Tag Archives: police shooting

Officer convicted in killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare outcome in police shootings

A former police officer in Texas has been found guilty of murder in the high-profile shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare victory for civil rights activists seeking justice for the dozens of unarmed African American men and boys who have been killed by police officers in recent years.

As Judge Brandon Birmingham read the verdict Tuesday against Roy Oliver, who worked in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs, sobs came from the gallery of the packed courtroom. The last time an on-duty police officer in Dallas County was convicted of murder was in 1973. Oliver could be sentenced to life in prison.

“I’m just so thankful,” Jordan’s father, Odell Edwards, told reporters. “Thankful, thankful.”

Daryl Washington, an attorney representing the family, said the verdict meant more than justice for Jordan.

“It’s about Tamir Rice. It’s about Walter Scott. It’s about Alton Sterling,” he said, naming victims of police shootings in recent years. “It’s about every, every African American, unarmed African American, who has been killed and who has not gotten justice.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a link to a news story about the conviction, saying that Jordan’s “life should never have been lost.”

On the night of April 29, 2017, Oliver fired an MC5 rifle into a Chevrolet Impala carrying Jordan and two of his brothers as it pulled away from a high school house party. Jordan, who was struck in the head, died later at a hospital.

Police initially said the vehicle had backed up toward Oliver “in an aggressive manner,” but body camera video showed the car was moving away from him and his partner. Days after the shooting, Oliver, who had served in the department for six years, was fired.

Jordan’s stepbrother, Vidal Allen, was driving the car the night of the shooting.

“I was very scared,” Allen testified. “I just wanted to get home and get everyone safe.”

Oliver, 38, has said he feared for his life and his partner’s safety.

“I had to make a decision. This car is about to hit my partner,” Oliver testified in the trial. “I had no other option.”

After a weeklong trial, it took the jury one day to reach a verdict.

Jordan’s death echoes other police shootings involving black boys and men. But no convictions were handed down in most of those cases.

In November 2014, Cleveland police got a 911 call about someone brandishing a pistol near a park — the weapon, the caller said, was “probably fake.” But in an incident captured on camera, a police cruiser pulled into the park and Officer Timothy Loehmann jumped out and opened fire. Within seconds, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a toy gun, was dead.

Even before Tamir’s death, the U.S. Department of Justice had been investigating the Cleveland Police Department. A month after his shooting, it released a report saying Cleveland police displayed a pattern of using unnecessary force.

A year later, a grand jury decided not to indict Loehmann in Tamir’s death, saying he had reason to fear for his life.

In September 2016, in Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Tyre King, 13, who was carrying a BB gun while running from police. A grand jury declined to file criminal charges against the officer who killed him.

And in May 2017, an Oklahoma jury acquitted an officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, 40, as he stood with his hands above his head along a rural highway.

Those cases and others illustrate the difficulty of convicting police officers. The law in most places gives them the benefit of the doubt.

Prosecutors usually must show that an officer knowingly and intentionally killed without justification or provocation. A fear of harm has been successfully used as the justification for many shootings, even when the victim turned out to be unarmed.

The most recent case that ended in a conviction came last year when Michael Slager, a former officer in North Charleston, S.C., was first tried on murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was stopped for a driving with a broken taillight. But after those proceedings ended in a mistrial, Slager pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The last Dallas County police officer convicted for murder while on duty was Darrell Cain, who shot and killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez after forcing him to endure a version of Russian roulette while handcuffed inside a patrol car.

There was no immediate reaction to Thursday’s verdict from local or national police groups.

John Fullinwider, a longtime Dallas activist and co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, said Oliver’s conviction came as a surprise.

“I expected to see an angel fly over City Hall before I saw this murder conviction,” he said. “This is a victory, but we really need independent federal prosecutors in all fatal police shootings.”

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents the Edwards family, said the conviction was justice for the country.

“We’ve seen time and time again, no charges, let alone convictions, in these high-profile shootings,” he said. “It is my hope that this is a turning point in the fight against police brutality against blacks.”

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Stephon Clark Private Autopsy Results Revealed: 7 Gunshot Wounds in the Back

The findings of an independent autopsy commissioned by the family of Stephon Clark reveal that he was struck by a total of eight bullets, with up to seven of them hitting him in the back by the Sacramento police officers who fired on him earlier this month.

When officers responding to reports of break-ins in the Meadowview neighborhood came upon Clark, he was standing in the yard of his grandmother’s house. Moments prior, the 22-year-old was spotted running and hopping fences to the spot where he was located. Without much warning, the cops fired more than 20 shots and waited more than two minutes before beginning to engage an unresponsive Clark from afar. Dr. Omalu estimates that the unarmed suspect died between 3 and 10 minutes after he was struck.

Clark was shot once under the armpit, once in the leg, twice in the neck, and four times in his lower back. The examiner found that he suffered a shattered vertebrae and a collapsed lung.

“These findings from the independent autopsy contradict the police narrative that we’ve been told,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said of the results. “This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”

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Jury Grants Family of Police Shooting Victim Korryn Gaines $37M

After three weeks of testimony and a few hours of subsequent deliberation, an all-female jury overseeing the wrongful death civil trial of slain police shooting victim Korryn Gaines – ruled in favor of awarding her family $37 million, on Friday, February 16.

Gains was gunned down when after a six-hour standoff, officers locked out of her Randallstown apartment with an arrest warrant finally busted in to find her armed with a shotgun. The 2016 incident drew a passionate response from the public over several unsettling tactics used by Baltimore County police. For one, authorities had Gains’ wi-fi cut off as she was live streaming the confrontation, and secondly, many took exception to the force used in disregard of the fact that her five-year-old son Kodi was present to witness the situation unravel.

Kodi will now receive $32 million of the total, as it was determined that County Cpl. Royce Ruby’s use of force, when he fired off the first shot, was not objectively reasonable. The ruling contradicts the findings of a county prosecution that previously established that the shooting was legally justified. In addition to the lions share of the settlement that Kodi will inherit, Gains’ daughter will get $4.5 million, and her father, mother, and general estate will get $300K respectively.

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3 Chicago Police Officers Indicted in Cover Up of Laquan McDonald Shooting

Three Chicago police officers have been indicted on charges that they conspired to cover up the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by police in October 2014.

Video released in 2015 showed a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke, shoot McDonald 16 times. He has since pleaded not guilty to murder.

Three officers, Thomas Gaffney, David March, and Joseph Walsh, were charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Chicago police have not responded to the charges.

SOURCE: VLADTV

PHILANDO CASTILE’s Daughter in Tears “DON’T GET SHOOTED, MOM!”

Moments after Philando Castile was shot dead by Officer Jeronimo Yanez … his fiancee and her daughter were in the back of a police car, and the just-released video of them is absolutely heartbreaking.

You’ll recall, Diamond Reynolds broadcast the aftermath of the July 2016 police shooting on Facebook Live. Her then 4-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat of the car during the shooting, and afterward police put them both in custody.

In this video authorities just released … Reynolds is still screaming in anger in the back of the police cruiser — and the little girl cries, “Mom, please don’t scream ’cause I don’t want you to get shooted!” She sobbed and continued begging her mother to calm down.

The video was just released because Yanez’s trial ended last week. He was found not guilty of manslaughter.

SOURCE: TMZ

Charlotte Police Release Video of Fatal Shooting

Videos released by police in Charlotte, North Carolina, shows a deadly confrontation between police and Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man who was shot to death Tuesday, triggering riots in North Carolina’s largest city.

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The two videos from body cameras and dash cameras from officers confronting Scott were released Saturday after days of calls by protesters to make the footage public.

One of the videos shows Scott getting out of his car and turning to his left, standing in the parking lot for about three seconds before he is shot and seen falling to the ground.

A second video does not show Scott before he is on the ground. The audio on this video has been removed for the first 23 seconds.

http://www.voanews.com/embed/player/0/3523698.htmlA fifth day of protests against the shooting was largely peaceful after the release of the videos. On Sunday, dozens of protesters chanted, “Black lives matter!” outside the Carolina Panthers-Minnesota Vikings professional football game in Charlotte.

The Panthers’ star quarterback,Cam Newton, wore a T-shirt in pregame warm-ups quoting civil rights icon Martin Luther Jing Jr., saying, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The major question about the shooting – whether Scott was holding a gun when police ordered him to step out of his car – was not answered, even with the release of the video, which shows Scott exiting his car and backing slowly away as police officers order him to drop his weapon.

Police said Saturday that two plainclothes officers in an unmarked car had been in Scott’s neighborhood Tuesday to serve a warrant to someone else when they spotted Scott sitting in his car holding what they believed to be a marijuana joint [cigarette].

Police Chief Kerr Putnam told reporters Saturday the officers also believed they saw Scott holding a gun, and reasoned that the combination of drugs and a weapon constituted a threat to public safety.

http://www.voanews.com/embed/player/0/3523699.htmlPutnam said the officers retreated, donned protective gear that was marked “Police,” and returned to confront Scott, ordering him loudly to drop his weapon, something that can be heard on the video. Police say Scott did not comply, even after a police officer in a marked SUV drove up and pounded with his fist on Scott’s passenger-side window.

Police said Scott then got out of his vehicle, but did not surrender a weapon, and one of the officers fired the fatal shots.

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In a news conference Saturday, Scott’s family questioned how the situation could have turned deadly so quickly. After seeing the video, Scott’s brother told reporters, “Unfortunately, now we are left with more questions than answers.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney announced earlier Saturday the video would be released, a central demand by protesters who have been marching in Charlotte since Tuesday night.

Several hundred demonstrators gathered near police headquarters Saturday as Putney held his news conference.

Putney said he had been assured that making the video public would not interfere with an ongoing investigation of the killing. He said the images were being released “in the spirit of transparency.”

The police chief defended his officers’ actions, saying they acted correctly in firing at Scott because he had marijuana with him at the time and also had a firearm.

The question of whether or not Scott had a gun with him, and whether he brandished it at police, has been central to the public debate over this case in North Carolina’s largest city.

Scott’s family members have said repeatedly that he had no weapon, and that he was sitting in his car, reading a book and waiting for his son to be dropped off by a school bus, when police approached him.

The dead man’s widow, Rakeyia, has released a recording she made with her mobile phone on Tuesday, calling out to police over and over again that he was unarmed, and at the same time calling out to Scott to obey all police orders and come out of his car.

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A marijana “blunt” cigarette that police said was in the possession of Keith Lamont Scott is seen in a picture provided by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2016.
Neither Rakeyia Scott’s video nor the images released by police Saturday show clearly whether or not Keith Scott was holding a gun. As she yells that he is unarmed, police can be heard shouting at Scott: “Drop the gun!” Gunshots then ring out, and Scott can be seen lying prone in the street.

Authorities said the police were in the area looking for someone else when they saw Scott was holding a gun, and turned toward him.

Soon after the shooting, it was learned the police had video recordings of what happened, and those images became the focus of angry demonstrations. Wednesday’s protest turned violent, with store windows smashed and scuffles with police, who fired tear gas at the crowd.

A 26-year-old man was shot and fatally wounded, by someone in the crowd, authorities have said, not by a police officer.

Demonstrations have been more peaceful since then, and the city has ordered a midnight curfew, which police have chosen not to enforce while anyone still on the streets at that hour is peaceful.

SOURCE: VOA

Prosecutors & Media Demand Footage from Shooting in NC

The police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott has sparked outrage all across the country.

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In Charlotte, there were two nights of riots. The first night rioters shut down a freeway, looted semi-trucks, and then burned the cargo. The second night a civilian was killed and multiple people were assaulted.

Since that time, the media and those protesting Scott’s death, have demanded video footage of the moment Lamont was shot and killed.

The New York Times obtained exclusive footage of the incident via Scott’s wife, Rakeyia. At the very beginning of the video, you can hear Rakeyia say:

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“Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon. He has no weapon.”

At the same time, the police are yelling, “Drop the gun!”

Yet, Scott’s wife then claims “he doesn’t have a gun, he has a TBI” (Traumatic brain injury). She then tells the police on the scene that he “isn’t going to do anything” and “he just took his medicine.”
And law enforcement officials are continuing to order Scott to “drop the gun.”

Rakeyia then says, “Keith don’t let them break the windows, come on out of the car.” And asks repeatedly for husband to get out of the car.

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Four seconds later, gun shots can be heard. Rakeyia exclaims, “Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? He better not be f***** dead. He better not to be f***** dead.”

Moments later, Rakeyia can be heard on the phone talking to someone about officers who shot her husband. She continues to say, “He better live.”

Then, the footage clearly reveals that Scott has been taken down and is unresponsive.

SOURCE: IJR