Violent Police-Civilian Interactions Haven’t Eased Since Chauvin Trial

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The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has spurred some of the largest civil rights protests in decades, raising questions about the standards for police use of excessive force. But outside of the spotlight, violent police interactions with civilians continued unabated.

The most recent one occurred even as the family of George Floyd was celebrating the verdicts on Tuesday.  Ma’Khia Bryan, 15, was fatally shot by a police officer while holding a knife during a fight in Columbus, Ohio. Initial body camera footage released by investigators appeared  to show Bryant attacking two other people with a knife in her hand before a responding officer fired multiple shots, reports CBS News.  

In a nod to the attention fueled by the Chauvin trial, interim Columbus police chief quickly released police body camera footage of the incident, noting that “we understand the public’s need, desire and expectation to have transparency.”

But a quick search by The Crime Report turned up at least seven incidents involving police use of force against in the week preceding the verdict. The incidents are all under investigation, and in some cases, the victims were armed.

Most well-known was the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright  on April 11.  Wright was fatally shot by police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop and attempted arrest in Brooklyn Center,  a Minneapolis suburb. Wright was stopped for having an invalid driver’s registration, but a records check disclosed an outstanding arrest warrant.  Potter and other officers briefly struggled with Wright outside of his car, before he attempted to get back in, and Potter pulled her firearm, mistaking it for  her Taser.

A week later, on April 18, police in suburban Minneapolis shot and killed a man who was allegedly involved in a carjacking after the suspect began firing at pursuing officers. Eventually, the suspect crashed the car and continued to fire before officers shot back wounding the suspect, ABC News detailed. 

No officers were injured in the situation, and they have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard while the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reviews the officer body camera footage.  

Earlier that week, on April 15, a shooter opened fire outside the San Antonio International Airport, but was shot and killed by an officer before any civilians were hurt, USA Today reports. 

The shooter, who has not been publicly identified, was driving the wrong way on a road at the airport just outside Terminal B. An officer stopped the car, and the man jumped out and began shooting. The officer fired back, putting an end to what could’ve been a deadly incident for many at the airport.

“The shooter had a lot of ammunition and a big handgun that he was shooting indiscriminately toward people,” police Chief William McManus said in a news conference, adding that law enforcement has interacted with the suspect before, noting he has a history of mental illness. 

Earlier the same day, the shooter was seen opening fire down below from a busy highway overpass. No civilians were hurt in either incident, USA Today details. 

On April 13, a Maryland state trooper fatally shot a 16-year-old-teen armed with an airsoft gun and knife. The teenager, Peyton Ham, was allegedly pointing the replica gun at a responding officer, who believed the airsoft gun to be an actual firearm, according to FOX 5 DC. 

The officer shot Ham for the first time before he stood back up holding a knife, but when the teen refused to drop it, the officer shot him again. The teen died at a nearby hospital. 

Also last Tuesday, an Arizona police officer shot and killed James Pacheco, 37, a sexual assault and kidnapping suspect who charged at the officer with two bayonets, Tucson police spokesman told the New York Post. 

On April 12, two Georgia cops were shot at by suspect Pier Shelton, 28, wielding an AK-47 following a high-speed chase at 3:30am on Interstate 20, the New York Post details.  

The startling dashcam footage from the patrol vehicle was released Friday, showing the officers shouting “Let’s move down! Let’s move down! Come on!” before Shelton suddenly becomes visible in the headlights and immediately begins firing directly at the officers. Shelton was shot and killed, according to the police  

Both officers were wounded during the gunfire, but are expected to recover. Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley told reporters that the situation “could have been a lot worse,” the New York Post quotes. 

Also on April 12, dramatic bodycam footage recently released shows the moment Ohio police officers shot Miles Jackson, a 27-year-old black man after finding bullets and a gun in his waistband while patting him down in a hospital emergency room, according to The Washington Post.

When the firearm was discovered, there was a struggle, and the officer uses his stun gun on Jackson before he falls to the floor, apparently still holding the weapon in his hand, the footage shows. 

At one point, Jackson says he “dropped [the gun]” and says “I’m just scared, guys! So if I move y’all not going to shoot me. They’re not going to shoot me?” 

An officer uses the stun gun for a second time before firing another shot, and then calling for a doctor. Jackson was pronounced dead in the emergency room, The Washington Post details. 

On Wednesday, Westerville Police Chief Charles Chandler placed the two officers on administrative leave, adding that he has “concerns that warrant further review.”

The list above is by no means exhaustive, but it underlines the concerns of activists who have point out that the Floyd killing is part of a pattern of police misconduct largely involving young Black and brown men.

As the Chauvin trial began, the nation was rocked by an incident where a Chicago police officer shot and killed a 13-year-old named Adam Toledo who the police say was armed during a chase down an alleyway at 2:38 a.m. 

The body camera footage was released on April 15, sparking a new wave of fury and discussion as many who have analyzed the video believe that Toledo appears to have tossed the gun away and raised his hands to surrender before police fatally shot him in the dark alley,  the Chicago Sun Times details. 

This seek, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged people to “reserve judgment” because “we don’t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation … Let’s wait until we hear all the facts,” CNN quotes. 

Adeena Weiss Ortiz, an attorney for the Toledo family, said they’re exploring legal action against the officer who shot Adam.

“If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his arms in the air, it’s an assassination,” Ortiz said, as quoted by the Chicago Sun Times.

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