US Riots: 10 Times Police Brutality Resulted in Protests like George Floyd
There are often times when police have to take harsh means to keep peace in the society but what if police is the main reason for the protests and riots.
Everyone is familiar with the George Floyd incident which took place in Minneapolis – Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota on May 26, 2020. Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for more than eight minutes to arrest him while he was crying “I can’t Breathe”. This brutality killed him.
In response to this police brutality George Floyd protests and riots were started which within five days spread throughout United States and then worldwide. There are protests and riots going on in more 200 cities of United States and those seeking justice for Floyd death are supporting internationally. Due to these US riots, 12 cities have declared curfew and 15 states have called in the National Guard. Till now more than 6000 people have been arrested and more than 15 have died.
This is not the first time United States are facing protests and riots because of police brutality. Race riots because of the police brutality are happening in US from early 90’s or even earlier. Most of the riots caused by police brutality are associated with racial profiling. There might be some police officers who view a particular subset of population to be notorious and deserving of punishment. According to the study in 2019 a colored face has a higher likelihood of being killed by the police than a white men or women.
Below in this article I have stated 10 incidents when police brutality resulted in US riots and protests just like George Floyd’s:
1. Watts Riots (1965)
The Watts riots also known as Watts Rebellion took place in Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1965.
Marquette Frye, 21 year old African-American man was driving his mother’s car with his brother Ronald.. He was on parole for robbery at that time. While driving he was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer Lee Minikus for reckless driving. Officer placed Frye under arrest and radioed for his vehicle to be impounded.
Ronald walked to their house nearby and called their mother Rena Price to the arrested location. The situation got worse after the arrivals of Rena price and it was heard that even shotgun was pulled out by the officers. Later the community members were told that Frye was beaten badly and a pregnant woman was kicked. Hearing this, mobs formed and six days of civil unrest and riots followed.
Nearly 4,000 members of California Army National Guard were called to suppress the protest. Watts Riots resulted in 34 deaths, 1032 injured, 3438 arrested and over $40 million property damage.
2. Miami Riots (1980)
Miami Riots were race riots occurred in early 1980 when thirty three year old Arthur McDuffie died at the hands of four police officers.
Four officers Ira Diggs, William Hanlon, Michael Watts and Alex Marrero were chasing McDuffie. He was riding his Kawasaki bike with traffic citations and a suspended license at 130 km/hr.
When officers caught him they, in words of the prosecutor, cracked McDuffie skull “like an egg”.
He was taken to the hospital and died four days later. He suffered multiple skull fractures.
Police made deliberate evidence to show that McDuffie crashed on his own but the medical examiner proved that he was beaten to death.
Six officers were incited for manslaughter and fabricating physical evidence. A seventh was charged with tampering with evidence.
After the verdict more than 5,000 attended the protest at the Downtown Miami which changed to riots after some hours.
During Miami riots 18 died, 350 injured, 600 arrested and over $100 million property destroyed.
In 1981 Dade County paid McDuffie’s family a settlement of $1.1 million after they filed a civil lawsuit against the officials.
3. Los Angeles Riots (1992)
Los Angeles riots were occurred in 1992 when a trail jury acquitted four LAPD officers who were videotaped while beating and arresting Rodney king.
During 1991, Rodney was driving in his car with two passengers when California Highway Patrol tries to stop him. Rodney did not stop at first but after a long chase by the police he stopped.
When Rodney came out of his car five LAPD officers tasered him and kicked him continuously before arresting him.
This incident was captured in a videotape by local civilian George Holliday from his nearby apartment.
Later when these officers were released by the trail jury even after watching the tape protests and riots begin.
63 people died during the riots in which nice were shot by law enforcement personnel and one by National Guard.
2,383 people were injured, 12,111 arrested and over $1 billion property destroyed.
4. Cincinnati Riots (2001)
The Cincinnati riots were the civil disorder which took place in Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio in April 2001.
19 year old Timothy Thomas was given numerous traffic citations. He was cited with 21 violations, most of them were nonviolent like not wearing a seat belt or driving without a license.
Nine officers pursued him to arrest him because of these citations in the middle of the night. Roach a patrol officer was surprised by him when Thomas rounded a corner in a dark alley. He shot him in the chest and said he believed that Thomas was reaching for a gun.
He was rushed to the hospital but died of his wounds.
Later a peaceful protest was taking place in the heart of the city on Fountain Square which turned into a riot after some time.
There was not deaths reported but people were injured. 158 people were arrested in civil disobedience and 800 for curfew violation.
After the riots it was determined that the riots caused $3.6 million in damage to business and more than $2 million to the city.
5. Shooting of Trayvon Martin (2012)
17 year old African-American Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman who was a private investigator.
Trayvon Martin was visiting his relative while Zimmerman was on a neighborhood watch. When Zimmerman say Martin in a hoodie he suspected him of a thief or a druggist. Zimmerman followed him and called the police.
Later violent encounter took place between him and Martin. In the end he shot Martin near the house where he was staying.
Zimmerman was found not guilty the jury because they believed that he did everything in self defense.
Peaceful protests were held in the memory of Martin. People gathered with candles wearing hoodies to protest against the jury verdict.
Even Barrack Obama gave a 20 minute speech in the White House and spoke about the trail and race relations in United States. He said black men in United States commonly suffered racial profiling.
One week after the verdict peaceful rallies, vigils and marches were held in more than 100 cities of United States to protest against racial profiling.
6. Shooting of Micheal Brown (2014)
18 year old Michael Brown Jr. was shot by 28 year old white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the city of Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014.
Brown has robbed a store earlier morning and Wilson was following him from that time. Later in the afternoon he found Brown with his friend Dorian Johnson walking in the middle of Canfield Drive.
Wilson told them to step aside. Quarrel between Brown and Wilson occurred after the former reached through the window of the police SUV.
Wilson shot Brown in the hand because of his reaction. Later Wilson fired his gun again and hit Wilson 6 times. Brown was unarmed and died on the street.
This event ignites fire in the people of Ferguson and the protest of the murder followed. Protester used slogan ”Hands up, don’t shoot” as they believe that Brown was shouting these words when officer shot him six times. Both peaceful and violent protests continued for a week.
Wilson was released and found not guilty by the Jury. Since Darren Wilson also have some injuries so the incident was considered self defense.
7. Death of Eric Garner (2014)
Garner was an African-American man who was arrested by the NYPD more than 30 times for assault, robbery and resisting arrest since 1980.
On July 17, 2014 he was approached by the officers as they were suspecting him of selling single cigarettes from the packs without tax stamps.
Garner told the police that he is not selling any cigarettes and that he is been tired of this harassment by the police.
One of the officers named Pantaleo tried to arrest Garner but he resisted and refused to cooperate.
Pantaleo then placed his arms around Garner neck and wrestled him to the ground. Garner had some previous breathing problem history.
Just like George Floyd he repeated the words “I can’t breathe” more than 11 times but he became unconscious after some time. The whole event was captured on the camera and the video tape was circulated in the media.
He was declared dead after he reached the hospital.
Later when jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, public protest, rallies and riots with charges of police brutality were made by the protestors throughout United States.
Garner family was given $5.9 million as a settlement.
In 2019, Pantaleo was fired from the officer job, which was 5 years after the death of Garner.
8. Death of Freddie Gray (2015)
25 year old black man Freddie Carlos Gray Jr. was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department on April 12, 2015. He was charged for possessing a knife. While officers were taking him in their police van he fell into coma. He was taken to the hospital and later died on April 19, 2015. According to the reports his death was due to injuries to the spinal cord.
The six officers were suspected of killing Gray and were charged with “second degree murder”.
Gray’s death resulted in protests and riots all around Baltimore. It was reported that one of the protest in downtown Baltimore turned violent which resulted in 34 arrests and 15 police officers injured.
After Gray funeral the riots intensifies with looting and burning of building and shops. Baltimore was under curfew for seven days.
$6.4 million were given to the Gray’s family as settlement.
9. Shooting of Philando Castile (2016)
Philando Castile, 32 year old African American man was driving with his partner Diamond Reynolds and four year old daughter on July 6, 2016. At 9.00 p.m. he was pulled over by Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer from Minnesota. Yanez asked for license and registration from Castile and then there was some misunderstanding between the two. Yanez thought that Castile had a gun and was going to pull it out, so he shot him seven times from close range.
Castile was hit 5 times and died at the hospital. Reynolds posted a live stream video on Facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
There were protests and riots for months due to this incident. Due to these protests Yanez was charged with manslaughter and second degree murder.
But he was acquitted of all charges by the jury. Later he was fired from the job by the City of Saint Anthony.
$2.995 million was given to Castile family as a settlement.
Lawsuit by Castile’s girlfriend settled for $800,000.
10. Shooting of Justine Damond (2017)
40 year old Australian American woman, Justine Damond called 9-1-1 on July 15,2017 because he heard the noise of some women from back of his house. She said on the phone that it looks like a sound of sex or a rape.
Mohamed Noor, a Minneapolis Police Department officer with his partner reached the location and checked all the allies near Damond house but found nothing.
Later when they were leaving his partner heard a sound and both were shocked by Damond who approached their side window. In this shocking moment Noor shot Damond in the chest and died.
In 2019, Noor was sentenced 12.5 years in prison for third-degree murder and manslaughter.
There were protests and marches in honor of Damond throughout United States.
$20 millions were given to Damond family as a settlement.
These are just handful of incident caused by the police brutality in United States. These type of incident are occurring in US from far earlier than nineteenth century and police brutality have caused uncounted death.
At last, I will just pray to god that everything become alright again and George Floyd soul rest in peace.