Monday night marked the passing of 1,000 people killed by police in the U.S. this year. Although officers claim these killings were justified, video evidence and witness statements often contradict the official narrative.
In contrast, 105 law enforcement officers have died since the beginning of the year. Last year, the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund reported 117 officer fatalities. Instead of waging a fictitious war on cops, officer fatalities have actually been declining since 2007 and 2001, which reported 192 and 241 deaths respectively.
According to KilledByPolice.net, police in the U.S. have killed at least 1,000 people this year and 1,108 people last year. Although The Guardian has only counted 960 deaths, it appears that the British newspaper is not quite up-to-date. But according to The Guardian’s preliminary investigation, approximately 1,100 people will die at the hands of police officers before the end of the year. And not all of them will be justified.
On the evening of August 26, three Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies allegedly beat a mentally ill man to death in a California jail. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder with a history of mental illness, Michael James Tyree, 31, was waiting to be transferred to a 24-hour adult treatment program when deputies Matthew Farris, Jereh Lubrin, and Rafael Rodriguez entered his cell and assaulted Tyree for roughly 20 minutes as he begged for mercy.
According to his autopsy, Tyree was beaten so savagely that he suffered lacerations to his liver and spleen, which led to internal bleeding. When Tyree’s body was found an hour later unresponsive, naked, and covered in vomit and feces, the deputies eventually admitted to using force to restrain him because Tyree had refused to take his medication. On September 3, the deputies were charged with murder, conspiracy, and assault under the color of authority.
On July 26, Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller ran towards 19-year-old Zachary Hammond’s car with his gun drawn as Hammond’s date, Tori Morton, allegedly sold a few grams of marijuana to an undercover cop. According to Chief John Covington, Hammond drove toward Lt. Tiller in an attempt to murder him. Fearing for his life, Tiller shot Hammond twice at point-blank range, killing him.
But according to Tiller’s recently released dashcam video, Hammond was clearly trying to escape when Tiller attempted to step in front of the moving vehicle. By foolishly placing himself in danger, Tiller created an exigent circumstance that allowed him to legally justify killing a teenager during a minor pot bust.
In a letter from Hammond’s attorney to the FBI, a witness has come forward describing officers planting evidence under Hammond’s body and high-fiving his dead hand after the shooting. Although police found no weapon or drugs on Hammond, Chief Covington claimed that a white powdery substance was found at the scene.
On July 19, University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing pulled over Samuel DuBose, 43, for driving without a front license plate. Although Tensing claimed that he was almost killed by DuBose’s fleeing vehicle, the officer’s body cam video revealed that Tensing was not dragged by DuBose’s car and instead immediately fell backward after shooting the suspect in the head. On July 29, Tensing was fired from the department and charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter.
While attending a rock concert in Southaven, Mississippi, Troy Goode, 30, allegedly took LSD before police arrested him for running in circles through a field on July 18. Video captured from a bystander showed Goode being hogtied with his face buried in the mattress of a stretcher and a strap over the back of his head to restrict movement. The officers ordered the witnesses to stop recording the incident and threatened to arrest Goode’s family if they attempted to visit him at the Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto where he died two hours later.
While riding in his horse-drawn buggy on July 8, Jonathan Sanders, 39, saw Stonewall police officer Kevin Herrington arguing with a man at a gas station and asked the officer to stop bothering the man. After directing a racial slur at Sanders, Herrington began following in his patrol car and turned on his police lights directly behind the buggy, which startled Sanders’ horse. As his horse took off running, Sanders fell off the buggy before attempting to chase after his horse.
Grabbing a headlamp tied around Sanders’ head, Herrington pulled the strap down to his neck and continued choking Sanders for twenty minutes. When Herrington finally released his chokehold, Sanders was unconscious with blood pouring out of his mouth. A preliminary autopsy report ruled his death a homicide by manual asphyxiation. With assistance from the FBI, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation began looking into his death.
On the morning of April 19, Freddie Gray, 25, passed away after Baltimore police officers allegedly damaged his spine, which had been 80 percent severed, during an arrest for possession of an ‘illegal knife.’ Baltimore police officers Caesar Goodson, Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, William Porter, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White were all charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office. Accused of administering a “rough ride” while driving the van and bearing direct responsibility for causing Gray’s spinal injuries, Officer Goodson was also charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter, and two counts of vehicular manslaughter.
At 9:33 a.m. on April 4, North Charleston Patrolman Michael Slager pulled over Walter “Lamar” Scott, 50, for driving with a broken brake light. After Scott fled on foot, a bystander named Feidin Santana recorded a cellphone video of Slager shooting the unarmed man in the back. Three days later, Slager was fired and arrested for murder.
At 8:25 p.m. on February 28, Eaton County Sgt. Jonathan Frost pulled over 17-year-old Deven Guilford for flashing his high beams at the officer. Although two other drivers had flashed their high beams at Sgt. Frost earlier that night to warn him of his new vehicle’s extremely bright headlights, Frost confronted the teen and immediately became aggressive as Guilford attempted to flex his rights during the traffic stop. After Guilford began recording the encounter on his cellphone, Frost pulled out his Taser and ordered the teenager to lie facedown on the ground.
As Guilford complied, Frost grabbed his phone and threw it to the side of the road before attempting to handcuff Guilford. While lying on his stomach, Guilford continued to appeal to the sergeant until Frost shot him in the back with his Taser. According to Frost’s police report, the 17-year-old managed to knock the sergeant down and repeatedly punch him in the face. Instead of fighting back, Frost pulled out his service weapon and shot Guilford seven times in less than five seconds.
On February 10, Pasco police officers Adrian Alaniz, Ryan Flanagan, and Adam Wright shot Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, to death for throwing rocks. On September 9, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Sant declined to file criminal charges against the officers.
Not included on the list are several people who died in police custody this year along with an unarmed man who nearly died after officers shot him in the head. On June 19, LAPD officers shot Walter DeLeon, 49, in the head for reportedly flagging them down with a towel in his hand. A witness recorded the cops handcuffing his body as blood poured from his head wound. After spending weeks in a coma, DeLeon awoke blind, nearly deaf, deformed, and confined to a wheelchair due to neurological damage.
Although they died in police custody, not enough evidence exists to determine whether Ralkina Jones, 37, Kindra Chapman, 18, Rexdale Henry, 53, Sandra Bland, 28, or Sarah Lee Circle Bear, 24, were killed by police. Their deaths were ruled as suicides, overdoses, or remain medically inconclusive.
On Monday night, KilledByPolice.net reported that cops have killed at least 1,000 people since the beginning of the year. In typical fashion, the police have initially refused to release the name of the 1,000th person killed by cops this year or any details of the shooting. According to D.C. police, a carjacking suspect died at a local hospital after engaging in a shootout with officers. But without transparency or video evidence, we may never know what actually occurs behind the thin blue line.