Today (May 25), marks one full year since the senseless and tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by former police officer Derek Chauvin. The death, which was captured on smartphone video sparked a wave of shock and outrage—but wouldn’t prevent more Black people from dying senselessly at the hands of police.
Floyd’s murder would motivate millions to take to the streets despite the dangers still present from the COVID-19 pandemic that gripped the world to say enough was enough. Chauvin would be arrested and brought to trial where he was convicted last month. George Floyd’s murder also brought about a flurry of actions by organizers and groups who spoke up in conjunction with those on the streets for an end to police brutality against Black bodies among other systemic injustices.
Sadly, despite the marches and other actions such as the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act (which currently has not passed in Congress despite the promises of the Biden presidential administration), Black death at the hands of law enforcement officials hasn’t slowed down one bit. In fact, according to the researching collaborative Mapping Police Violence, there have been over 1,000 people killed by police in the United States since George Floyd was killed a year ago. Despite being only 13% of the nation’s population, Black people made up 28% percent – 181 lives lost – of those deaths. Here, we recount five of these cases.
On April 11th, 2021 Daunte Wright was pulled over by police at a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota as the Derek Chauvin trial was entering its final days less than 20 miles away in Minneapolis. Officer Kimberly Potter drew her gun on Wright, fatally shooting him. She and the department claimed it was an “accidental discharge” where she meant to fire her Taser instead. Potter was arrested and is currently awaiting trial.
Shortly before the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was announced, Officer Nicholas Reardon arrived on scene in Columbus, Ohio to witness 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant struggling with two older women in front of the foster home she was living at. Reardon fired off four shots, killing Bryant. The incident is still being reviewed by the Ohio Bureau of Investigation.
San Francisco native Roger Allen was stopped on April 7th, 2021 in Daly City by police for what was supposed to be a routine check of an occupied vehicle. Allen was in the passenger seat when approached by two officers who saw what appeared to be a firearm in his lap. As Allen tried to hold it up to show it was a BB gun, the officers drew weapons and fired on Allen. Allen died later at a local hospital. The Daly City manager has declined to release the names of the officers, citing an ongoing investigation into the case.
Michael Leon Hughes
Police were called to reports of a disturbance at a hotel in Jacksonville, Florida on March 20th, 2021. There, they encountered Michael Leon Hughes, who was emotionally disturbed and involved in a domestic dispute. He allegedly attacked Officer Jesse Wing and stunned him with his own Taser. Wing then fired his pistol, killing Hughes. Both the police department and sheriff’s office have stated that while an investigation takes place there will be no new information released, including bodycam footage that Hughes’ family have requested through their lawyers.
Andrew Brown, Jr.
The 42-year old father was confronted by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on the morning of April 21st, 2021 as he arrived home. The deputies, who were there to issue warrants opened fire on Brown who was hit twice, with one shot in the back of the head. District Attorney Andrew Womble announced that there would be no charges against the officers last week claiming that the shooting was justified. The FBI is opening its own investigation into the incident.
One year later, it is abundantly clear that the certainties that exist in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is more Black people dying at the hands of law enforcement and an overwhelming sense of frustration at the lack of legislative action. And ultimately the realization that the struggle to eliminate this injustice must continue.