Why have 200 Americans been executed by US police since the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson?

ferguson policeBy Simon Davies (with additional research by James Cohen)

Six months have passed since US police in Ferguson MO murdered an unarmed teenager in the act of surrender and then subsequently slaughtered a mentally ill man. The events sparked widespread  disquiet in America about the militarization of law enforcement agencies.

In the six months since those killings, another two hundred Americans have been executed by police, with little or no resulting controversy. A similar magnitude of denial, obfuscation, deception and self protection that characterised the Michael Brown killing also permeates the vast majority of these cases.

US police are implicated in the shooting deaths of around five hundred people a year. Indeed the use of deadly force by police is a surprisingly common occurrence in many countries. Two days before the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson MO, police in Los Angeles had killed an unarmed mentally ill black resident. Four days after the Powell killing, Ottawa police shot dead a mentally ill teenager. In each case, police responded with obfuscation..

Much has been said of the institutional rot that has created this tragic situation. The core problem is that police have become increasingly paranoid and risk averse, often crushed between the influences of disintegrated public trust and neurotic, reactionary political masters. This squeeze has helped nurture an escalation of police power that reaches far beyond anything that could have been imagined twenty years ago.

In the six months since those killings, another two hundred Americans have been executed by police, with little or no resulting controversy. A similar magnitude of denial, obfuscation, deception and self protection that characterised the Michael Brown killing also permeates the vast majority of these cases.

Fueled by rhetoric about an increasingly fragile ”thin blue line” that stands between order and chaos, police across the world have reorganized themselves into quasi-military and security units that are often so paranoid and unstable that the thin blue line has now shifted to within the police forces themselves. The experience of recent police killings in the US has shown that many forces have become so cynical and aggressive that they have lost perspective and balance, mutating into isolated centers of power that defy the normal rules of accountability.

Increasingly though, as the instances below highlight, citizens are taking action to ensure full disclosure of the facts.

Below are just a few of the recent episodes of murder and misconduct that we hope will help build the momentum for reform of a fundamentally ill-equipped and unstable police population.

Dec 30th 2014 – New Jersey, A black man is assassinated after stepping out of his car with hands raised, apparently posing zero immediate threat. Police claim they saw a gun in the glove compartment.


Location – Cleveland Ohio, November 22 2014 –  12 year old Tamir Rice is shot in the abdomen for playing with a toy gun. She dies 9 hours later. Police tackle his sister who tries to comfort the dying boy.


Aftermath video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNZMuSwzTeA

Jan. 29, 2015  – Stockton California A man armed with a hammer is shot three times and killed by police in front of his family. He was holding a hammer at the time and officers set a k9 on him. He hit back at the k9 with the hammer and then was assassinated.

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/police-stockton-caught-camera-multiple-witnesses-shooting-man-times-witnesses-outraged/ (videos attached)


Location –Philadelphia (Published on Feb 7th 2015)

Two police who were indicted for brutality two years after they assaulted Najee Rivera while he was riding his scooter. Rivera suffered orbital bone fractures and he had lacerations to his head, yet was charged with aggravated assault.


Alabama, Feb 6th 2015 – An Indian man visiting his son in Alabama was stopped and frisked. A language barrier results in police violently forcing him to the ground, leaving him paralyzed.


http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/16/it-was-devastating-a-family-struggles-to-recover-from-brutal-alabama-beating Video attached

Location Pasco Washington, Feb 10th 2015

Antonio Zambrano-Monte was shot by police after he allegedly threw rocks at vehicles and at Pasco officers. The family has filed a $25 million dollar claim against the city alleging the unarmed man was killed by three officers “execution style”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlQnjr3ff_0 (video attached)

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/breaking-video-surfaces-showing-cops-publicly-executing-man-ran-hands/ (video attached again)


Location Denver (More then one incident listed, article published Feb 16th 2015).

On Jan. 26, Jessie Hernandez, a 17-year-old gender-nonconforming Latina, was shot to death. This was the fourth shooting by Denver police into a moving car, an action which violates police policy.  The surviving occupants of the car said that after Jessie was shot the car went out of control.  Jessie’s family has asked for a federal investigation due to their mistrust of the Denver police and prosecutors. Jessie’s mother broke down as she spoke to the crowd about “raising money to bury her child”

Three similar examples are found in the article.


Location Norfolk (Published Jan 28th 2015)

London Colvin, a 21-year-old junior at the HBCU, claims that two police officers held her down while a canine attacked her. This violation took place while she was being arrested for not giving information about a fight she was not involved in.

According to Potomac Local, 21-year-old London Colvin, who is also a private in the Army Reserves, was at an off-campus party when a fight broke out around 2:15 a.m. Sunday. Colvin reportedly refused to give officers information about what took place.


Police misconduct – Location Los Angeles California. No dates or names revealed. Article published Jan 04 2014

Many counts of misconducts are listed from sheriffs to the department themselves, some include “Recent misconduct investigations of deputies of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department included rape, smuggling heroin into jail, stealing money from a narcotics arrest and misuse of a department helicopter, an oversight report details.


Police misconduct / brutality- Location East New York, Brooklyn (Date published- Feb 11th, 2015)

Officer Peter Liang discharged his weapon in a darkened stair case of a housing project in Brooklyn, mortally wounding an innocent man Mr. Akai Gurley. The shot ricocheted off a wall and into Gurley’s chest. For four minutes Officer Liang spoke with his partner about whether he should inform his supervisors about the shot fired. Gurley was an innocent man that just happened to enter the stairwell of his housing project.

“On Wednesday, Officer Liang was charged in Mr. Gurley’s death after a grand jury handed up a six-count indictment against him. In laying out the allegations against the officer, including a charge of second-degree manslaughter, the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, provided the most detailed account yet of what investigators believe happened inside 2724 Linden Boulevard on the night of Nov. 20.”


Location Newark New Jersey. Date Feb 13th, 2015

The criminal investigation of three police officers who murdered Abdul Kamal in 2013 ended on Friday 13th. The 30 year old man had reportedly broken into his wife’s apartment unarmed, refused to take his hands out of his pockets and was shot 15 times -13 out of 15 shots made contact.

After using pepper spray in an attempt  to subdue the man, officers felt it was easier just too take him out. None of the officers names are being released and all of them are still on active duty with the Irvington Police department. The Grand Jury has decided not to indict the officers, and they continue protecting Americans.


Location- Longview Texas
Date published. Jan 26th, 2015.

17-year-old Kristiana Coignard was shot dead by three police officers in the lobby of the Longview Police Department. Coignard arrived at the station around 6:30 p.m. and asked to talk to an officer. Police say the girl was “brandishing a weapon” before she was shot four times.” The three officers, who have not been identified, have been placed on leave. The investigation of Coignard’s death is now being handled by the Texas Rangers.

“The incident, at this point, is shrouded in mystery. Officials could not “confirm the type of weapon Coignard brandished at the officers.” Beyond the alleged, unspecified weapon, virtually no details about the events that immediately preceded Coignard’s death have been released. Coignard’s death also raises questions about use of force protocols in the United States. British citizens, for example, “are about100 times less likely to be shot by police, according to the Economist.”