August 9, 2014—Ferguson, Missouri—Michael Brown—Eleven Bullets
After the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent protests F.B.I. Director James Comey asked his staff to tell him how many black people are shot and killed by the police every year:
I wanted to see trends. I wanted to see information. They couldn’t give it to me, and it wasn’t their fault. Demographic data regarding officer-involved shootings is not consistently reported to us through our Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Because reporting is voluntary, our data is incomplete and therefore, in the aggregate, unreliable.The FBI may not have exact figures but the deaths that are known are horrifying. If black lives matter the number of shooting deaths would be recorded.
Since Mr. Brown's death Americans have became aware that police officers in varying scenarios are indiscriminately killing black citizens. They know this because of dash-cam videos, citizens' camera phones and media reporting. Regrettably even when videos show "no cause" shootings, grand juries are reluctant to charge law enforcement when officers testify that they believed their lives were in danger.
For instance Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown (no video tape) persuaded the Justice Department and the Ferguson Grand Jury that he killed Mr. Brown because he was afraid that Mr. Brown was going to kill him. If Officer Wilson's testimony is truthful then why did Mr. Brown fight with the officer through the patrol car window without use of a weapon? This question coupled with Mr. Brown's death belies Officer Wilson's telling.
While pursuing Mr. Brown on foot Officer Wilson fired his weapon repeatedly, emptying the chamber of eleven bullets. Most of the shots entered the upper torso, the fatal shot Mr. Brown's brain. It is obvious from the bullet strikes that Officer Wilson intended to kill Mr. Brown for there were no shots fired to wound the suspect. A leg shot would have brought the suspect to the ground. For a review of the grand jury proceedings please read The Thirteenth Juror by Nelda Holder.
Michael Brown isn't the only case of black target practice across the country. Policemen in many cities have killed black residents under gruesome circumstances. Here are some examples:
November 29, 2012—Cleveland, Ohio—Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams—140 Bullets
Police shoot and kill Timothy Russell and his car passenger Malissa Williams. The reason given for stopping Mr. Russell: The failure of the driver to use a turn signal. Because a nearby patrolman thought he heard a gunshot [it was the Russell car backfiring], 62 patrol cars went in hot pursuit. When the Russell car was stopped, 13 policemen fired almost 140 rounds at the car. Certainly after their barrage Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams were dead but in a fit of passion or prejudice, police officer Michael Brelo threw himself on the hood of the car and covered the windshield with a spray of bullets from his Glock 17. Mr. Russell and Ms Williams were unarmed; each were shot more than twenty times. Some of the officers involved in the killing were fired but most not were punished for their behavior.
October 20, 2014—Chicago, Illinois—Laquan McDonald—16 Bullets
Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot and killed Laquan McDonald. The police became interested in Mr. McDonald because of reports saying that he was carrying a knife and had been breaking into vehicles. At least eight police cars were on the scene when McDonald was confronted. Officer Van Dyke fired sixteen bullets into Mr. McDonald's body fifteen of then while he was lying on the pavement. None of the other officers on the scene fired their weapons but did corroborate Van Dyke's statement that McDonald had threatened him. The dash-cam video released months after the shooting because of court order showed that Van Dyke and the other officers lied about the events. At no time did McDonald pose a threat to anyone. Immediately after the video release Officer Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder.
April 4, 2015—North Charleston, South Carolina—Walter Scott—8 bullets
Police Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder after shooting Walter Scott in the back. A passerby used his cell phone to film the altercation and shooting. The video showed that Mr. Scott posed no danger to Police Officer Slager wheras the police said that Mr. Scott had grabbed the officer's stun gun and had attempted to harm to him.