It has been two years since the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, which was captured on video and shocked the world into protest. The unfortunate reality is that Black death at the hands of law enforcement still persists, with a few striking cases as examples.
On the two-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, recent statistics underscore a grim truth – since his death, Black people accounted for 27 percent of the 1051 Americans who were killed by law enforcement in 2021 according to data compiled by the nonprofit group Mapping Police Violence. The same study also showed that Black people were three times more likely to be killed by police, yet 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed at the time. Here are just five examples from a list that has far, far too many names.
The 20-year-old was driving through his Brooklyn Center, Minnesota neighborhood on April 11th, 2021 when he was stopped by police who initially claimed that there was an outstanding warrant against him. Wright struggled to get back into his car, which prompted Officer Kimberly Potter to shoot him. The Brooklyn Center police chief, Tim Gannon claimed that Potter meant to use her Taser and took out her gun instead. Potter would later resign from the force, as well as Gannon. Potter would stand trial and be found guilty of first and second-degree manslaughter, receiving a sentence of two years in prison.
Guila Dale III
Police were called to the home of the retired U.S. Army major in Newton, New Jersey on July 4th, 2021 by his wife, who feared that her husband was contemplating suicide. A veteran of the War In Iraq, Dale suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Video released by the District Attorney for Sussex County shows Dale exiting a truck with an object in his hand. Officers Steven Kneidl and Garrett Armstrong then opened fire, killing him. They would later claim they attempted to engage, but footage showed that Dale was shot four minutes after his wife’s call and that the encounter lasted fifteen seconds. State authorities are still investigating the circumstances of the incident.
Andrew Brown Jr.
On April 21st, 2021, officers from the Sheriff’s Department of Elizabeth City, North Carolina arrived at Andrew Brown Jr.’s residence to serve drug-related search warrants. Brown was killed with a gunshot to the head as he sat behind the wheel of his car. Brown’s family fought with District Attorney Andrew Womble’s office to see the body camera footage from the shooting that reportedly was two hours in length, but were only able to see 19 minutes of it. On May 18th, Womble announced that the shooting was justified and that his office wouldn’t pursue charges against the officers. The FBI is currently conducting a civil rights investigation into the case. Seven deputies with the department would be put on administrative leave, with three who fired shots still under investigation from state authorities.
In the early morning hours of August 25th, 2021, Washington D.C. police officers approached a BMW in response to a 911 call about someone seemingly unconscious in the driver’s seat. According to both a viral video of the incident and footage from body camera video, the officers tapped on the window to try to awaken 27-year-old An’Twan Gilmore, who did so and moved the car forward before being asked to stop. At that point, an officer opened fire on Gilmore multiple times. He would later die at the hospital. The Metropolitan Police Department report from the officers on the scene claim that Gilmore had a weapon in his waistband, but also attested that Gilmore never rolled down his window. The case has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Patrick Lyoya, 26, was detained by police at a traffic stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 4th, 2022. Their reason for stopping the native of the Democratic Republic of Congo was to inquire why the license plate didn’t match the vehicle he was driving. Lyoya ran off after Officer Christopher Schurr asked him for his driver’s license.
Schurr would chase him down, and in the physical struggle would shoot Lyoya in the back of his head, killing him. The incident was captured on the officer’s body camera. Currently, authorities for Kent County are still deciding whether to proceed with charges against Schurr.