Violence against African Americans that sparked furious protest
Washington (AFP) –
Their names are angrily chanted at demonstrations across the United States: they are the African Americans who suffered violence this year -- mostly deadly bloodshed at the hands of police -- that has galvanized protests around the world.
- Breonna Taylor -
A 26-year-old paramedic, she was killed in a police shooting in her own apartment.
The incident took place on March 13 in the large southern city of Louisville, Kentucky, when three plainclothes police officers executing a search warrant burst into Taylor's apartment late at night.
Taylor's boyfriend, who was in bed with her, grabbed a gun and exchanged fire with the officers. He later said he thought they were criminals.
The officers, who had not activated their body cameras as required, shot Taylor eight times, killing her; a police sergeant was also injured.
The three later filed an after-action report that was found to be rife with errors. They were subsequently suspended.
But more than five months later, none has been arrested or charged, and tensions in the Kentucky community remain sharp.
Black stars like Beyonce, LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey have repeatedly demanded that justice be done in the case.
- George Floyd -
The 46-year-old resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota died on May 25 after being pinned while handcuffed to the pavement by a white officer who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes -- even as Floyd gasped that he could not breathe.
The shockingly public nature of Floyd's death -- which bystanders filmed and then posted on social media -- sparked an enormous mobilization nationwide, as protesters took to the streets to denounce systemic racism and police brutality.
The groundswell of outrage reached beyond American borders, prompting huge demonstrations around the world against the mistreatment of ethnic minorities and the rewriting of colonial history.
The face of Floyd, a father of three whose last job was as a security guard, has become a symbol brandished in anti-racist marches everywhere.
- Ahmaud Arbery -
This unarmed 25-year-old was gunned down in broad daylight in February as he was jogging in a residential neighborhood in the town of Brunswick, in southern Georgia. Two white men, a father and a son, had pursued him in their truck after taking him for a burglar.
Outrage over the incident exploded after a video, taken by a third man, emerged on social media -- particularly because two months after the shooting, no arrests had been made.
Amid spreading public indignation, retired police officer Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were charged with murder alongside William Bryan, 50, who filmed the killing.
But six months on, it remains unclear why it took 74 days for charges to be filed when the facts of the incident were known long before that.
- Jacob Blake -
The 29-year-old was gravely wounded when a policeman fired seven or eight shots at him as he tried to get into his car on August 23 in Kenosha, in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin.
The scene was filmed by bystanders and the two police officers who were trying to stop or arrest Blake have been suspended.
With damage to his spinal cord, Blake is likely to be permanently paralyzed, his father said.
A family lawyer said Blake had attempted to break up an argument between two women.
He was shot by a policeman pursuing him as he opened the door to his car -- as three of his children watched in horror.
Coming three months after the death of George Floyd, Blake's shooting has touched off a new round of sometimes violent demonstrations in several cities.
In Kenosha, two people were killed by a shooter suspected of being part of a vigilante group allegedly trying to prevent vandalism.
A 17-year-old teenager was arrested on murder charges in connection with the shootings.
- Daniel Prude -
The 41-year-old, who had mental health issues, died of asphyxiation after police arrested him on March 23 in Rochester, in the state of New York.
Even though Prude was naked in near-freezing temperatures, the arresting officers pinned him to the ground and put a cloth hood over his head which they said was meant to keep him from spitting.
The case only became widely known on Wednesday after his family obtained and broadcast police footage of the arrest. The mayor of Rochester ordered the suspension of the seven officers involved.
© 2020 AFP