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George Floyd and 7 Other Police Shootings That Led to Mass Protests in the U.S.

The United states has been hit with yet another cold-hearted and brutal killing of a black man by a white police officer. Racism and police brutality in the United States is as old as the country itself, and despite calls for equality, it is unfortunate that one race continuously harbour a false sense of superiority and hate for another. The latest incident has drawn worldwide outrage, protests and violent riots, however, it is just one among many, as the problem doesn’t seem to have an end.

Below are other police killings in that have widespread outrage.

George Floyd

On May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd occurred in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd’s arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd’s back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on as he stood nearby. the event sparked wild protests and riots and soon garnered international attention and condemnation.

Michael Brown

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown Jr., an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by 28-year-old white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was accompanied by his 22-year-old friend Dorian Johnson. The police officer claimed that an altercation had ensued when Brown attacked him in his vehicle, eventually resulting in the fatal shooting. Johnson however contradicted this and stated that the officer initiated a confrontation by grabbing Brown by the neck through his car window, threatening him and then shooting at him. In the entire altercation, Wilson fired a total of twelve bullets, including twice during the struggle in the car; the last was probably the fatal shot. Brown was hit six times, all from the front. This event ignited unrest in Ferguson, protests, both peaceful and violent, continued for more than a week in Ferguson with the slogan “Hands up, don’t shoot”

Keith Lamont Scott

Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man, was fatally shot on September 20, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina United States by Brentley Vinson, a city police officer. Police officers had arrived at Scott’s apartment complex to search for an unrelated man with an outstanding warrant. According to police, officers saw Scott exit a vehicle in the parking lot while carrying a handgun, and he refused to comply with their orders. Scott’s wife was also present and disputed that account. The shooting sparked both peaceful protests and violent riots in Charlotte over two nights. One person was killed by a civilian, and multiple officers and civilians were injured in the unrest.

Eric Garner

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in New York City after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City Police Department  officer, put him in a chokehold while arresting him. Video footage of the incident generated widespread national attention and outrage. Protestes ensued when on December 3, 2014, a Richmond County grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo. This decision stirred public protests and rallies, with charges of police brutality made by protesters. By December 28, 2014, at least 50 demonstrations had been held through out the United States in response to the Garner case, while hundreds of demonstrations against general police brutality counted Garner as a focal point.

Alton Sterling

On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot dead at close range by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The officers were attempting to control Sterling’s arms, and Sterling was shot by them after allegedly reaching for the loaded .38 caliber handgun in his pocket. The shooting led to protests in Baton Rouge and a request for a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Anthony Lamar Smith

Anthony Lamar Smith was a 24-year-old African American man from St. Louis, Missouri, who was shot and killed by then St. Louis Police officer Jason Stockley following a car chase on December 20, 201. protests broke out on September 15, 2017 when the police officer was found not guilty of murder.

Oscar Grant III

On New Year’s Day 2009, Oscar Grant III a 22-year-old black man was fatally shot BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California. Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco, BART Police officers detained Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. BART officer Anthony Pirone kneed Grant in the head and forced the unarmed Grant to lie face down on the platform. While Pirone held Grant down in a prone position, Mehserle drew his pistol and shot Grant in the back. Grant was rushed to Highland Hospital in Oakland and pronounced dead later that day. 

Dontre Hamilton

On April 30, 2014, Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed by police officer Christoper Manney, at Red Arrow Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. No charges were brought, but Manney was fired from the force. Dontre’s brother, Nate Hamilton, led rallies, marches, and street clean-ups and the Black Lives Matter movement also protested Hamilton’s death

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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