Closer Look

An Examination Of Police Violence Throughout The Nation

More than one year ago, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was allegedly killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

The city of Chicago released a video of McDonald’s death on Nov. 24, resulting in protests throughout the city.

McDonald was shot 16 times. Van Dyke was the only officer to fire, but other officers on the scene had their weapons out, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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Van Dyke now faces first-degree murder charges, which means prosecutors believe he knowingly and intentionally killed McDonald, ABC 7 reported.

On Dec. 3, the city annouced it will not fight the release of a second video depicting the fatal shooting of another African-American man, Ronald Johnson III.

Johnson was shot in the back as he fled officers more than one year ago.

These are not the first African Americans whose deaths have raised questions about police prejudice and brutality in the United States.

Since 2014, there have been 10  black people whose deaths have  received  national coverage by media: such as Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Tamir Rice, Tony Robinson, Phillip White, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and McDonald.

The Phoenix has highlighted some facts about police brutality and the people whose deaths surround the national conversation.

See page three of the crime issue for more information about McDonald.

Michael Brown

Death: Aug. 9, 2014

Where: Ferguson, Missouri

Age when killed:18

Alleged killer: Darren Wilson

Criminal charges: A grand jury did not indict Wilson

The shooting of Michael Brown resulted in numerous protests in Fergunson and across the country. Rioting also swept across the St. Louis suburb following Brown’s death.

Before his death, Brown was captured on video stealing cigarillos from Ferguson Market and Liquor. Wilson said he believed Brown fit the description of the suspect in a convience store theft.

Wilson followed Brown. After an altercation, the officer fired two shots which missed Brown. Brown ran away from the officer but stopped and turned toward the pursuing officer. Wilson shot Brown when he began to move toward him.

Source: The New York Times

Eric Garner

Death: July 17, 2014

Where: New York, New York

Age when killed: 43

Alleged killer: Daniel

Pantaleo and Justin Damico

Criminal charges: Charges not pursued

The 6-foot-2 and 395 pound Garner was hard to miss and known by Staten Island police.

Garner illegally sold cigarettes and cheap goods on the street and had been arrested twice in 2014 and charged with circumventing state sale taxes. So when police approached him, he began to wave his arms, refusing to be frisked or detained. This series of events occured early in July and Garner was only given a warning from officers. Later in the month, the rouse didn’t work. As officers restrained Garner, someone recorded the scene on a camera phone. Garner cried for breath 11 times before he died.

Source: The New York Times

Walter Scott

Death: April 4, 2015

Where: North Charleson, South Carolina

Age when killed: 50

Alleged killer: Michael Slager

Criminal charges: Murder charges being tried

Scott was pulled over by Slager during a routine traffic stop regarding a broken taillight.

A video provided by a bystander shows Scott and Slager struggling. Scott had wires from a Taser stuck into his body. Scott turned to run and something was knocked to the ground. As Scott ran away, Slager fired eight times, shooting Scott in the back. Scott was approximately 20 feet away from Slager when he fell. North Charleston has a population of 100,000, with African Americans making up about 47 percent. Whites are about 37 percent of the population. The  city’s police are about 80 percent white.

Source: The New York Times

Freddie Gray

Death: April 19, 2015

Where: Baltimore, Maryland

Age when killed: 25

Alleged: Six officers

Criminal charges: Murder charges being tried

Gray was arrested after he ran from  an officer he made eye contact with on April 12. After he was taken down, he told officers he was having trouble breathing and asked for an inhaler, which reports say he was not given. Police put him in the van but was not seat belted, which is required by police department rules. Gray’s feet were shackled and he was handcuffed inside of the van. While being transported, Gray suffered a critical neck injury as a result of his restraints.

Despite indicating that he was having trouble breathing, Gray did not receive any medical help from the officers. He died one week later.

Source: CBS News

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Erin Kelly is the Closer Look editor. She is a senior journalism student at Loyola University Chicago, originally from Lake Villa, IL. A former Better Government Association intern, Erin enjoys working on in-depth stories.

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