Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Police Hall of Shame

I've decided that it would be appropriate to add yet another list on this blog. So, from now on, if you scroll down just a bit and look on the right, you'll find a permanent link to this post containing The Police Hall of Shame. Then I will update this post with links to stories, videos, and websites outlining cases anywhere in the United States at any point in history when one or more police officers killed a person. The person may or may not have been a suspect. The person may or may not have been guilty of anything. The person may or may not have been wielding a weapon at the time. The one thing all of the victims will have in common is that they're dead now and that their death is known to have been at the hands of the police.

I considered including all manner of violence, especially permanent maiming, but that would quickly become completely unmanageable. So I'm going to put the stipulation on those included that the event must have been fatal.

I've started by listing the first few that came to my mind. Please help me with this, okay? And when you send me names with the date of death, don't forget to include a link of some kind giving the details. The link can be to a post on your blog.

Also, while I'm interested in posting cases from the past, what I really want to start doing is listing cases as they occur. In other words, if someone in your community is killed by the police tomorrow, please send me the name of the victim and a link to the story. And if you think it reasonable, publicize a link to this post so the word will get out about it. That way, we will soon see demonstrated the full impact of the carte blanche freedom the police in this country have to "enforce" the "law" with latitude that would put others in prison.

It's not that I think all police officers are irresponsible, racist, wanta-be murderers. It's just that when one of them does go ballistic (literally), nothing typically happens to increase the likelihood that it won't happen again. So -- with your help -- I want to start keeping track.

Most folks hope the police will protect them when needed. But for people of color and most particularly Black people, we have to wonder who's going to protect them from the police? And the answer has to be: us. The population of this country. And it begins by keeping a log.



Will Capers said...

I got this from Dr. Degruy's blog:

Ex police Chief Norm Stamper in his book Breaking Rank:

Simply put, white cops are afraid of black men. We don’t talk about it, we pretend it doesn’t exist, we claim “color blindness,” we say white officers treat black men the same way they treat white men. But that’s a lie. In fact, the bigger, the darker the black man the greater the fear. The African American community knows this. Hell, most whites know it. Yet, even though it’s a central, if not ‘the’ defining ingredient in the makeup of police racism, white cops won’t admit it to themselves, or to others (p. 92)

Changeseeker said...

And there it is. For all the world to see. *shudder*

karinova said...

There's also Sean Bell, the young man who was shot to death in NYC a few years ago, on the night before his wedding. There's a Wikipedia page here. Shocker: everybody was acquitted.

And, I know it's not exactly the format you asked for, but here's Amnesty International's staggeringly long List of Deaths Occurring after Individuals were Struck by Taser in Police Custody from June 2001 to August 2008 [PDF].

They can get away with anything.
I live not far from Oakland, CA, and I'll just say it: Mehserle's getting off. They always do.

Anonymous said...

Are you including the Border Patrol? They tasered one man to death in CA last month, and crossed into Mexico and shot a minor.

Changeseeker said...

Karinova: I've added Sean Bell. And staggeringly long is right. Good grief. I think I'll settle for having you link to the list in your comment rather than put in the work to link to each event separately. But this is, of course, horrendous. Which is why I have a permanent link on this blog to Electrocuted While Black. And yes, they DO seem to be able to get away with "anything." Then they wonder why so many people don't "cooperate" with police investigations. Not everybody is inclined to see the police as their friends.

Profacero: I'll definitely add the sixteen-year-old boy the border cop shot in the head across the Mexican border. Why in the world didn't that create an international meltdown of some sort?

Anonymous said...

Do you also keep track of animals who kill Police officers for absolutely no reason at all? How about recidivist offenders who lead careers in crime that culminate in the killing of police officers?

Changeseeker said...

Comparing the numbers of police who are killed in the line of duty to the number of innocent people of color who have been murdered by police would be a real eye-opener to most folks, Anonymous. Any unjust death is a tragedy, but I expect the difference in the numbers -- with the far greater number being the latter rather than the former -- would make my case far better than any other argument. And let's not forget that people who are legitimately convicted of killing a police officer are executed, while police officers who kill innocent people don't even go to jail. A radical difference, by any standard.