On Tuesday former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd — who was handcuffed and not resisting — for over 8 minutes, until he died. Had video of the incident not existed, the chances of Chauvin even being charged would have been non-existent. Even with the video, Chauvin's case is extremely rare as cops who kill are almost never held accountable.
Finding a police officer facing a murder charge for an on-duty shooting is like finding a unicorn in your front yard. As TFTP has reported, despite horrifying police killings, many of which were captured on video and rocked the nation, the arrest rate for cops who kill people on-duty remains as low as ever. According to reports, since 2005, just 126 police officers have been arrested for murder or manslaughter in relation to an on-duty killing.
Of those 126, just 44 have been convicted, with 31 of their cases still pending, and just eight cops total, including Chauvin, have been convicted of murder. The other 37 cops were convicted on charges ranging from manslaughter to official misconduct, with many of them receiving no jail time.
Chauvin's case proves, however, that it is indeed possible to charge cops who unnecessarily kill people. If he can be convicted of murder, others should be as well. The Free Thought Project has composed a list of killer cops whose crimes were just as, or more horrific as Chauvin's but who were never charged.
Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford
On Jan. 18, 2016, Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford murdered Daniel Shaver on video. Shaver — a father of two — was unarmed, crawling on his knees, innocent, and begging for his life when the cold-blooded killer opened fire on him in a hotel hallway.
Unlike Chauvin, Brailsford will not see the inside of a jail and though he was fired after killing Shaver, three years later he was hired back. After he was rehired, he then immediately retired from law enforcement winning the equivalent of a lottery jackpot in retirement earnings.
Wichita Police Officer Justin Rapp
In December of 2017, police responded to a prank call, also known as a "swatting," at the home of Andrew Finch. This prank call was made by a man named Tyler Barriss who did not know Finch but who led the police to his home anyway. When the entirely innocent and unarmed father answered the door during the raid, Officer Justin Rapp was recorded on video killing him in cold blood.
After the coverage died down in the press, and as TFTP accurately predicted in January 2018, the Wichita District Attorney quietly announced that there will be no charges. After letting the cop who did the actual shooting off with no charges, the person who made the phone call, Tyler Barriss, was sentenced to 20 years.
Aurora officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema
As TFTP reported at the time, Elijah McClain was killed by police after he was put in a chokehold and given the sedative ketamine. The incident began when someone in the neighborhood called the police because McClain was walking down the street with groceries while wearing a mask. McClain reportedly always wore the mask because he was anemic , and often got cold, and he was an introvert.
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At the time of his death, McClain had never gotten so much as a speeding ticket in his life. Moments after police approached McClain claiming that he fit the description of a suspect. They claim that he resisted arrest and needed to be subdued. McClain had committed no crime when police initiated force against him. He was merely walking home from the store after purchasing some tea. At the time, police claimed body camera footage showed McClain reaching for a gun, but this was later proven to be false.
"He is laying on the ground vomiting, he is begging, he is saying, 'I can't breathe.' One of the officers says, 'Don't move again. If you move again, I'm calling in a dog to bite you,'" said Mari Newman, the McClain's lawyer, completely dismantling the official story.
Officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema and former officer Jason Rosenblatt were never prosecuted for McClains's death.
Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey
Early on a Sunday morning back in November 2018, a tragedy took place in Illinois after a hero security guard stopped what was quickly becoming a deadly mass shooting. Instead of being honored for his heroism, he would be shot by police moments later. Jemel Roberson, 26, was working security at Manny's Blue Room when his heroism got him killed. In October 2020, two years after the Roberson's tragedy fell out of the news cycle, police announced that the cop who killed him, Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey will not face charges.
The incident began after multiple individuals were asked to leave the bar for being unruly. Witnesses say all the men left and then returned and one came back in with a gun opening fire into the bar. As everyone else ran for cover, Roberson according to witnesses, engaged the shooter with his own gun.
Roberson then apprehended one of the men involved in the shooting and held him at gunpoint as the police showed up. Four people had been shot, but thanks to Roberson, no one else was hit, and those four people were transported to a local hospital and treated for their injuries. Sadly, Roberson would not be so lucky and when officer Covey arrived, he immediately kill this hero.
Deputies John Aguillon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias and Johnny Longoria
In December 2017, the Free Thought Project reported on the tragic death of 6-year-old Kameron Prescott whose life was stolen from him when police opened fire on an unarmed woman suspected of stealing a car. In June of 2018, the family of the little boy who was gunned down by police found out that the cops who killed their son all went back to work. Then, in March of 2019, the family found out that none of the officers responsible for the death of her son would face charges.
At the time, the incident received widespread coverage as the mainstream media reported that Kameron was hit with a "stray bullet." However, this bullet was anything but "stray." The shot that killed young Kameron was deliberately fired at an unarmed woman. In fact, he was hit twice.
The officers' guns did not accidentally go off. Deputies John Aguillon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias and Johnny Longoria all deliberately shot at an unarmed woman, and their fear, poor judgment, and carelessness led to the death of an innocent child.
Video released last year shows a DPS helicopter informing the deputies below that Jones was unarmed but they opened fire anyway, killing her and Kameron in the melee.
While it is certainly a welcome gesture to see that Derek Chauvin has received justice, as the above cases, and the thousands of other similar cases prove, he was the exception to the rule. Until more cops are held accountable for killing unarmed and often innocent people, we can expect more bloodshed.