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The conversation on how crime suspects are treated based on race doesn’t stop at Jayland Walker, a Black man killed while fleeing from police, or Highland Park shooter Robert E. Crimo. We’ve seen consistent acts of police brutality from beatings to shootings before Trayvon Martin. Since 2020, it’s become even more frequent.
At the same time, mass shootings and hate crimes have risen. Per The Washington Post’s police shooting database, Black people are killed by police more than twice the rate of white people. As if police weren’t enough of a threat to Black people, the FBI released a report finding that 60 percent of hate crimes in 2020 were racially motivated. Those are only the ones that went reported.
An Era of Mass Killings:
This year we’ve seen multiple white hate crime suspects and police officers target Black people and communities. However, they always see their way to trial to meet their punishment. Black people usually see a grave first.
Let’s take a look at some of widely known shootings where the white crime suspect lived at the same time a Black one was killed.
Aurora, Colorado - Movie Theater (2012)
July 20, 2012, James Holmes gathered weapons outside a movie theater exit and walked inside tossing a smoke bomb on the floor. He opened fire on a crowd of people, some bullets going through to the room beside it. According to CNN, Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58. He’s currently incarcerated serving 12 life sentences without possibility of parole.
Months later, in December, Breaux Bridge police shot and killed a Black 17-year-old girl named Darnisha Harris for striking a police vehicle while fleeing from a traffic stop, per The Advocate. Authorities say she struck a bystander and another parked car but it was unclear whether her car was moving when she was shot dead.
Derek Chauvin - George Floyd (2020)
George Floyd was stopped by police for allegedly using a fraudulent dollar bill. A struggle ensued as officers tried to arrest him. Reports say Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes, leading to his death.
Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights but not the murder itself, according to USA TODAY. The three other officers who were present are awaiting trial.
Charleston AME Church (2015)
June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof killed nine Black people in the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, reports said. Roof, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, was seen on video high-fiving and fist bumping officers while being arrested, according to CBS News. Per ABC 7 News, officers bought him Burger King before taking him off to jail. Roof is now facing the death penalty.
April 19 of 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested for possession of a switch blade.
Reports say he died from a spinal cord injury he got while in police custody, being transported in a police van. Before he was put in the van, a struggle ensued leading him to have trouble breathing. The officers were indicted on criminal charges including manslaughter but none stuck, per Vox.
Killing of Breonna Taylor (2020)
Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep when a raid of police served a no-knock warrant at their home. Walker claims the officers didn’t announce themselves so he took his licensed firearm with him into the hallway to check the door. He fired a warning shot, unaware it was the police, leading to a hail of bullets coming into the apartment.
Reports say Taylor died by multiple bullet wounds. Only one officer, Brett Hankinson, was indicted on counts of wanton endangerment and shooting blindly inside an apartment. He was found not guilty, per CNN.
Pittsburgh Synagogue (2018)
October 27, 2018, antisemitic shooter Robert Bowers opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue while Sabbath services were taking place. According to NBC News, He killed up to 11 people, wounded several police officers and lived to be taken into custody and treated for his injuries. Bowers is now awaiting trial which is anticipated for 2023, per Tribune-Review.
In the same year, Chinedu Okobi was killed by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies, who were cleared of criminal charges by the country district attorney, per CBS News. Okobi was approached for jaywalking, reports say. Then, after a violent struggle, Okobi was beaten with batons and pepper sprayed leading him to die by cardiac arrest.
Racially Motivated Killing of Ahmaud Arbery (2020)
Ahmaud Arbery was jogging through a neighborhood when he was chased down by three white men in a racially motivated attack. One of them approached him with a shotgun and after a struggle, Ahmaud was struck with a bullet.
According to NPR, the three were found guilty of nine criminal counts including malice murder and felony murder. They suspected Arbery was involved in the burglaries around the neighborhood but instead of reporting him to police, they took his life.
El Paso, Texas - Walmart (2019)
August 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius drove over 11 hours to El Paso, Texas to kill Hispanics at a Walmart. Records say he surrendered to law enforcement while he was driving away, admitting to be the shooter. Per NPR, he killed 22 people and injured 26. He was indicted and charged with capital murder but still awaiting trial.
About three weeks later, Elijah McClain was stopped while walking home from the store. As officers tried to restrain him to the ground, he pleaded for them to let him go, according to CNN. Reports say as McClain was reaching to turn off his music, an officer assumed he reached the firearm. They placed him in a carotid control hold and paramedics injected him with ketamine leading him to become brain dead.
Buffalo Supermarket (2022)
May 14, 2022, Peyton Gendron killed 10 Black people at Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Per NPR, he had not only planned the attack but also aimed specifically for Black people as a part of a “replacement theory” manifesto. He surrendered to the police and was arrested on the scene. Gendron was charged with federal hate crimes and may be facing the death penalty, according to ABC News.
A month later, Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of the head during a struggle with a Grand Rapids police officer. Reports say Lyoya was pulled over for driving on a revoked license as well as three open warrants. He was killed after trying to flee on foot from the officer, Christopher Schurr. Schurr has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, according to CNN.
Missouri Officer Darren Wilson - Michael Brown (2014)
Michael Brown, unarmed, was stopped by Wilson who suspected Brown was involved a burglary. Reports say Wilson shot Brown after a struggle ensued. However, at the time he was shot, his hands were in the air.
According to CNN, Wilson escaped criminal charges for the murder as the grand jury decided not to indict him.