After years of silence, federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they won’t bring criminal charges against a white New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black man whose dying words — “I can’t breathe” — became a national rallying cry against police brutality. The decision to end a yearslong civil rights investigation without charges was made by Attorney General William Barr and was announced the day before the five-year anniversary of the deadly Staten Island encounter.
The Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee Harteau, resigned on last Friday at the Mayor’s request. Last week one of her officers shot an unarmed Australian woman. The Mayor Betsy Hodges stated that she had lost confidence in the Chief’s ability to lead their police force and so forced the resignation. The woman, Justine Damond, a yoga teacher was fatally shot after calling 911 for help twice.
Three Chicago police officers have been charged with conspiring to cover up the death of a black teenager, Laquan Mcdonald, who was killed in 2014. Video footage was released of the teen being shot when trying to move away from police officers, the officer who shot McDonlad was charged with murder and now investigations have been turned to trying to “conceal the true facts of the events surrounding the killing of Laquan McDonald.”
Due to insufficient evidence surrounding the shooting of Alton Sterling, an African-American citizen who was fatally shot by two police officers in July 2016, federal prosecutors have ruled not to press charges against the two officers. Prosecutors were also unable to prove the statement made by police that Sterling was reaching for a gun when the unreasonable shots were fired from the officers. No further proceedings are scheduled to follow.
It has been reported that the mother of Philando Castile, the motorist who was killed by a Minnesota police officer in 2016, will receive $2.995 million as a part of the settlement for her son’s death. “The city and (Valerie Castile) were able to reach this agreement avoiding a federal civil rights lawsuit which may have taken years to work its way through the courts exacerbating the suffering of the family and of the community,” a joint statement from the city of St. Anthony and Mrs. Castile’s attorney was released.
Tulsa officer, Betty Shelby, shot and killed unarmed 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher on September 16th of 2016. She shot in “fear” as he had not complied to get on the floor as she had asked and suspected he was reaching for a gun in his car. An Oklahoma jury acquitted her of all charges on Wednesday drawing the verdict to not guilty. The jury deliberated 9 hours before coming to the conclusion that they had. The verdict drew a sharp response from the Crutcher’s father. “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder,” the Rev. Joey Crutcher said.
The Justice Department announced on Tuesday, that six Baltimore officers will not face charges in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from spinal cord injuries while in police custody. Apparently, an investigation was not able to conclude whether the officers “willfully violated Gray’s civil rights,” and therefore called the evidence given to them “insufficient.” In April 2015, Gray was arrested and put into a police van, cuffed but with no seat belt, and was then found unresponsive and died the following week.
On June 20th a video footage was released of a traffic stop between a police officer, Jeronimo Yanez and Philando Castile, which sadly shows Philando’s last moments. The traffic stop which happened last year shows the police officer asking to see the driver’s insurance card, Castile informing the officer that he has a firearm on him and the officer begins firing into the car. Just last week, a jury acquitted Yanez of manslaughter, opening the public to protests against the verdict.
A Minneapolis police officer shot and killed an unarmed Australian bride-to-be on Saturday. Justin Damond called 911 to report what she thought was a sexual assault happening on a street close to her. Upon police arrival she was shot. Not many details were given on the reasons behind the open fire from the police. Damond was a yoga and meditation instructor who was soon to be married.
Dominique Heaggan-Brown, a police officer who fatally shot Sylville Smith, who fled from a traffic stop last year, was acquitted by a jury yesterday. Brown was also accused of assaulting someone during a protest for Sylville Smith shooting and a separate sexual assault. He ultimately lost his job at the Milwaukee Police Department due to the allegations. the charges of sexual assault expect to see Brown in court in August.