NYC Mesh group creates public database of police violence using footage from traffic cameras

The police killing of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25 sparked outrage that has seen protests across the world denouncing police brutality, demanding change, and the end of systemic racism.

Floyd’s death, unfortunately, is just one of a slew of police killings upon black men and women, including those who were unarmed and just going about their daily lives.

In some cases body cameras were turned off, police departments have refused to share footage, and officers have yet to be criminally charged.

Below are some of the black men and women who have died by the hands of police in 2020:

  • Rayshard Brooks, 27 years old, June 12, Atlanta, Georgia

On June 12 Rayshard Brooks, a black man, was shot dead in a confrontation with Atlanta police officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Bronsan.

Officers were called to the scene following reports of a man sleeping in his vehicle at a Wendy’s parking lot. Cops awoke him and had him complete a sobriety test, which he failed.

When trying to handcuff him Brooks grabbed one of the officera’s Taser and ran from the officers and pointed the stun gun at one of them. Officer Rolfe then shot Brooks twice in the back and he died at a hospital. His death has been ruled a homicide

Neither Rolfe nor Bronson has been charged in the incident.

Rolfe has been fired and Brosnan placed on administrative leave. Police Chief Erika Shields resigned from her post less than 24 hours after the shooting.

  • David McAtee, 53 years old, June 1, Louisville, Kentucky

David McAtee ran a popular BBQ joint in Louisville called Yaya’s BBQ Shack. He was fatally shot by police and the Kentucky National Guard as they dispersed a large crowd on June 1 following reports of a group of demonstrators in the area – though it wasn’t confirmed if that group was a part of protests.

Witnesses said McAtee and his friends and family were separate from the group of protesters and were at a weekly neighborhood party where McAtee served food.

According to officials, the police and soldiers were fired upon and two Louisville cops and two National Guardsmen returned fire. McAtee was killed by a shot fired from a guardsmen.

Louisville police chief Steve Conrad was fired after it was revealed that the body cams of the police involved in the shooting had been deactivated.

Officer Katie Crews, a white woman, was involved in the shooting and had mocked a different protester on Facebook earlier the day of the shooting, was placed on administrative assignment following the shooting. The other officer in the shooting was Austin Allen.

  • Tony McDade, 38 years old, May 27, Tallahassee Florida

Tony McDade, a black trans man, was shot dead in Florida just two days after the killing of George Floyd.

He was killed after being approached by police as a suspect in a stabbing.

According to the Tallahassee Police Department, McDade was in possession of a handgun and a bloody knife that was found at the scene.

But videos shared on social media by witnesses appear to tell another story.

According to Rolling Stone, one witness said on Facebook: ‘They said “Stop moving, n****r,” and then they shot him after he stopped moving.’

Witness, Clifford Butler, told WFSU: ‘I never heard, “Get down, freeze, I’m an officer.” I never heard nothing. I just heard gunshots.’

The identity of the officer who shot McDade has not been released due to Marsy’s Law. The officer has been placed on administrative leave.

Marsy’s Law classifies anyone who’s allegedly had their life threatened as victims — including police officers — and ensures their right to privacy. Yet witnesses have said the officer in question was white. A press release from the TPD states that he has been placed on administrative leave.

  • George Floyd, 46 years old, May 25, Minneapolis, Minnesota

On Memorial Day George Floyd was arrested by a group of officers for allegedly using a fake $20 bill at a deli.

He was pinned to the ground by white police officer Derek Chauvin, who dug his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for an excruciating eight minutes and 46 minutes in a horrific act caught on camera.

In the video Floyd is heard gasping ‘I Can’t Breathe’ – words that would be echoed across the globe to decry his violent death.

All the while, cops Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng helped restrain Floyd as Tou Thao stood nearby.

The video sent shockwaves across the country and sparked massive protests denouncing police brutality against black people and demanded justice.

All four officers were fired after the incident.

Chauvin was charged with a new, more serious count of second-degree murder on June 3. He had previously been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

He was arrested on May 29 and is being held at Minnesota Department of Corrections. His bail sits at $1million.

He was the subject of at least 18 prior complaints and only two were ‘closed with discipline’.

On Wednesday June 3 the three other officers involved were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

On Wednesday June 10 Thomas Lane was released from Hennepin County Jail after posting bail. The bail for him and the other officers was set at $1million unconditional or $750,000 with conditions.

He had been on the police force for four days when Floyd died.

  • Dion Johnson, 28 years old, May 25, Phoenix, Arizona

On May 25 a Phoenix police trooper approached a vehicle and found Dion Johnson, 28, sleeping behind the wheel with beer and a gun visible in the car.

The details of the circumstances around Johnson’s death are murky as troopers at the scene were not equipped with body cameras or dash cameras.

Cops said that the trooper approached Johnson and a struggle between the two ensued. The trooper then fired their weapon and struck Johnson, claiming they feared they’d be pushed into oncoming traffic, as per 12News.

Johnson was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

The trooper involved is on paid administrative leave.

  • Maurice Gordon Jr, 28 years old, May 23, New Jersey

Maurice Gordon, 28, was fatally shot by a white officer following a traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.

Gordon was shot by a New Jersey State Police trooper four times following a struggle with the officer, just two days before the death of George Floyd.

His car was pulled over for driving 101mph and while sitting in the back of a police cruiser, he tried to flee.

Gordon then allegedly tried to get in the driver’s seat of the patrol car and in the confrontation with police was shot multiple times. Damcam video of the traffic stop shows him being shot and killed by the trooper.

The trooper involved in the case was Sgt. Randall Wetzel. Wetzel remains on administrative leave with pay.

An investigation is underway. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that a grand jury would review the case to consider possible criminal charges.

Gordon had moved to the US from Jamaica to attend college and work.

  • Robert Johnson Jr, 29 years old, May 16, Essex, Maryland

Robert Johnson Jr was fatally shot on May 16 while celebrating his cousin’s 15th birthday party in Essex.

He dented a neighbor’s vehicle while trying to park and told the man who owned the car that he’d pay for repairs, but the discussion escalated into an argument. The neighbor called police reporting that Johnson was armed.

The department’s initial release on the incident stated ‘the first arriving officer was confronted with an armed suspect and discharged his weapon.’

Johnson died after he was taken to the hospital.

The department later said that when the officer approached Johnson’s car he exited his vehicle and his ‘gun fell to the ground in plain view of the officer’.

Baltimore County Police say they recovered a gun from the scene and have body camera footage of the confrontation, which the department has declined to release.

‘He wasn’t even a threat, he dropped the gun. Y’all didn’t go by the protocol and the right procedures. They just got out of their car and started shooting,’ Johnson’s brother said following his death.

The officer in the shooting was identified solely by his surname as Police Officer First Class Knight, a 24-year-old veteran of the force with no prior offenses. He was placed on administrative leave.

  • Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed, 21 years old, May 6, Indianapolis, Indiana

Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed was shot and killed by officers on May 6 during a high speed chase with police that was streamed on his Facebook live in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Officers saw someone driving recklessly on Interstate 65 speeding at nearly 90mph. Police pursued but lost sight of the vehicle. The car was later spotted in a city street and officers chased Reed on foot before cops said Reed and the officer exchanged gunfire.

According to police, there was an exchange of gunfire between Reed and an officer after the officer’s use of a stun gun was ‘ineffective’. However, Reed’s family and their attorneys maintain that Reed did not fire a gun.

The officer who shot Reed was identified on June 10 as Dejoure Mercer, who had been with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police for four years.

A special prosecutor is investigating Reed’s death.

  • Shaun Fuhr, 24 years old, April 29, Seattle, Washington

Shaun Fuhr was fatally shot by police on April 29, suffering a gunshot wound to the head.

Police responded to a call by a woman who reported that her boyfriend, who is the father of her one-year-old daughter, had beat her, fired a gun at her, and taken their daughter at gunpoint and fled.

Seattle police body camera footage showed several officers chasing a man on foot as he ran through a small parking lot and confront him. He was holding the child when he was shot and an officer ran to pick up the child.

NAACP officials in Seattle argued that deadly force was not necessary in the confrontation and from the video Fuhr did not appear to display a weapon.

Seattle police SWAT Office Noah Zech, 35, was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting.

The shooting is being investigated by its own force investigation team and the King County Sheriff’s office.

  • Breonna Taylor, 26 years old, March 13, Louisville, Kentucky

Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police inside her home in the early hours of March 13 by officers conducting a ‘no-knock- warrant.

The warrant was a part of a drug probe, but the suspect had already been in custody.

Officers entered the apartment and were fired upon by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who believed a robbery was in progress. Police returned fire, striking Taylor eight times, who had been sleeping in bed moments before.

On June 11 no-knock search warrants were banned in Louisville following a unanimous vote of the Metro Council.

Following the council’s vote, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer vowed to sign Breonna’s law ‘as soon as ‘it hits his desk’.

Det. Joshua Jaynes, the officer who applied for the ‘no-knock’ search warrant that led to Breonna Taylor’s death, is now on administrative reassignment.

The three officers in the case – Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove – have not been charged in the shooting and have been placed on administrative leave.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer fired embattled Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad on June 1 after learning that officers behind fatal shooting of popular barbecue restaurant David McAtee did not have their body cameras on, even though they were mandated to following Taylor’s death

  • Manuel Ellis, 33 years old, March 3, Tacoma, Washington

Manuel Ellis is a black man who died while being restrained by Tacoma police officers for allegedly ‘trying to open car doors of occupied vehicles’.

Cops said they approached Ellis and an ‘altercation ensued’ and Ellis had to be physically restrained.

Officers said they called for medical aid when they said Ellis needed help but he died at the seen.

In jarring audio from the 911 call Ellis is heard exclaiming, ‘I can’t breathe’ as an officer is heard asking for hobbles to strap down Ellis’ legs.

Video of his arrest shows Tacoma officers striking down a black man and pinning him to the ground.

An autopsy shows he died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia caused by physical restraint. Hypoxia is a condition in which the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

Officers Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, Masyih Ford and Timothy Rankine, who are now on administrative leave following the incident. Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards has called for them to be fired. The officers involved were also not wearing their bodycams, by Tacoma Police Department.

Masyih Ford (left) and Timothy Rankine (right), are two of the four officers involved. They were not wearing body cameras but there is footage of the incident that has been submitted. The four officers involved are on administrative leave

  • Ahmaud Arbery, 25 years old, February 23, Atlanta

Arbery was fatally shot on February 23 while jogging on a residential street just outside the port city of Brunswick.

He was shot dead by father and son Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael who armed themselves and chased him down when they saw him running in their neighborhood.

Gregory McMichael had worked as an investigator in the Glynn County District Attorney’s office for 24 years until he retired in May 2019.

But it wasn’t until May 7 that the McMichaels were arrested and charged with murder, more than two months after Arbery’s death.

The elder McMichael told police he suspected Arbery was responsible for recent break-ins in the neighborhood.

Video that showed Arbery collapse on the pavement after being shot three times fueled a national outcry not just over the killing but also that more than two months passed before arrests were made.