... No Peace: Black gun owners worried by acquittal in Castile shooting
JESSE J. HOLLAND | 6/27/2017, 11:16 a.m.
Like several similar cases, Castile’s death was shared worldwide on social media. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook because, she said, she wanted to make sure the truth was known.
But videos of Black people dying at the hands of police have led to few convictions.
“I’m sure people of color are going to say, and rightfully so, ‘What is the burden of proof for an officer to be convicted?’” stated Dwayne Crawford, the executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Eric Garner died in July 2014 in New York City after a White officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes. Garner complained that he couldn’t breathe on video captured by onlookers. A grand jury declined to indict that officer or any others involved in the arrest.
Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun tucked into his waistband, was fatally shot by a White Cleveland police officer in November 2014. But a grand jury declined to indict patrolman Timothy Loehmann, who fired the fatal shot, or training officer Frank Garmback. The city settled Rice’s family’s lawsuit for $6 million.
Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was fatally shot by a White officer, Darren Wilson, in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Their confrontation was not captured on video. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson, and the Justice Department opted against civil rights charges. Wilson later resigned.
Only one police officer in recent publicized cases is facing jail time.
South Carolina officer Michael Slager, who is White, shot Black motorist Walter Scott in the back as he fled from a traffic stop. Slager pleaded guilty in May to a federal charge of violating Scott’s civil rights, and a judge will determine his sentence, which could range from probation to life in prison without parole.
Scott’s shooting in April 2015 was captured on cellphone video seen worldwide. It contradicted Slager’s original statement that Scott had attempted to grab his Taser.
“This was a clear-cut case of unnecessary, fatal police violence,” Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color Of Change, said of the Castile case. “District attorneys around the country, from Tulsa to Cleveland to now St. Paul, must be held accountable for their failures to secure justice for victims of police violence.”
Associated Press Writer Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this story.