'Say their names': Stories of Black Americans killed by police

ByAlex Meier KGO logo
Sunday, June 7, 2020
George Floyd protests: Police, demonstrators clash nationwide
Highlights after the country's most significant weekend of protests in a half-century.

After a Kentucky grand jury indicted one former police officer on Wednesday for his role in Breonna Taylor's death, many were reminded a grim roster of African Americans to be killed by police.

In demonstration after demonstration across the country, protesters have been seen carrying signs that include the names of other Blacks whose lives ended violently in encounters with police.

Here are a few of those names:

George Floyd died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck even as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. Floyd's death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests around the world.

Chauvin, along with three other officers, were later charged.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting.

On Sept. 11, the former officers appeared in court for a hearing on several issues, including the prosecution's request to hold a joint trial. Attorneys for the four officers say each client should get his own trial.

READ MORE: 4 ex-officers in George Floyd's death blame one another, seek own trials

Elijah McClain died in 2019 when police in Colorado used a stranglehold to arrest him and paramedics injected him with an excessive dose of a powerful sedative.

During the struggle, one officer shouts that McClain had tried to reach for another officer's gun, according to body camera footage. The county coroner ruled back in Nov. 2019 that McClain's cause of death was "undetermined."

This month, city council members in Aurora voted to ban the use of the sedative. It will stay in effect until the city-sponsored independent investigation of McClain's death is complete. Federal and state officials are conducting separate investigations.

READ MORE: Elijah McClain case: Death after arrest by Colorado police receiving renewed attention

Philando Castile was killed by a Minnesota police officer in July 2016. The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook.

The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted of all charges in a jury trial in 2017. Castile's mother reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death.

READ MORE: Philando Castile family reaches $3M settlement in death

Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury decided not to indict Wilson. Brown's death pushed the Black Lives Matter movement into the national spotlight.

Terence Crutcher was fatally shot in 2016 by a white Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby, who was later acquitted of manslaughter.

Eric Garner was killed in 2014 when white New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold. His dying words -- "I can't breathe" -- became a national rallying cry against police brutality years before Floyd's death. Pantaleo was not charged.

Alton Sterling was shot and killed by white ex-police officer Blane Salamoni during a struggle outside a Baton Rouge convenience store in July 2016. Louisiana's attorney general ruled out criminal charges against the two officers involved in March 2018, nearly 11 months after the Justice Department ruled out federal criminal charge.

Sterling's family sued the city, its police department and former police chief and the officers. This month, another white officer who assisted in Sterling's arrest was dismissed from the wrongful death lawsuit.

READ MORE: No charges for Baton Rouge officers who killed Alton Sterling in 2016

Oscar Grant was pulled by police from a Bay Area Rapid Transit train early on New Year's Day 2009 and killed by Johannes Mehserle in one of the first police shootings captured on video by bystanders. An Oakland plaza now bears his name.

Freddie Gray died after suffering major spinal injuries while being transported in a Baltimore police van in 2015. Six officers were charged in his death and arrest. Three were acquitted, and the state's attorney general dropped the other cases.

Botham Jean was shot and killed in 2018 inside his apartment by white Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who said she mistook his apartment for her own. Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

An undated photo of 26-year-old Botham Jean, who was fatally shot by a Dallas officer who allegedly went into the wrong apartment on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

Atatiana Jefferson was caring for her 8-year-old nephew in Oct. 2019 when white Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean shot and killed her through a back window of her home while responding to a call about an open front door. Dean was charged with murder.

Bettie Jones was struck by a bullet from Chicago officer Robert Rialmo, who was responding to a domestic dispute at a neighbor's house that also left 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier dead in 2015. Rialmo was fired nearly four years later.

Laquan McDonald was gunned down by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. Police video released in 2015 showed Van Dyke firing 16 bullets into McDonald, many after the teen had crumpled to the ground. Van Dyke was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Tamir Rice was shot and killed by white Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann in 2014. Rice, age 12, was playing with a pellet gun. Cleveland Police Department fired Loehmann in 2017 once it was revealed that he was deemed unfit for duty in a previous police job.

Dominique White was armed when Topeka officers, responding to a report of gunfire, confronted him and fatally shot him in 2017. While an internal police investigation found the officers followed department policies, protesters still have questions, as do relatives who have filed a lawsuit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.