Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

17Dec/140

We remember the lives taken away

Every name below belongs to a real person, someone whose life was taken by a police officer between 1999 and 2014. Every one of these individuals belonged to a family, with parents, with children in many cases, and other close relatives who loved them dearly. Each one of these individuals is still loved and missed. Read brief statements about each person here.

Last Saturday, the nation and world listened and watched as the loved ones of several Black men killed in recent years spoke about the need for justice and police accountability. For any of you who are inclined, take a few minutes to say each one of the names below - both women and men who have been killed in recent years. And when you feel like it's getting to be a long and drawn out exercise, think about the family members of each one, and how the idea of "long and drawn out" now takes on a different kind of meaning for them. The process of seeking justice. The realization that their loved ones won't be coming back home for birthdays, for graduations, for marriages. They won't be coming back to offer a smile, to tell one more joke, to offer guidance and wisdom to the young people coming behind them, to console their husbands or wives, to tuck their children into bed at night, or to care for their mothers and fathers as they age. They won't be around to tell stories and reminisce during this coming holiday season, or the next. I hurt for their loss of life, and for the many grieving family members who will never see their loved ones again.

For anyone who so flippantly dismisses any of this loss of life as being 'justified' and somehow not the huge tragedy that it is, I can't help but assume a complete lack of humanity and compassion in that person's heart and spirit. Every one of these losses is a huge tragedy, and one that we should all be outraged about.

The underlying concept of policing and law enforcement, and how the officers in these institutions have come to view specific racial and ethnic communities in this country, appears to be a key part of the problem. Everything from the underlying mission of law enforcement to the face-to-face contact between officers and citizens has to be addressed.

To reiterate that not all police officers are bad is a distraction. The problem is that there are some - however many there are - who are, and that there are few to no accountability mechanisms in place to discourage the corrupt and brutal acts of violence too many officers inflict upon other people.

I agree with the folks I've heard call for felony criminal prosecution of officers who observe or otherwise know about the misconduct and brutality of officers and fail to intervene and/or report it. Some sort of drastic intervention will be needed to turn this historical pattern around.

And until this happens, let us continue to remember each one of these lives that have been taken away from us - and also those many whose names don't appear here.

Let us simultaneously continue to protect the lives of all our loved ones still here...

Gone too soon...

Rumain Brisbon, 34, Phoenix, Ariz.—Dec. 2, 2014

Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland, Ohio—Nov. 22, 2014

Akai Gurley, 28, Brooklyn, NY—Nov. 20, 2014

Kajieme Powell, 25, St. Louis, Mo.—August 19, 2014

Ezell Ford, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—August 12, 2014

Dante Parker, 36, San Bernardino County, Calif.—August 12, 2014

Michael Brown, 18, Ferguson, Mo.—August 9, 2014

John Crawford III, 22, Beavercreek, Ohio—August 5, 2014

Tyree Woodson, 38, Baltimore, Md.—August 2, 2014

Eric Garner, 43, New York, N.Y.—July 17, 2014

Victor White III, 22, Iberia Parish, La.—March 22, 2014

Yvette Smith, 47, Bastrop, Texas—February 16, 2014

McKenzie Cochran, 25, Southfield, Mich.—January 28, 2014

Jordan Baker, 26, Houston, Texas—January 16, 2014

Andy Lopez, 13, Santa Rosa, Calif.—October 22, 2013

Miriam Carey, 34, Washington, D.C.—October 3, 2013

Jonathan Ferrell, 24, Bradfield Farms, N.C.—September 14, 2013

Carlos Alcis, 43, New York, N.Y.—August 15, 2013

Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., 32, Austin, Texas—July 26, 2013

Deion Fludd, 17, New York, N.Y.—May 5, 2013

Kimani Gray, 16, New York, N.Y.—March 9, 2013

Johnnie Kamahi Warren, 43, Dotham, Ala.—December 10, 2012

Malissa Williams, 30, Cleveland, Ohio—November 29, 2012

Timothy Russell, 43, Cleveland, Ohio—November 29, 2012

Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, New York, N.Y.—September 7, 2012

Chavis Carter, 21, Jonesboro, Ark.—July 29, 2012

Shantel Davis, 23, New York, N.Y.—June 14, 2012

Sharmel Edwards, 49, Las Vegas, Nev.—April 21, 2012

Tamon Robinson, 27, New York, N.Y.—April 18, 2012

Ervin Jefferson, 18, Atlanta, Ga.—March 24, 2012

Kendrec McDade, 19, Pasadena, Calif.—March 24, 2012

Rekia Boyd, 22, Chicago, Ill.—March 21, 2012

Shereese Francis, 30, New York, N.Y.—March 15, 2012

Wendell Allen, 20, New Orleans, La.—March 7, 2012

Nehemiah Dillard, 29, Gainesville, Fla.—March 5, 2012

Dante Price, 25, Dayton, Ohio—March 1, 2012

Raymond Allen, 34, Galveston, Texas—February 27, 2012

Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr., 31, Orange County, Calif.—February 7, 2012

Ramarley Graham, 18, New York, N.Y.—February 2, 2012

Kenneth Chamberlain, 68, White Plains, N.Y.—November 19, 2011

Alonzo Ashley, 29, Denver, Colo.—July 18, 2011

Kenneth Harding, 19, San Francisco, Calif.—July 16, 2011

Raheim Brown, 20, Oakland, Calif.—January 22, 2011

Reginald Doucet, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—January 14, 2011

Derrick Jones, 37, Oakland, Calif.—November 8, 2010

Danroy Henry, 20, Thornwood, N.Y.—October 17, 2010

Aiyana Jones, 7, Detroit, Mich.—May 16, 2010

Steven Eugene Washington, 27, Los Angeles, CA—March 20, 2010

Aaron Campbell, 25, Portland, Ore.—January 29, 2010

Kiwane Carrington, 15, Champaign, Ill.—October 9, 2009

Victor Steen, 17, Pensacola, Fla.—October 3, 2009

Shem Walker, 49, New York, N.Y.—July 11, 2009

Oscar Grant, 22, Oakland, Calif.—January 1, 2009

Tarika Wilson, 26, Lima, Ohio—January 4, 2008

DeAunta Terrel Farrow, 12, West Memphis, Ark.—July 22, 2007

Sean Bell, 23, New York, N.Y.—November 25, 2006

Henry Glover, 31, New Orleans, La.—September 2, 2005

Ronald Madison, 40, New Orleans, La.—Sept. 4, 2005

James Brisette, 17, New Orleans, La.—Sept. 4, 2005

Timothy Stansbury, 19, New York, N.Y.—January 24, 2004

Alberta Spruill, 57, New York, N.Y.—May 16, 2003

Ousmane Zongo, 43, New York, N.Y.—May 22, 2003

Orlando Barlow, 28, Las Vegas, Nev.—February 28, 2003

Timothy Thomas, 19, Cincinnati, Ohio—April 7, 2001

Prince Jones, 25, Fairfax County, Va.—Sept. 1, 2000

Ronald Beasley, 36, Dellwood, Mo.—June 12, 2000

Earl Murray, 36, Dellwood, Mo.—June 12, 2000

Patrick Dorismond, 26, New York, NY—March 16, 2000

Malcolm Ferguson, 23, New York, N.Y.—March 1, 2000

Amadou Diallo, 23, New York, N.Y.—Feb. 4, 1999

6Dec/140

Defending Black Lives Against American Law Enforcement Terrorism: We Must Reform These Systems

As this past week ended, millions of people throughout the world continued to follow the intensifying and brutal response by law enforcement officers to African American women, men and children on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and dozens of other communities throughout the US. Much of this attention has been sparked by the recent and high-profile killings of African American men and boys at the hands of police officers, and the lack of any form of accountability for the officers in most of these cases.

Most recently this week, tens of thousands (likely more) of individuals throughout the country watched and subsequently protested the Staten Island, New York grand jury decision not to indict the officer responsible for killing Eric Garner this past summer. Demonstrators also protested the unfolding tragedy in Cleveland, Ohio, where a rookie and unfit police officer (according to the officer's prior employment records) shot and killed Tamir Rice, an unarmed 12-year-old boy, within 1-2 seconds of approaching the scene where the boy had been playing with a toy gun. All of this follows the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and multiple other killings of Black men by police officers in other cities within the last week.

Yesterday's Democracy Now broadcast further analyzed the multiple failures and unjust responses by the NYPD to Eric Garner on that summer afternoon, including the minutes before Garner's encounter with the police, the actual police killing of Garner, and the aftermath. They also explore the circumstances and poor police department track record coming to light in Cleveland.

Below are brief descriptions and the relatively short video clips from yesterday's Democracy Now broadcast (transcript available on the DN site).

Did the NYPD Let Eric Garner Die? Video Shows Police Ignored Pleas to Help Him After Chokehold

While much of the nation has seen the cellphone video showing the New York City police officer’s chokehold that led to Eric Garner’s death, a second video shows what happened after Garner last gasped, "I can’t breathe." The video shows Garner lying unresponsive on the sidewalk as police and medics do nothing to help him. A bystander can be heard saying, "Why nobody do no CPR?" Eventually they lift his body onto a stretcher. New York Daily News columnist Harry Siegel writes about the video in his latest article, "The lonesome death of Eric Garner: When men are treated like pieces of meat by cops and medics, trust erodes."

 

A Racist and Unjust System? A Discussion on Policing in Wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner Deaths

As Rev. Al Sharpton calls for a march on Washington next Saturday to demand action from the federal government on police brutality and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio orders the retraining of the city’s police force, we host a roundtable discussion on policing and race nationwide. We’re joined by three guests: Graham Weatherspoon is a retired detective with the New York City Police Department; Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer for The Nation; and Harry Siegel is a columnist at the New York Daily News.

 

The Killing of Tamir Rice: Cleveland Police Criticized for Shooting 12-Year-Old Holding Toy Gun

More than 100 people packed a church in Cleveland, Ohio, for the memorial service of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy shot dead by police last month. Rice, who was in sixth grade, was killed after a 911 caller reported seeing the boy with what turned out to be a pellet gun, which the caller repeatedly said seemed fake. Video shows Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shooting Rice immediately after leaving his cruiser, from a distance of about 10 feet. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department has found a pattern or practice of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” by the Cleveland Police Department. We speak with Democratic Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, whose district includes Cleveland.

We are also joined by three others in our studio: Graham Weatherspoon is a retired detective with the New York City Police Department; Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer for The Nation; and Harry Siegel is a columnist at the New York Daily News.