The frequency in which police use force, especially lethal force, would seem to deserve quite a bit of attention, however, it is rarely highlighted by news media. For the most part, it goes ignored.
Only when there was a crisis in Ferguson after a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager did media examine how often people are killed by police in the US.
The “Killed by Police” Facebook page keeps track of deaths as they occur and, from May 1, 2013, to August 24, 1,450 people have been killed. When calculated, about three people were killed each day.
The following incidents were noted by the page over the past week:
According to local news reports, African-American Charles Smith was arrested in Savannah, Georgia, and put into a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind him. He allegedly moved his hands to “the front of his body” and kicked out the patrol car window. He somehow allegedly had a gun. An officer shot him.
“Do you want to die?” Maurice Williams, a witness claimed the officer said. “He shot Smith in the legs,” and, according to Williams, the officer “fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back.”
A local news affiliate reported that Ricky Lynn Bunch of Grainger, Tennesse, was shot by police after a chase and standoff. A relative reported that Bunch had stolen a car. Police chased Bunch and, during the standoff, Bunch allegedly had a pistol and shotgun and was getting in and out of his vehicle. Police shot him.
Eighteen-year-old Levi Weaver was shot by chief jail administrator Jerry Shellhouse in his home in Cedartown, Georgia. Shellhouse was in the area and decided to take a call reporting that a resident was “acting erratically.” Weaver allegedly had a baseball bat and kitchen knife and lunged at Shellhouse before he was shot and killed.
William Smith was shot and killed by police in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He apparently was involved in a standoff with officers from the New Mexico State Police and Las Cruces Police Department, according to a local news report. Officers allegedly saw what they believed were “multiple pistols.” They allegedly tried to negotiate, but he stopped talking to them at some point. Chemical agents were deployed and a New Mexico state police officer “perceived a deadly threat.” The officer shot him.
In Anaheim, California, Steen Parker III was killed. Reportedly, the Anaheim Police Tactical Response Group were deployed to a scene at a dealership where a male was in a dark BMW SUV. They allegedly negotiated with Parker, who was suspected of being involved in an armed robbery. Police say he suddenly fired at officers and police fired back at him.
Kimberlee King, an African-American woman, was arrested in Pagedale, Missouri for traffic warrants. Police did not shoot her. Allegedly, according to a local Fox News affiliate, she “hung herself in her cell.” Family say King was not suffering from any sort of depression and had no “history of mental illness.” They also do not think the cell had enough room for anyone to hang themselves with a shirt.
A 52-year-old deaf man named Edward Miller, who was allegedly “brandishing a fire arm,” was shot and killed by a Volusia County deputy in Daytona Beach. Miller was having a heated argument when Deputy Joel Hernandez saw that Miller was armed. He considered him to be a threat and fired his weapon, according to a local news report.
Courney James VanRiper, a 66-year-old man, was shot and killed by a US Forest Service officer in northern Arizona. The Associated Press reported VanRiper was at a temporary campsite and was “playing loud music” when the officer asked VanRiper to come out of his vehicle. He allegedly sprayed “bear repellant” in the officer’s face and the officer responded by firing “several shots.” Two of them hit VanRiper and ultimately killed him.
Kela Souter, a 49-year-old woman, was killed by police in Citrus County, Florida, when officers responded to a call “about a suicidal subject.” Police say she fired her weapon before they arrived and, when a deputy confronted her, she pointed her gun at him. A deputy officer shot her.
Police responded to a subject who was reportedly “screaming and walking in front of vehicles” on an avenue in Ballston Spa, New York. Officers tried to arrest forty-three year-old Daniel Satre. He was allegedly combative and multiple officers became involved in apprehending him. The officers shocked him with a Taser. Police put handcuffs on him and then he died.
John Wayne Gill, a 39-year-old African-American man, was arrested for allegedly engaging in disorderly conduct in Pike County, Mississippi. A sheriff claimed he fought with officers at the jail and was pepper sprayed but officers “cleaned him up.” When the family came to bond him out of jail, he was slumped over and dead.
Forty-one year-old Brian Lee Beeler was killed by police in Des Moines, Iowa, when officers responded to a complaint “about an argument at the home of Beeler’s aunt.” Beeler allegedly had “two knives in his waistband.” Beeler allegedly would not show officers his hands and did not follow instructions to surrender. Police allege he came toward them. An officer fired a “stun gun” but missed. Beeler then grabbed a knife and police responded by firing their handguns.
In Mansfield, Ohio, police were after 39-year-old Shane Lambert, who they wanted to question about a homicide. Police claim they were confronted by Lambert in a vacant home and shot him. However, the aunt of Lambert’s son, Brandi Andrews, told a local newspaper that his sons witnessed their father jumping out of a window when police killed him.
Thirty-six year-old Gustavo Segura Acosta allegedly had a metal fence pole and was shot by Fresno, California. He had a history of altercations with police and was mentally ill. He had previously been taken into custody as a “danger to himself.” Acosta allegedly took a bucket and fashioned it into armor around his torso. Police used “stun darts” and beanbag rounds but that had “little effect.” Police then fired ten shots with their handguns.
Police in Davenport, Iowa, received reports that 54-year-old James Allen Cave was waving guns around in his garage and threatening to hurt himself. Trained negotiators tried to calm the man down, but he started to drink alcohol and became more “irrational and agitated,” according to a local news report. He allegedly “came towards police with one weapon in his waistband and another in his hand” so officers shot him.
John Jolley Jr., who was twenty-eight years-old, was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, after he reportedly got into a “domestic dispute” with police. Officers arrived and Jolley allegedly had a gun, which he pointed at police. An officer fired multiple shots at Jolley.
Police in University Park, Texas, responded to a report of a “suspicious man,” which an “alarm-monitoring company” said was near the gate of a home. They approached Thomas Ernest Klessig, a twenty-three year-old. He allegedly did not cooperate and “pushed an officer to the ground.” He would not surrender and officers pepper sprayed him during a “scuffle.” He died.
Fourteen year-old African-American Cameron Tillman of Terrebonne Parrish, Louisiana, was shot and killed in an abandoned home. His brother, Andre, was with him and says there was a knock on the door. “My little brother thought somebody was just clowning, because somebody is always clowning by the door. He opened (it) and the man just shot him. He didn’t have nothing in his hand.” The man was a police officer.
Joseph Adam Lee, who was thirty-two years-old, was killed by officers in Elkhart, Indiana, who were trying to serve a warrant. Lee allegedly took off and was chased by police. He then allegedly point a gun at police and then officers shot him to death. A witness, Marie Martin, told a local CBS News affiliate, “All I saw was [Lee] on the ground and he kept moving and they kept calling on him to stay down and I kept on hearing put it down and then he moved one more time and I heard a shot. I don’t know if it was from him, and the next thing I know it was like the 4th of July from the cops. They just lit up that whole area.”
Brian Eugene Rice of Goose Creek, South Carolina,
Brian Eugene Rice, who was fifty-seven years-old, was shot and killed by police in Goose Creek, South Carolina. A woman and her 14-year-old daughter were apparently threatened by Rice. He pulled weapons on her. A SWAT team, according to a news report, was deployed and “a Berkeley County deputy and a Goose Creek police officer spotted Rice on the railroad tracks between the back side of the house” and a highway. Rice and officers fired at each other, and Rice died.
St. John Parish deputy Lt. Nolan Anderson, an African-American, was killed by a fellow deputy. He reportedly got into a “domestic dispute” with his wife. He would not put down his “service weapon.” He allegedly fired “several shots” and an officer shot him.
In Pasco, Washington, Matthew L. Stoddard allegedly fled from the driver’s seat of a passenger car. Officers searched for him and eventually found him in the “parking lot of a mechanic’s shop.” He, at that point, allegedly had a gun and would not drop it. An officer shot him.
Jacob A. Navarre was shot and killed by police in Beauregard Parish, Florida, after he allegedly tried to run over authorities in a pursuit. Police responded to a “domestic disturbance.” He fled and police tried to apprehend him when he allegedly tried to “strike” deputies with his vehicle.” Police shot him and he died.
These incidents may be under investigation by police departments and officers may have been placed on “paid administrative leave. But it is unlikely that there will be any sort of consequences for any of the officers, particularly in the most questionable instances where force was used.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski under Creative Commons license