George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has prompted the reporting of hundreds of other episodes and videos documenting cases of violent police tactics, reports the New York Times. An Austin, Tx., protester shot in the head by police aiming at someone else with beanbag ammunition was left with brain damage and a fractured skull. Cellphone videos show New York City officers beating unarmed protesters and sideswiping demonstrators with opened squad car doors. Videos around the U.S. show police indiscriminately using pepper spray on protesters or pedestrians. In Atlanta, a half-dozen officers have been criminally charged after a violent attack on two college students sitting in a car during protests. In Buffalo, a video on Thursday showed police in riot gear shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground and walking away as he lay unconscious, blood coming out of his ear. A compilation of videotaped incidents posted on Twitter by a North Carolina lawyer stood at 281 clips by Thursday.
Experts said that the videos showed examples of abrupt escalation by police that was difficult to justify. “It feels like the police are being challenged in ways that they haven’t been challenged in some time,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. “They are responding. And sometimes, that response is totally inappropriate.” Ed Obayashi, a California-based expert on police use of force, said the incidents were an overall improvement on past police conduct during episodes of unrest. Obayashi, a lawyer who advises the California Association of Police Training Officers, said that, considering the level of chaos across the nation, “from my standpoint, there’s been considerable restraint.” Improvements have not necessarily changed the culture of rank-and-file law enforcement, said John Burris, an Oakland, Ca., civil rights lawyer who in 1994 helped represent Rodney King against the Los Angeles Police Department.