Stolen Lives:

There IS An Epidemic of Police Murder!

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A group of volunteers for Revolution/ is compiling statistics for police killings since cops on Staten Island, New York, used a chokehold to kill Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man, on July 17, 2014. So far the group has established that from the date of Garner’s murder, through the months of August and September, police around the U.S. killed at least 198 people—more two a day. This is staggering and outrageous--there IS an epidemic of police killings in the USA!

Valuable work on exposing police murder in the U.S. has been done by the Malcolm X Grassroots Coalition and others. The group is continuing to document lives stolen by police since July 17 and asks readers to contribute to this work. Send instances of police killings you know of to: The world needs to know this AND people need to be part of putting an END to the epidemic of police murder.


Let’s be Real About WHO The Fuck Poses Threat and Bodily Harm to Society!

As we research the various accounts of people being murdered by police throughout the country—there is a theme that comes though—which is that over and over the justification by the police or the DA for the police killing in question is  “justifiable homicide,” a determination which results in a decision not to charge the police involved because the victims posed a threat to the “security” of the officers involved. In so many cases, this justification flies in the face of reality. The following are just a few of the particularly egregious killings that have occurred in the last couple months:

1. August 9, Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri:

It was the middle of a Saturday afternoon and dozens of people saw it happen. 18-year-old Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson were walking home from the store. Johnson told news reporters: “We wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all.”  Johnson says the two were walking in the street when a cop rolled up on them and told them to get out of the street. They kept walking and the officer got out of the car and fired a shot. Johnson said they were scared and started to run away. Then:  “He shot again and once my friend felt that shot he turned around and he put his hands in the air and he started to get down but the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and he fired several more shots.”  An independent autopsy backed up Johnson’s and other witnesses’ testimony: Michael had been shot 6 times in the front of his body and his wounds were consist with having his hands raised.  Subsequent audio and video evidence corroborates this, yet Darren Wilson has still not been indicted.

2. August 24, Joseph Jennings, Ottawa, Kansas:

From a KCTV5, Kansas City news report on the police murder of 18-year-old Joseph Jennings: “I told them it is Joseph Jennings. He is suicidal. He is upset, don't shoot him," she [Brandy Smith, his aunt] said. Her husband also tried to help. "My husband was going to tackle him. He was within arms-reach. They said to get back or they were going to shoot him," Smith said. Smith says her husband backed off and after this the police yelled out, “bag him” and then shot him. “They shot him in the back of the leg and the back of the shoulder," Smith said. After these shots fired into Joseph, he was taken to the local hospital and later died.

Joseph’s aunt reported that the two cops who killed her son were the same two cops who had been called to their house just hours earlier when he took 60 pills in a suicide attempt and was taken to the local hospital.  It was evident that these cops KNEW that Joseph was mentally unstable and also KNEW that he might have in hand a BB gun because they had also stopped him earlier--fifteen minutes after he left the hospital-- and confiscated one that he had in his possession, but did not arrest him. And YET—knowing all this—they STILL proceeded to shoot him down because they said they felt “threatened” by a BB gun that he was holding as he was coming out of the hardware store where he was killed.

3. August 19, Kajieme Powell, St Louis, Missouri:  

25-year-old Kajieme Powell was killed by St. Louis police ten days after the murder of Michael Brown, as he was walking home from the store. Responding to a shoplifting call, police arrived on the scene and within seconds fired a dozen shots into Kajieme which killed him instantly. Neighbors reported that Kajieme was mentally ill and heard him shouting, “Shoot me, shoot me, shoot me, shoot me now, motherfucker!” as he approached the officers. These shouts clearly indicate a person in pain and anger. After the killing, St. Louis Police Chief Dotson described Powell’s death as “suicide by cop.”  

Police Chief Dotson also said that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within three or four feet of them holding a knife "in an overhand grip." However, a police-released cell phone video contradicts this description. The cell phone footage shows Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets. And the video shows Kajieme was walking sideways and looking backwards.

Even after the police release of the video which contradicted the police story, Police Chief Dotson still defended the actions of the police officer involved. The justification of this, in the words of Chief Dotson: “Every police officer that’s out there has a right to defend themselves, officer safety is the number one issue.” The safety of the police was in no way in question by the presence of Kajieme Powell. What about the safety and welfare of those they gun down and in this case—for being mentally ill and in pain!

A witness on the scene says: “They puttin’ him in cuffs. He’s dead, oh my god. They just killed this man. He didn’t have a gun on him. Now they’re cuffin’ him he’s already dead. The man is already dead. How the hell can a dead man be of ANY threat to anybody?!”

4. August 31, Jose Walter Garza, Laredo, Texas:

Six police with AR-15 rifles fired 61 shot and killed 30-year-old Jose Walter Garza at a truck stop in Laredo. Walter's grandmother said that her grandson “had no face” after being shot. (Source: New York Daily News, September 5, 2014). Family members admitted Garza could be disruptive when off his medication for schizophrenia, but “he wouldn’t get aggressive, he wouldn’t hurt anyone,” cousin Andrea Martinez told the Daily News. “He’s a good kid,” she said. “Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg, or the arm or something? Not like that.” Walter was well-known to the cops in that area—they had arrested him 30 times in the past and he was committed to a state hospital in 2010 after a suicide attempt. Hours before the police killing at the truck-stop, police had spotted Garza with the replica BB gun and confiscated it, but did not arrest him.

News report (from New York Daily News, September 6, 2014) reported: “Surveillance video taken at the truck stop, obtained by the Laredo Morning Times, shows squad cars on scene with lights flashing. About 10 seconds in, gunfire erupts and Garza body rolls into view in a fetal position. Three officers, including one armed with a rifle, approach the man with guns raised. One cop reaches in with his foot and kicks away what appears to be a black handgun that had fallen next to Garza’s body.” (Police reports later indicated that what appeared to be “black handgun” was a “pellet gun–a semi-automatic ‘replica’”)

The video shows the cops involved in the killing giving each other props with fist bumps— celebrating their execution-style crime.

5. August 2, Omar Abrego, South Los Angeles:

(Source KTLA 5 August 16.2014) 37-year-old Omar Abrego died from a brutal beating by LAPD as he was driving home four blocks from where Ezell Ford was killed by the LAPD on August 25. The LAPD say that “an altercation ensued” when they caught up with Omar trying to run away from them. This was contradicted by family members and witnesses who said that they saw the officers beating Abrego. His brother said: “They were beating him real bad, and he died of the wounds.” Another witness said that it appeared that the cops were beating Abrego for 10 minutes with a baton. News reports said that cell phone videos appeared to show Abrego’s face bleeding when he was on the ground. Abrego died 12 hours after the beating.

Abrego’s sister said: “It makes me feel angry because, police officers are supposed to try to protect us, not to harm or even kill.” So, the price you pay—for running away from a gang of cops who are hunting you down like a dog is to be subject to a brutal beating and ultimately death at the hands of murdering pigs who are supposed to “protect and serve.”

6.  August 25, Ezell Ford, Los Angeles:

A police news release reported that the two cops pursued Ezell Ford, who was walking down a South Los Angeles sidewalk, to try to talk to him but that he [Ezell] continued walking and made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands. The police report claimed a struggle ensued and Ezell was shot because he attempted to remove the officer’s gun from its holster. Witnesses and relatives give a completely different story. News account from the Los Angeles Times reported that Dorene Henderson, who witnessed part of the incident, said that she “saw no struggle between the officers and Ford.” (Source: Washington Post, August 15,2014)

Ford’s cousin reported to LA news station KTLA: “They laid him out and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division knows that—that child has mental problems,” the man said. In addition: “The excessive force… there was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he was laying down? No. Then the mom comes, they don’t try to console her… they pull the billy clubs out.”

Ford’s mother, Tritobia Ford reported to KTLA that her son “was lying on the ground and complying with officers’ command when he was shot three times.”

7. August 14, Diana Showman, San Jose, California

19-year-old Diana Showman’s father was on his way from taking time-off from work to assist his daughter in enrolling in a program to assist developmentally disabled patients to live independently when his path was blocked by police cars. He didn’t find out until hours later that his daughter had been shot dead with a single shot by a San Jose Police Officer. He got to the shooting scene at 10:30 a.m. Diana Showman was pronounced dead about 12:30 p.m.

Diana was walking out of her home holding a drill when officers arrived in response to a call that someone had an Uzi and had intentions to do harm to their family with it. There was no one home except Diana. She was walking out of her home and the officer shot her with a single shot as she walked towards him. She was taken to the hospital and died two hours later. The supposed gun that the officer thought she had in her hand was a cordless drill.

The San Jose Mercury described how Diana’s parents, Victoria and Jim Showman were treated at the time of the shooting death of their daughter: “As the Showmans struggle with her death, they are also questioning whether the shooting was necessary, and why police wouldn't let them be by her side in her final moments. Jim Showman was whisked away to San Jose police headquarters and led to an interview room. Victoria soon followed. Police refused to tell them what happened to Diana.” Jim Showman said : "I told them, 'What you're doing is cruel. We don't know if our daughter's alive.”

8. September 10, Darrien Hunt, Saratoga Springs, Utah

The police say they were responding to a call about a "suspicious" man walking down the road carrying a "Samurai-type sword" and that they shot him after he lunged at them. But an independent autopsy performed at the family's request shows that 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was shot numerous times from BEHIND as he ran away from the police. And Randall Edwards, an attorney for the Hunt family said, "This is consistent with statements made by witnesses on the scene, who report that Darrien was shot to death while running away from police."

Darrien Hunt's mother is white, his father is Black. Susan Hunt said, "They killed my son because he's Black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away.... Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family."

9. September 18, Charles Smith, Savannah, Georgia:

News reports say the police arrested 29-year-old Charles Smith on outstanding warrants, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car. Police say that Smith was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out a window of the patrol car, that he had a gun when he tried exiting the car and was then shot by an officer.

But this contradicts what eyewitnesses say. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported: "Eyewitness Maurice Williams, 27, said he knew Smith from the neighborhood. He said about 11 a.m. he saw Smith in the back of a police car. He stopped to watch it go by when Smith, who was about 6 feet 7 inches tall, kicked out the window, folded his legs out and pushed on the door. Williams said the officer exited the patrol car as Smith kicked the window a third time. Williams said he heard the officer say, 'Do you want to die?' while he shot Smith in the legs. Williams said he saw Smith, still handcuffed, escape out the window and fall to the ground. He said the officer fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back." A minister told the crowd: "More of our black boys are being killed by police than were killed by the Ku Klux Klan by rope."

10. September 14, 2014, Richard "Pedie" Perez, Richmond, California:

24-year-old Pedie Perez was standing with friends out in front of a liquor store when Officer Wallace Jensen drove up for a "security check." An older woman who was with Pedie when the police rolled up said she was there when Pedie was gunned down, "Police told me 'go, go' and made Pedie sit on the ground. As I turned the corner I heard shots." She said she ran back and tried to go to Pedie and the police pointed a gun in her face and told her that if she didn't move back she would be "laying down with him."

John Burris, the family's lawyer, says Pedie was unarmed when Jensen shot him at least five times and that the cop's claim that the shooting was necessary because Pedie had grabbed for his gun was a "flat-out lie," contradicted by every single witness they had interviewed. Burris said, "This officer should be prosecuted for murder."

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