Emmett Louis Till
I was alive growing up in Los Angeles when 14-year-old, African American, Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. by white racists. Emmett Louis Till was accused by the white American racist, of complementary whistling at a white woman in her family’s grocery store. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his white American racist killers were acquitted drew national and global attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. Emmett Louis Till‘s Mother, Mamie Till, acted with strategic courage to have the dreadful condition of her son’s body and face openly viewed at the funeral and publications,, where posthumously Emmett Louis Till became the major martyr of the modern day civil rights movement.
Medgar Wiley Ever
Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an American civil rights activist in Mississippi, the state’s field secretary for the NAACP, and a World War II veteran who had served in the United States Army. He worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, end the segregation of public facilities, and expand opportunities for African Americans, which included the enforcement of voting rights.
A college graduate, Evers became active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Following the 1954 ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, Evers challenged the segregation of the state-supported public University of Mississippi, applying to law school there. He also worked for voting rights, economic opportunity, access to public facilities, and other changes in the segregated society. Evers was awarded the 1963 NAACP Spingarn Medal.
Evers was assassinated in 1963 by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens’ Council in Jackson, Mississippi. This group was formed in 1954 in Mississippi to resist the integration of schools and civil rights activism. As a veteran, Evers was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. His murder and the resulting trials inspired civil rights protests; his life and these events inspired numerous works of art, music, and film. All-white juries failed to reach verdicts in the first two trials of Beckwith in the 1960s. He was convicted in 1994 in a new state trial based on new evidence.
Medgar’s widow, Myrlie Evers, became a noted activist in her own right, serving as national chair of the NAACP. His brother Charles Evers was the first African American to be elected as mayor of a city in Mississippi in the post-Reconstruction era; he won the office in 1969 in Fayette.
Leonard Deadwyler (February 19, 1941 – May 7, 1966) was an African-American man who was shot and killed by a Los Angeles Police Officer officer, Jerold M. Bova, after allegedly speeding and running red lights while driving his wife, who was in labor, to the hospital. His wife later sued Los Angeles for wrongful death, and was represented by Johnnie Cochran, but lost the case.
Barbara Deadwyler was eight months pregnant and began experiencing what she believed to be labor pains. Deadwyler tied a white handkerchief to the car’s antenna, to signify an emergency, a common sign in Georgia, where the couple had moved from a year earlier. While driving, Deadwyler ran through several red lights while speeding, causing a police chase that began at 108th Street and Avalon Boulevard, which he mistook as a police escort.
Officer Bova eventually pulled the car over at 60th Street and Avalon, where he approached Deadwyler with his gun drawn and leaned into the car. Officer Bova testified that the car lurched forward, causing his gun to go off and shoot Deadwyler at point-blank range. Deadwyler’s wife stated that no such movement had taken place and that Officer Bova “shot him for no reason
During testimony, the State proffered that Deadwyler had a .35 blood-alcohol level and was drunk. His widow refuted this, as he had not been drinking, and an alcohol level that high would make it very difficult for an individual to function and drive safely at a high speed. Bova testified that the car had lurched forward, while the defense argued that it would be near impossible, as the car had been parked behind another vehicle.
On May 31, 1966, a coroner’s jury ruled Deadwyler’s death an accidental homicide, with one juror calling it an “excusable homicide.” The jury, who deliberated for two hours and 35 minutes consisted of eight men and one female. Only one member of the jury was Black. At the time, it was the longest inquest over the death of a single individual in the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, lasting eight days with testimony from 49 witnesses and 87 exhibits. It was also the first televised inquest in California
The wrongful death of Leonard Deadwyler and circumstances surrounding his case became the impetus to build a hospital within the area, which ended up being the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in the southern tip of Los Angeles. The 2nd District Supervisor was Kenneth Hahn who did his job better than any supervisor then and since. He always made lemonade out of lemons when it came to socioeconomic justice. He leveraged bad actions to make good actions toward parity wherever possible.
On a relatable note, Janice Hahn is the daughter of Kenneth Hahn is filling that same seat today that he held. “We have the opportunity not only to right a wrong that happened right here in LA County but also to be an example to the rest of the nation on how government’s can begin to act now to correct historic injustices,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who is leading the effort. The wrong she is referencing is the
The land was purchased in 1912 by Willa and Charles Bruce, who were black and built a West Coast resort for Black people since California beaches were racially segregated. The Bruce’s suffered racist harassment from white people and in the 1920s the Manhattan Beach City Council took the land away through eminent domain under the ruse of needing it for a park. The city did nothing with the property, however, and it eventually was transferred to the state in 1948. In 1995, the state of California transferred it to the county of Los Angeles, which built its lifeguard training headquarters on the site.
Fredrick Allen Hampton
Fredrick Allen Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist, Marxist-Leninist and revolutionary socialist. He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. In this capacity, he founded the antiracist, anticlass Rainbow Coalition, a prominent multicultural political organization that initially included the Black Panthers, Young Patriots (which organized poor whites), and the Young Lords (which organized Hispanics), and an alliance among major Chicago street gangs to help them end infighting and work for social change.
In 1967, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) summarily labeled Fredrick Allen Hampton as a radical threat. The Federal Government worked to subvert Fredrick Allen Hampton‘s activities in Chicago, spreading disinformation among black progressive groups and placing a counterintelligence operative in the local Panthers. On December 4, 1969, Fredrick Allen Hampton shot and killed in his bed during a predawn raid at his Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. Law enforcement sprayed more than 90 gunshots throughout the apartment. During the raid, innocent citizen Mark Clark was also killed and several others were seriously wounded. In January 1970, the Cook County Coroner held an inquest; which led the jury to conclude that the deaths of Fredrick Allen Hampton and Mark Clark were justifiable homicide.
Rodney Glen King
On March 3, 1881, Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was ridiculously beaten by the Los Angeles Police Department officers during his traffic violation stop, after a high-speed chase, for driving while intoxicated on the I-210 freeway. An uninvolved individual, George Holliday, filmed the incident from his nearby apartment balcony and sent the footage to local news station KTLA. The footage showed an unarmed man on the ground being beaten after complying to stop. The incident was covered by news media around the world and public outcries for eliminating police brutality.
At a press conference, announcing the four officers involved would be disciplined, and three would face criminal charges, Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates said: “We believe the officers used excessive force taking him into custody. In our review, we find that officers struck him with batons between fifty-three and fifty-six times.” The LAPD initially charged Rodney Glen King with “felony evading”, but later dropped the charge. On his release, he spoke to reporters from his wheelchair, with his injuries evident: a broken right leg in a cast, his face badly cut and swollen, bruises on his body, and a burn area to his chest where he had been jolted with a stun gun. He described how he had knelt, spread his hands out, and slowly tried to move so as not to make any “stupid moves”, being hit across the face by a billy club and shocked. He said he was scared for his life as they drew down on him.
Four officers were eventually tried on charges of use of excessive force. Of these, three were acquitted, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge for the fourth. Within hours of the acquittals, the 1992 Los Angeles riots started, sparked by outrage among racial minorities over the trial’s verdict and related, longstanding socioeconomic issues. The rioting lasted six days and killed 63 people, with 2,383 more injured, as the California Army National Guard, the Army, and the Marine Corps provided reinforcements to re-establish control.
Oscar Grant III
Oscar Grant III was a 22-year-old African-American man who was killed in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009 by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California. Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco, BART Police officers detained Oscar Grant III and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. BART officer Anthony Pirone kneed Grant in the head and forced the unarmed Oscar Grant III to lie face down on the platform. While /officer Pirone held Grant down in a prone position, Officer Mehserle drew his pistol and shot Grant in the back. Oscar Grant III was transported by ambulance to Highland Hospital in Oakland and pronounced dead later that day. The events were captured on multiple official and private digital video and privately owned cell phone cameras. Owners disseminated their footage to media outlets and to various websites where it went viral. Both peaceful and violent protests took place in the following days.
Some of the other passengers on the train, along with Oscar Grant III‘s girlfriend Sophina, were able to break up the fight. Shortly afterward, the train conductor announced to the passengers that the police had been contacted and were on their way to the station at which they were stopped. As the passengers began to exit the train, Oscar Grant III and his girlfriend saw the police walking towards them and split up. As they got closer to the train, police started to pick out people they believed to have been involved in the fight. Officer Pirone walked up to two African-American men and ripped the jacket off one. Officer Pirone threw three people against the wall and then turned to the train, yelling for everyone involved in the fight to exit the train and come to him. Everyone remained on the train, so Officer Pirone walked into the train to see if there was anyone who looked as if they were involved in the fight. Officer Pirone saw Oscar Grant III dressed in an outfit similar to that worn by those who were sitting against the platform wall and therefore removed him.
Trayvon Benjamin Martin
Trayvon Benjamin Martin (February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012) was a 17-year-old African-American from Miami Gardens, Florida, who was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic American. Martin had gone with his father on a visit to his father’s fiancée at her townhouse at The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford. On the evening of February 26, Martin was walking back to the fiancée’s house from a nearby convenience store. Zimmerman, a member of the community watch, saw Martin and reported him to the Sanford Police as suspicious. Several minutes later, there was an altercation and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin in the chest.
On November 20, 2014, two police officers were patrolling unlit stairwells in the Louis H. Pink Houses of East New York. One of them, officer Peter Liang, had his weapon drawn. When Akai Gurley and his girlfriend entered the stairwell beneath them, Liang fired his weapon. The bullet ricocheted off a wall and fatally struck Gurley in the chest. Officer Liang was initially charged with manslaughter, which was reduced to criminally negligent homicide, resulting in probation and community service. In addition to Black Lives Matter protesters, upon the initial indictment of a Hong Kong American police officer, following a history of white police officers not being indicted, large numbers of Chinese-American demonstrators gathered to argue that Liang was a scapegoat for years of unpunished actions by white police. At several events, the Chinese-American protesters joined Black Lives Matter protesters, while at others the groups protested opposite each other. After Officer Liang’s sentencing in April 2016, protests flared again.
On July 17, 2014, New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers approached Eric Garner on suspicion of selling single cigarettes without tax stamps. Eric Garner denied selling cigarettes and told police he was tired of being harassed. Officers attempted to arrest Eric Garner, and when Eric Garner pulled his arms away, officer Daniel Pantaleo placed his arm around Eric Garner‘s neck, using a prohibited chokehold, and wrestled him to the ground. As multiple police subdued him, Eric Garner repeatedly said “I can’t breathe” 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk. Eric Garner eventually lost conscious and remained on the sidewalk for seven minutes while officers waiting for an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital an hour later. The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide resulting from “[compression] of neck, compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” Video footage of the event circulated widely on social media and in news media.
The first public event protesting Eric Garner‘s death was organized by Al Sharpton in Harlem. Joined by Eric Garner‘s wife and mother, Sharpton condemned the actions of the officers involved and called for an investigation. At the Harlem event and at a protest in Staten Island the same day, he highlighted the use of a chokehold, which is not allowed by the NYPD, as well as the lack of response to a person repeatedly telling police that “I can’t breathe”. Sharpton also addressed attendees at Garner’s funeral on July 23, calling for consequences for the officers involved. On July 29, WalkRunFly, a company formed by Tony Award winners Warren Adams and Brandon Victor Dixon, created a guerrilla theater event in Times Square whereby a flashmob led by actor Daniel J. Watts gathered outside NYPD Headquarters to give a protest performance. Sharpton led another march on August 23 on Staten Island, joined by an estimated 2,500 protesters.
On December 4, 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, leading to public backlash, protests, and rallies in New York and nationally. The decision came less than two weeks after another grand jury in Missouri decided not to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown. Thousands protested the Pantaleo decision in New York City, chanting Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” which became a common rallying cry at Black Lives Matter events throughout the Eric Garner protests and other Black Lives Matter events over the years. A large protest gathered in Manhattan’s Foley Square and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge while another started in Harlem. Overnight protests which began on the 4th led to more than 223 arrests, largely for disorderly conduct or refusal to clear the streets. More than 25,000 people convened in Manhattan on December 13 for Millions March NYC, starting at Washington Square Park and marching towards 34th Street. Families of unarmed black men killed by police led the march, including the families of Sean Bell and Ramarley Graham. The march later traveled over Brooklyn Bridge and later to police headquarters in Lower Manhattan, where there were conflicts between protesters and police.
Michael Brown Jr.
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown Jr., an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by 28-year-old white Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Michael Brown Jr. was accompanied by his 22-year-old friend Dorian Johnson. Officer Wilson said that an altercation ensued when Michael Brown Jr. attacked Officer Wilson in his police vehicle for control of Wilson’s gun until it was fired. Johnson said that Wilson initiated a confrontation by grabbing Michael Brown Jr. by the neck through his car window, threatening him and then shooting at him. At this point, both Officer Wilson and Dorian Johnson state that Michael Brown Jr. and Dorian Johnson fled, with Officer Wilson pursuing Michael Brown Jr. shortly thereafter. Officer Wilson stated that Michael Brown Jr. stopped and charged him after a short pursuit. Dorian Johnson contradicted this account, stating that Michael Brown Jr. turned around with his hands raised after Officer Wilson shot at his back. According to Dorian Officer Johnson, Wilson then shot Michael Brown Jr. multiple times, where then collapse to the ground. In the entire altercation, Officer Wilson fired a total of twelve bullets, including twice during the struggle in the car; the last was probably the fatal shot. Michael Brown Jr. was struck six times, all in the front of his body.
John Crawford III
The shooting of John Crawford III occurred on August 5, 2014, who was a 22-year-old African-American man shot and killed by a police officer in a Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio, near Dayton. John Crawford III was shopping in the sporting goods section of the store was holding a BB gun that was for sale in the store. The shooting was captured on surveillance video and led to protests from groups including the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter movement. A grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved on criminal charges. The City of Beavercreek eventually settled civil claims for wrongful death brought by Crawford’s estate and family.
On August 11, 2014, Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old African-American man, died from multiple gunshot wounds after being shot by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers in Florence, Los Angeles, California. In the weeks and months that followed, Ezell Ford‘s shooting triggered multiple demonstrations and a lawsuit by Ford’s family claiming $75 million in damages.
The officers and eyewitnesses offered competing accounts of the events surrounding the shooting, and an investigation by the LAPD’s watchdog unit, Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, concluded in June 2015 that one officer had been justified in the shooting, while the other officer was unjustified, had acted outside of LAPD policy, and had violated Ford’s civil rights by detaining Ezell Ford.
The officers involved in the shooting were named on August 28 as Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, both gang enforcement officers in the LAPD’s Newton Division. Wampler had been on the force for twelve years, Villegas for eight. Wampler is Asian American and Villegas is Latino. The two men had been working together in the Newton Division for five months. Officer Wampler had previously arrested Ezell Ford on marijuana possession charges in 2008. He was also one of two officers accused in a 2011 lawsuit of assaulting and pepper spraying members of a South Los Angeles family in 2009. A settlement was reached in the case in 2012 but details were not disclosed in court records.
On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy, was killed in Cleveland, Ohio, by Officer Timothy Loehmann, a 26-year-old white police officer. Tamir Rice was seen holding a replica toy gun, and without provocation Officer Loehmann shot Tamir Rice almost immediately after arriving on the scene. Two officers, Loehmann and 46-year-old Frank Garmback, were responding to a police dispatch call regarding a male (adult?) who had a gun. A caller reported that a male was pointing “a pistol” at random people at the Cudell Recreation Center, a park in the City of Cleveland’s Public Works Department. At the beginning of the call and again in the middle, he says of the pistol “it’s probably fake.” Toward the end of the two-minute call, the caller states that “he is probably a juvenile”, but this information was not relayed to Officers Loehmann and Garmback on the initial dispatch.
The officers reported that, when they arrived at the scene, they both continuously yelled “show me your hands” through the open patrol car window. Officer Loehmann further stated that instead of showing his hands, it appeared as if Rice was trying to draw: “I knew it was a gun and I knew it was coming out.” The officer shot twice, hitting Tamir Rice once in the torso, where was pronouced dead the next day. According to Judge Ronald B. Adrine, “…On the video the zone car containing Patrol Officers Loehmann and Garmback is still in the process of stopping when Tamir Rice is shot.”
The supposed lethal weapon was found to be an airsoft replica, as it lacked the orange-tipped barrel that would have indicated it was a toy gun. A surveillance video of the incident was released by the police four days after the shooting, on 26 November. On 3 June 2015, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office declared that their investigation had been completed and that they had turned their findings over to the county prosecutor. Several months later the prosecution presented evidence to a grand jury, which declined to indict, primarily on the basis that Tamir Rice was drawing what appears to be an actual firearm from his waist as the police arrived. A lawsuit brought against the city of Cleveland by Rice’s family was subsequently settled for $6 million.
In the aftermath of the shooting it was revealed that Officer Loehmann, in his previous job as a police officer in the Cleveland suburb of Independence, Ohio, had been deemed an emotionally unstable recruit and unfit for duty. Officer Loehmann did not disclose this fact on his application to join the Cleveland police, and the Cleveland police never reviewed his previous personnel file before hiring him. In 2017, following an investigation, Police Officer Loehmann was fired for withholding this information on his application.
A review by retired FBI agent Kimberly Crawford found that Tamir Rice‘s death was justified and Officer Loehmann’s “response was a reasonable one”. The incident received both national and international coverage. It occurred on the heels of several other high-profile shootings of African-American males by police officers.
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman, was fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment on March 13, 2020, when white plainclothes officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) forced entry into the apartment as part of an investigation into drug dealing operations. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was inside the apartment with her when the officers knocked on the door and then forced entry. Officers said that they announced themselves as police before forcing entry, but Walker said he did not hear any announcement, thought the officers were intruders, and fired a warning shot at them. According to officials, it hit Mattingly in the leg, and the officers fired 32 shots in return. Walker was unhurt but Taylor was hit by six bullets and died. According to police, Taylor’s home was never searched.
The Breonna Taylor protests are an ongoing series of police brutality protests surrounding the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was a 26-year-old African-American woman who was fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment on March 13, 2020, by plainclothes officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department conducting a “no-knock” search warrant. For months after the shooting, there were demands from Taylor’s family, members of the local community, and protesters worldwide that the officers involved in the shooting be fired and criminally charged.
In the modern context, restorative justice originated in the 1970s as mediation or reconciliation between victims and offenders. In 1974 Mark Yantzi, a probation officer, arranged for two teenagers to meet directly with their victims following a vandalism spree and agree to restitution. There is no doubt that restorative justice was never conceived to have a police officer, or police department, be a party to reconciliate with their victims. In the tragic murder of George Perry Flood, Jr his victims are the black people homogenized to live, work, and play in underserved neighborhoods, i.e., East 38th and Chicago Avenue district.
The attorneys agree that restorative justice as a process through which parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future. This process stands on three pillars or ideas: (1) repair: crime causes harm and justice requires repairing that harm; (2) encounter: the best way to determine how to do that is to have the parties decide together; and (3) transformation: this can cause fundamental changes in people, relationships and communities.
On April 8, 20121, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that pressing George Perry Floyd Jr’s neck for nine minutes were not part of the department’s policy. As the murder’s superior while carrying out the crime, the chief stated that “To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back…that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy.”