun of a disabled reporter, allegedly sexually assaulted several women, did not pay his hired help, and refused to release his tax reports or any kind of financial statements. Imagine all of this.

What do you think the actions of the GOP would have been back in 2008 if that had been the case? We know that McConnell would have gone crazy and shut down the government, postponed the Inauguration and brought him up on federal charges. Investigations would have erupted from every corner of the GOP.

So how is it that this man who is going to take the oath of office in less than two weeks, is going untouched by any politician?? Why is this man not answering to a committee as to his ties to Russia and so called Russian crime bosses allegedly owing them millions. How is it that he does not have to answer regarding his conduct over the last several months that was so unbecoming for a candidate running for the highest office in the land?? Has the GOP lost sight of what the main purpose of the government is? Have they become so corrupt that they can be bought to look the other way. Have they become so arrogant that they think we the people will not hold them accountable at some point for their actions?

When did the GOP lose sight of what governing is all about. When did the GOP become so obsessed with undermining anything the Democrats try to do that is right for the people. Have they become so heartless that all they care about is how much money they can put in their pockets and that of their friends? More importantly, why are the Democrats seriously not calling for a REAL investigation into Trump and his ties to Russia. Why is there no mention of everything he has done throughout the campaign?? Why has nothing been done to stop him from putting family members in key positions when the law states you cannot use family members including inlaws. Why are we letting him rewrite the Constitution basically to suit his needs??? The biggest question of all is this. WHY ARE POLITICIANS, ESPECIALLY THE GOP SO AFRAID OF DONALD TRUMP TO THE POINT OF NOT HOLDING HIM ACCOUNTABLE AND STANDING UP TO HIS NARCISSISTIC WAYS??

There comes a point in time when enough is enough and Trump is not only incompetent, he is trying to put dangerous people in key cabinet positions that will destroy this country and middle class America. When was the last time a sitting President of this country has ever personally owed Russia and many other countries millions of dollars?? Where does that put this country when it comes time for those particular countries to cash in their IOU??? Are they going to hold this country hostage until Trump pays them back and how is that going to effect the REAL taxpayers of this country.

With the people he is trying to put in his cabinet, such as boys from G&S, the sure signs are there for them to bankrupt America and then what??? We are heading for a recession of the kind we have not seen since 1929 and the GOP just does not care. We are on dangerous ground right now because so many people are so unhappy about this. Not because Hillary lost; but because no one is holding this man accountable for anything and that sets a very very dangerous precedent which puts this country in a very dangerous position. God help us all and God save the USA.

Farewell, AMERICA 

​I don’t think you understand us right now.
I think you think this is about politics. 
I think you believe this is all just sour grapes; the crocodile tears of the losing locker room with the scoreboard going against us at the buzzer. YOU ARE WRONG. ITS A DEATH. 
America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. America chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.
This is NOT about losing an election. This isn’t about winning a contest. This is about two very different ways of seeing the world.
Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of INCLUSION and connection and interdependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high. 
Most Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation – and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed, even if they don’t agree. 
They had other choices in a GOP nominee. They picked Trump, who openly stood before us and told the nation this was what he would do as president AND THEY VOTED FOR HIM. 
They have aligned with the wall-builder and the professed p*ssy-grabber, and they have co-signed his body of work, regardless of the reasons they give for their vote:
– Every horrible thing Donald Trump ever said about women or Muslims or people of color has now been validated and endorsed. 
– Every profanity-laced press conference and every call to bully protestors and every ignorant diatribe has been endorsed. 
– Every piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation Mike Pence has championed has been signed-off on.
– Half of our country has declared these things acceptable, and now soon to be implemented in America. 
If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? 
Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? 
This is the disconnect and the source of our grief today. It isn’t a political defeat that we are lamenting, IT’S A DEFEAT FOR HUMANITY!
We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.
– Those who have always felt vulnerable are now left more so. 
– Those whose voices have been silenced will be further quieted. 
– Those who always felt marginalized will be pushed further to the periphery. 
– Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages.
Those things have essentially been campaign promises of Donald Trump, and so many of our fellow citizens have said this is what they want too.  
This has never been about politics.
This is not about one candidate over the other.
It’s not about one’s ideas over another’s.
It is not blue vs. red.
It’s not her emails vs. his bad language.
It’s not her dishonesty vs. his indecency.
It’s about overt racism and hostility toward minorities.
It’s about religion being weaponized and one religion being forced on everyone or you’re villainized as evil. 
It’s about crassness and vulgarity and disregard for women.
It’s about a barricaded, militarized, bully nation who invades other countries to steal their natural resources & create false wars.
It’s about an unapologetic, open-faced ugliness.
And it is not only that these things have been ratified by our nation that grieve us; all this hatred, fear, racism, bigotry, and intolerance – it’s knowing that these things have been amen-ed by our half of this country. 
Knowing our neighbors, our families, our friends, those we work with and worship alongside, our lifelong childhood friends and schoolmates feel the same way. That is the most horrific thing of all. We now know that people we love and care deeply about, feels the same way Trump does. 
It feels like living in enemy territory being here now, and there’s no way around that. We wake up today in a home we no longer recognize. We are grieving the loss of a place we used to love but no longer do. This may be America today but it is not the America we believe in or recognize or want.
This is not about a difference of political opinion, as that’s far too small to mourn over. It’s about a fundamental difference in how we view the worth of all people – not just those who look or talk or think or vote the way we do.
Grief always laments what might have been, the future we were robbed of, the tomorrow that we won’t get to see, and that is what we walk through today. As a nation we had an opportunity to affirm the beauty of our diversity this day, to choose ideas over sound bytes, to let everyone know they had a place at the table, to be the beacon of goodness and decency we imagine that we are—and we said no.
And this is why we grieve.

Black Lives Matter

I look foward to the day when this list isn’t needed. This is by no means comprehensive and that is a greater tragedy.

From Ferguson to Baton Rouge: Deaths of black men and women at the hands of police

Amadou Diallo. Manuel Loggins Jr. Ronald Madison. Kendra James. Sean Bell. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Alton Sterling.

Each was a black man or woman who died at the hands of police.

Their names represent only a handful of such cases since 1999, when Diallo, an unarmed man standing in a New York City doorway, was gunned down by officers who erroneously thought he had a gun.

The death of Brown, who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, 2014, resulted in nationwide protests against what civil rights advocates say is law enforcement’s tendency to be overly aggressive when dealing with black men. The Black Lives Matter movement evolved from a social media hashtag into a national protest against police brutality.

The shooting deaths of two black men in the past week by police officers are the latest in a spate of cases that have made headlines nationwide.

Justice Department to investigate Alton Sterling’s killing by police in Louisiana »

A Minnesota officer fatally shot a man — identified by relatives as 32-year-old Philando Castile — while he was in a car with a woman and a child in Falcon Heights, a St. Paul suburb. The aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video, which shows a woman in a vehicle with a man whose shirt appears to be soaked in blood telling the camera, “Police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason.”

A day earlier, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed during a confrontation with two police officers outside a Baton Rouge, La., convenience store where he was selling music and movies on discs. Cellphone video of the shooting posted online by a community activist set off angry protests.

There is no federal database that tracks the number of people of any race killed by police. Some individuals and groups have compiled their own databases, such as The Root and Hiphopandpolitics.com, using information from media and law enforcement reports.

Here is a look at some of the cases involving black men and women who died following police encounters.

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2006 | 2005 | 2003 | 1999


Akiel Denkins, 24

A North Carolina prosecutor concluded that a white officer acted in self-defense when he shot a black man in Raleigh. Police have said Denkins pulled out a gun and reached for Officer D.C. Twiddy’s weapon before the officer shot and killed him earlier this year. Twiddy was trying to arrest Denkins in late February 2016 after he failed to appear in court on felony charges related to selling cocaine.

Gregory Gunn, 58

Montgomery, Ala., police officer Aaron Smith has been charged with murder in the February shooting death of Gunn. Smith shot Gunn, who was unarmed, in the early hours of Feb. 25, steps away from the man’s home.

According to a Montgomery police statement, Smith “approached a suspicious person and a struggle ensued.” Tyrone C. Means, the Gunn family’s attorney, said he had not been told what the suspicious activity was. Witnesses reported that Gunn was knocking on the window of a neighbor’s house, pleading for help.

Rep. Alvin Holmes, whose district is in Montgomery, drafted a letter with Means to send to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch. They requested that the Justice Department assign an investigator to conduct a full inquiry.


In this July 29, 2015, file photo, photos of Samuel DuBose hang on a pole at a memorial near where he was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer.
In this July 29, 2015, file photo, photos of Samuel DuBose hang on a pole at a memorial near where he was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer. (Tom Uhlman / AP)

Samuel DuBose, 43

Ray Tensing, then a University of Cincinnati police officer, was indicted in July 2015 on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of DuBose, who was unarmed when he was pulled over for a traffic stop.

Tensing pulled over DuBose near campus for a missing license plate. His attorney said Tensing feared being dragged under the car as DuBose tried to drive away. The shooting was captured on video by Tensing’s body camera and depicts DuBose repeatedly being asked for his driver’s license. After DuBose refuses to produce it and get out of the car, a gunshot is heard.

Tensing, who was fired from the department, was released from jail after posting 10% of $1-million bond. The county prosecutor called the shooting a “senseless act.” Tensing is scheduled to face a jury starting Oct. 24.

Local filmmaker Mike Costanza took this photo of Brendon Glenn on April 30, 2015, five days before he was shot by the LAPD.
Local filmmaker Mike Costanza took this photo of Brendon Glenn on April 30, 2015, five days before he was shot by the LAPD. (Mike Costanza)

Brendon Glenn, 29

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck in January recommended criminal charges be brought against Officer Clifford Proctor, who fatally shot an unarmed black man in the back.

Proctor told investigators he saw Glenn’s hand on his partner’s holster. But an LAPD report that drew upon security footage from a nearby bar in Venice found Glenn’s hand was nowhere near the holster.

The shooting in May 2015 sparked angry protests. It was the first time Beck recommended charges against an officer in a shooting. Investigators concluded that Glenn was on his stomach trying to push himself up when Proctor shot him.

Freddie Gray in an undated photo.
Freddie Gray in an undated photo. (Baltimore Sun)

Freddie Gray, 25

Six Baltimore police officers faced charges ranging from misconduct to second-degree murder in the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray.

Gray died when his neck was broken in the back of a police transport van. He had been restrained with handcuffs and leg irons, but not a seat belt. The death set off several days of rioting in Baltimore.

The involuntary manslaughter trial of the first of those charged, Officer William Porter, ended in December in a hung jury. A judge acquitted two other officers in bench trials. The city of Baltimore paid Gray’s family $6.4 million as a settlement for civil claims.

Natasha McKenna, 37

McKenna died after being shocked four times with a stun gun while her hands were cuffed and her legs shackled. McKenna, who suffered from mental illness, was in custody in the Fairfax County, Va., jail on Feb. 3, 2015, when a deputy used the stun gun on her. She died Feb. 8.

Barbara Scott, cousin of Walter Scott, holds up a picture of Scott on her cellphone in North Charleston, S.C., on April 8, 2015.
Barbara Scott, cousin of Walter Scott, holds up a picture of Scott on her cellphone in North Charleston, S.C., on April 8, 2015. (Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images)

Walter Scott, 50

Michael Slager faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of murder in the shooting death of Scott, who was running away on foot from a traffic stop in North Charleston, S.C., in April 2015. Scott was unarmed.

The shooting was captured on cellphone video by a passerby. Slager fired eight times at Scott before he was killed, reigniting the debate over how blacks are treated by law enforcement officers.

Slager, 34, was fired by the North Charleston Police Department and stands trial in October. Previously held in solitary confinement, he has been free since January, when he was released on $500,000 bail and put under house arrest. Last fall, North Charleston approved a $6.5-million civil settlement with Scott’s family.

Christian Taylor was killed during a suspected burglary in Texas.
Christian Taylor was killed during a suspected burglary in Texas. (Angelo State University via AP)

Christian Taylor, 19

An unarmed black Angelo State University football player was shot and killed during a suspected burglary at an Arlington, Texas, car dealership last August. Taylor was shot after Arlington Police officer Brad Miller was called to the dealership.

Police Chief Will Johnson said Miller pursued Taylor without telling his supervising officer. Miller was fired from the department, but a grand jury decided to take no action against the officer. An autopsy determined Taylor had likely used a synthetic psychedelic drug and marijuana before the deadly confrontation.


Michael Brown Sr. holds up a photo of himself, at right, his son, Michael Brown, top left, and a young child.
Michael Brown Sr. holds up a photo of himself, at right, his son, Michael Brown, top left, and a young child. (Jeff Roberson / AP)

Michael Brown Jr., 18

Brown, a black teenager, was gunned down by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., after stealing cigarillos from a convenience store. The shooting resulted in weeks of riots and protests in Ferguson and around the country while drawing attention to the relationship between African Americans and law enforcement in the U.S.

On Aug. 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson responded to a reported robbery and encountered Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson walking down the middle of the road. Wilson blocked the two with his police car, after which a struggle ensued through the window. Wilson fired his gun and followed Brown after he fled. When Brown stopped to face the officer, Wilson fired several shots at his front, killing him.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced Nov. 24, 2014, that a grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson, and the Department of Justice cleared Wilson of civil rights violations in March 2015. Officials found evidence that Wilson shot Brown in self-defense.

At the corner of 65th Street and Broadway in South Los Angeles, the site of the LAPD's fatal shooting of Ezell Ford is memorialized on a wall.
At the corner of 65th Street and Broadway in South Los Angeles, the site of the LAPD’s fatal shooting of Ezell Ford is memorialized on a wall. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Ezell Ford, 25

Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old black man, was shot after two Los Angeles Police Department officers stopped him on a sidewalk in South L.A. The shooting came only days after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and set off a series of protests throughout L.A. County.

On Aug. 11, 2014, two gang unit officers conducted an investigative stop after seeing Ford on 65th Street. Police say that when the officials got out of their vehicle and walked toward Ford, he tried to attack the lead officer. After a struggle, the lead officer’s partner shot Ford, who later died at a hospital.

Community members questioned the police account, saying Ford was mentally ill and was complying with officers before he was shot. In June 2015, the L.A. Police Commission faulted Officer Sharlton Wampler and his partner, Antonio Villegas, for how they approached Ford in the moments that led to the shooting.

Eric Garner's funeral was held at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Eric Garner’s funeral was held at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Julia Xanthos / New York Daily News)

Eric Garner, 43

Garner died July 17, 2014, after a police officer in Staten Island, N.Y., placed him in an illegal chokehold during an encounter on the sidewalk, where police said Garner was selling illegal cigarettes. A bystander shot video showing Garner’s final moments, and it quickly fueled major protests and demands that the officers involved face criminal charges.

The city’s medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide because of the compression of his neck and chest. Two officers faced an internal investigation in connection with Garner’s death: The one who applied the chokehold was put on modified duty, meaning he was stripped of his gun and badge, while a police sergeant was stripped of her gun and badge and charged internally with failure to supervise.

Neither has been charged with a crime, and police say Garner’s poor health and his refusal to cooperate with officers contributed to his death. Police Commissioner William J. Bratton ordered a review of police training techniques in the wake of Garner’s death.

Akai Gurley, 28

Peter Liang, a rookie New York City police officer, was convicted Feb. 11 of manslaughter in the death of Gurley.

Liang was patrolling a public housing high-rise with his gun drawn in 2014 when he fired and a bullet ricocheted off a wall, hitting Gurley. Liang said he had been holding his weapon safely when a sound jarred him and he accidentally fired.

In April, a judge reduced the conviction to negligent homicide and sentenced Liang to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service.

Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times in Chicago.
Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times in Chicago. (TNS)

Laquan McDonald, 17

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager McDonald. Van Dyke was charged in November on the same day that the city, on the orders of a judge, released the explosive dash-cam video showing McDonald being shot 16 times.

On the night of the shooting, Van Dyke and his partner trailed McDonald for nearly half a mile, from a trucking yard where he was said to have been breaking into vehicles. The officers radioed for a Taser in order to apprehend McDonald, who they said was carrying a knife in the middle of the road. According to the video, the officers arrived 10 minutes after the first call and, within 21 seconds, Van Dyke had emptied his 16-round handgun.

Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. The video has prompted local and federal investigations into both the shooting and the police department.

Tamir Rice, seen in this undated photo, was 12 when police shot him.
Tamir Rice, seen in this undated photo, was 12 when police shot him. (Richardson & Kucharski Co., L.P. via AP)

Tamir Rice, 12

Rice was shot and killed in a park in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2014.

Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback responded to a call about a black male sitting on a swing and pointing a gun at people in a city park. The caller expressed doubts about the gun’s authenticity and said the male was probably a juvenile, but that information wasn’t relayed to the responding officers. Within two seconds of arriving at the scene, Loehmann fired two shots, one hitting Rice in the torso.

Rice’s weapon later was found to be a black toy gun. In December 2015, a grand jury declined to indict Loehmann or Garmback.

Yvette Smith, 47

Smith, a mother of two, was fatally shot on the front porch of her home on Feb. 16, 2014, by a deputy in Bastrop County, Texas. The sheriff’s office first said Smith was armed. Later, it retracted that statement.


Jamar Clark was shot and killed in 2013 by Minneapolis police.
Jamar Clark was shot and killed in 2013 by Minneapolis police. (Javille Burns via AP)

Jamar Clark, 24

The November 2013 shooting death of Clark sparked weeks of protests in Minneapolis. Authorities say Clark was killed during a struggle with police.

The officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were trying to arrest Clark when he was shot once in the head on Nov. 15. He died a day later.

A key issue in the investigations was whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. The federal and state probes came to the same conclusion: Clark was not. Hennepin County Atty. Mike Freeman cleared Ringgenberg and Schwarze of charges March 30, 2014, saying Clark was struggling for an officer’s gun when he was shot.

In June, Minnesota U.S. Atty. Andrew Luger declined to file civil rights charges against Ringgenberg and Schwarze, citing insufficient evidence.


Rekia Boyd, 22

Boyd was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police detective on March 21, 2012, as she stood in an alley with a group of friends. A man in the group exchanged words with the detective, who fired five shots into the alley, hitting Boyd in the back of her head. No weapon was found in the alley.

Shereese Francis, 29

Francis, a mentally ill woman who had gone off her medication, died during a struggle with police who had been called to her home in Queens, N.Y., on March 15, 2012. Francis, who was unarmed, died of suffocation as officers tried to handcuff her.

Constance Malcolm, right, holds a photo of her son, Ramarley Graham, who was shot and killed by police.
Constance Malcolm, right, holds a photo of her son, Ramarley Graham, who was shot and killed by police. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Ramarley Graham, 18

Graham was a teenager when police entered his Bronx apartment without a warrant and shot him inside a bathroom on Feb. 2, 2012. Surveillance videos from the police pursuit showed Graham walking into the building, then police officers going to the building’s door and kicking it in.

They then ran upstairs to Graham’s apartment. One shot Graham in the chest. The officer said he thought Graham was armed, based on conversations he said heard on his police radio. A bag of marijuana was found near Graham, but no weapon.

A judge threw out a manslaughter indictment on a technicality against the officer who shot Graham. A second grand jury failed to indict the officer, saying there was insufficient evidence to charge him. Graham’s family and local lawmakers called for the Justice Department to investigate. New York City in January 2015 agreed to pay $3.9 million to Graham’s family.

U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., seen in an undated photo, was shot and killed by an Orange County sheriff's deputy in front of his children.
U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., seen in an undated photo, was shot and killed by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy in front of his children. (U.S. Marine Corps.)

Manuel Loggins Jr., 31

Loggins was a Marine sergeant and father of three when he was killed by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy on Feb. 7, 2012. The deputy approached Loggins after he crashed through a gate of San Clemente High School about 4:40 a.m. with two of his daughters inside his SUV.

According to the sheriff’s department, Loggins left the vehicle, then returned to it, ignored orders to show his hands and displayed a “mean” expression. The sheriff’s deputy, who said he feared for the girls’ safety, fired three shots through the window, killing Loggins as his daughters, 9 and 14, watched.

The deputy was not charged. Loggins’ family sued and settled for $4.4 million in May 2013.


In this undated family photo, Sean Bell and his fiancee, Nicole Paultre, pose with their daughter.
In this undated family photo, Sean Bell and his fiancee, Nicole Paultre, pose with their daughter. (The Daily News via AP)

Sean Bell, 23

Bell was scheduled to be married the morning after his fatal encounter with New York City police officers on Nov. 25, 2006. Bell was behind the wheel of a car outside a Queens strip club, where his bachelor party had been held. Police, including plainclothes officers who had been in the club, said they approached Bell amid concerns that someone in his party had a gun.

Officers opened fire, saying Bell had rammed his car into one of them. They said they had identified themselves as officers and showed their badges, an account disputed by some witnesses in a subsequent trial. Bell was shot in the neck and torso and died. Two friends in his car were shot but survived.

Three police officers were indicted on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment. They were acquitted in 2008, but all were fired or forced to resign after the police department concluded they had acted improperly. A lawsuit filed by the victims’ families was settled for $7 million.


Ronald Madison, 40

Madison was one of two victims of a New Orleans police shooting on the Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina caused flooding across the city. The mentally disabled man was unarmed when he was shot in the back on Sept. 4, 2005. Madison and James Brissette, 17, were killed; four other people, all members of the same family, were wounded.

Prosecutors said the group was out walking in search of food and supplies in the wake of the hurricane. Authorities said a group of police opened fire on the unarmed individuals and tried to cover up what they had done by claiming they had been shot at.

Five former New Orleans police officers pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in connection with the cover-up. In April, they pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for less prison time — five years after their original conviction. Another five were convicted of civil rights violations and sentenced in 2012 to terms ranging from six to 65 years in prison.


Kendra James was shot in the head by a police officer in Portland, Ore.
Kendra James was shot in the head by a police officer in Portland, Ore. (Portland Police Bureau)

Kendra James, 21

James was shot in the head by a police officer in Portland, Ore., on May 5, 2003, after the car in which she was a passenger was pulled over.

A police officer said he fired in self-defense during a struggle with James, who moved into the driver’s seat after the driver was arrested. James was unarmed.


Amadou Diallo is seen in an undated photo.
Amadou Diallo is seen in an undated photo. (AP)

Amadou Diallo, 22

Diallo was an immigrant from the west African nation of Guinea when he was hit with 19 bullets fired by four New York City police officers. It was before dawn on Feb. 4, 1999.

The officers, none in uniform, thought Diallo fit the description of a man wanted for a series of rapes. They said they identified themselves as police as they approached Diallo. When Diallo reached into a pocket to pull out his wallet, they opened fire, saying they feared he was reaching for a gun. Diallo was unarmed.

A grand jury indicted the officers on charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment. A jury acquitted all of them. Diallo’s family sued the city and settled for $3 million.

LaTanya Haggerty was shot after police thought she had a gun. She was holding her cellphone.
LaTanya Haggerty was shot after police thought she had a gun. She was holding her cellphone. (Heather Stone / Chicago Tribune)

LaTanya Haggerty, 26

Haggerty was a passenger in a car pulled over by Chicago police on June 4, 1999.

An officer shot Haggerty, thinking she was holding a gun, but Haggerty, who was talking on her cellphone, was unarmed.

Margaret LaVerne Mitchell, a homeless woman, was shot to death by police in Los Angeles.
Margaret LaVerne Mitchell, a homeless woman, was shot to death by police in Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Margaret LaVerne Mitchell, 54

Mitchell, who suffered from mental illness, was shot to death on May 21, 1999, in Los Angeles.

The homeless woman reportedly lunged at an officer with a screwdriver after two police officers stopped her while she pushed a shopping cart on La Brea Avenue. Some witnesses disputed statements that Mitchell lunged at one of the officers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


3:45 p.m.: Updated to include information on the LAPD shooting death of Ezell Ford.

This article was originally published at 10:49 a.m.

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