The guilty verdict in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has shed light on murders committed by law enforcement officers in America. But the vast majority of such cases in the United States go unnoticed. To illustrate this fact, the Associated Press detailed how at least six people died at the hands of police within 24 hours of the Chauvin verdict.
Some of these deaths, especially those of Makia Bryant and Andrew Brown Jr., have led to more calls for accountability and mass protests, while others have gone so unnoticed that the name of the person killed is not even known. “In some cases, little is known about the lives of those killed and what happened in their final moments,” the publication notes.
At the moments when a judge in Minneapolis was reading the jury verdict in the Chauvin case, Officer Nicholas Reardon in Columbus, Ohio, killed Makia Bryant, a 16-year-old black girl. Authorities say Reardon opened fire to protect the girl, whom Bryant allegedly attacked with a knife. However, according to witnesses, the teen was fighting off a group of adult girls who were insulting and attacking her outside her home. Moreover, the victim called the police herself, but the patrol unit that arrived, without warning, saw a knife in her hand and shot her.
The footage of the killing, which has surfaced on the Internet, has led to protests in Columbus. The public was outraged as to why a police officer did not hesitate to open fire, firing four shots at such a young girl. Even the White House commented on the tragic incident. “The Columbus police killing of 16-year-old Makia Bryant is tragic,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. – She was a child.” In contrast, the chairman of the National Fraternal Order of Police called the officer’s actions “an act of heroism.”
In San Antonio, Texas, two men died in separate incidents. First, two police officers confronted a man on a bus who was allegedly armed. The officers fired shots without warning, and the unidentified man died. Later that day, police were met with fire when they responded to a call that a man had killed a man. The officers returned fire and killed the suspect, who was also unidentified.
That same evening, a 31-year-old man from Worcester, Massachusetts, called emergency services claiming he had a bomb and would detonate it. Law enforcement officers attempted to negotiate with Phet Guwonwong, who was wearing a bulletproof vest and appeared to have a rifle. The officer opened fire when Guwonwong moved toward the police and killed him.
The next morning, police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, killed Andrew Brown Jr. as officers tried to serve him with an arrest warrant. A witness said police shot and killed Brown as he was trying to evade police. Seven police officers were placed on administrative leave because of mass protests that continued Saturday. Residents demanded that authorities release the police officer’s bodycam footage. Governor Roy Cooper also called for the release of the breast camera footage “as soon as possible.”
Law enforcement officers in Escondido, California, killed a white man who, according to police, tried to hit a police officer with a metal pole. Officers arrived on the scene after a call about a man smashing cars with a metal object. The man has not been identified, but he was a homeless man who was well known to police and had been arrested 188 times since 2002. Numerous attempts have reportedly been made by mental health professionals to help him, but they have never been successful. “Here’s someone, according to police, who was very well known with mental health issues but never got the help he needed,” homeless advocate Michael McConnell told the San Diego Union-Tribune. – “He’s dead because our system betrayed him, plain and simple.
“It remains to be seen” whether any of the officers involved in these killings will be charged, the AP concludes.