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Thursday, February 15, 2024

The innocent black civilians whose killings have reignited protests across the US

The increased killings of innocent black civilians at the hands of police officers have sparked mass outrage and protests in the US.

Their names are angrily chanted at demonstrations across the United States: they are the Black Americans who have been violently killed this year at the hands of police or civilians have galvanized protests around the world.

What started with negligence and discrimination of the black community in the US by the police force has turned into a never ending episode of increasingly violent killings as protests carry on but have not been able to solve the racial issue as of yet.

Breonna Taylor

A 26-year-old emergency medical technician, she was killed in a police shooting in her own apartment.

The incident took place March 13 in the large southern city of Louisville, Kentucky, when three plainclothes police officers executing a search warrant burst into Taylor’s apartment late at night.

Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her, grabbed a gun and exchanged fire with the officers. He later said he thought they were criminals.

The officers, who had not activated their body cameras as required, shot Taylor eight times, killing her; a police sergeant was also injured.

Read more: Sikh man ties turban in Times Square as a protest against increased racism in the US 

The three later filed an after-action report that was found to be rife with errors. They were subsequently suspended.

But more than five months later, none of them has been arrested or charged, and tensions in the Kentucky community remain sharp.

Black stars like Beyonce, LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey have repeatedly demanded that justice be done in the case.

George Floyd

The 46-year-old resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota died on May 25 after being pinned to the pavement by a white officer who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes even as Floyd gasped that he could not breathe.

Read more: Officer charged with Floyd murder makes first court appearance

The shockingly public nature of Floyd’s death — which bystanders filmed and then posted on social media — sparked an enormous mobilization nationwide, as protesters took to the streets to denounce systemic racism and police brutality.

The groundswell of outrage reached beyond American borders, prompting huge demonstrations around the world against the mistreatment of ethnic minorities and the rewriting of colonial history.

Read more: US judge issues gag order: Is global “Floyd movement” in danger?

The face of Floyd, a father of three whose last job was as a security guard, has become a symbol brandished in anti-racist marches everywhere.

Ahmaud Arbery

This unarmed 25-year-old was gunned down in broad daylight in February as he was jogging in a residential neighborhood in the town of Brunswick, in southern Georgia. Two white men, a father and a son, had pursued him in their truck after taking him for a burglar.

Outrage over the incident exploded after a video, taken by a third man, emerged on social media — particularly because two months after the shooting, no arrests had been made.

Read more: George Clooney calls ‘racism’ the America’s pandemic, reacts to killing of George Floyd

Amid spreading public indignation, the three were charged with murder. But six months after the killing, it remains unclear why it took 74 days for charges to be filed when the facts of the incident were known long before that.

Jacob Blake

The 29-year-old was gravely wounded when a policeman fired seven or eight shots at him as he tried to get into his car on Sunday in Kenosha, a city in the north-central state of Wisconsin.

The scene was filmed by someone present and the two police officers who were trying to stop or arrest Blake have been suspended.

With damage to his spinal cord, Blake is likely to be permanently paralyzed, his father said.

A family lawyer said Blake had attempted to break up an argument between two women.

He was shot by a policeman pursuing him as he opened the door to his car — as three of his children watched in horror.

Read more: George Floyd’s murder: Violent protests spread across the US

Coming three months after the death of George Floyd, Blake’s shooting, the newest violent killing of a black man in the US, has touched off a new round of sometimes violent protests in several cities.

In Kenosha, two people were killed late Tuesday by a shooter suspected of being part of a vigilante group allegedly trying to prevent vandalism.

A 17-year-old teenager was arrested on murder charges in connection with the shootings.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk