Although this blog was launched in August 2012, it was not until 2014 when I first blogged about a case involving an unarmed person killed by police. It was Jonathan Ferrell. Previously, I blogged about unarmed people killed by private citizens. Trayvon Martin was the first followed by Jordan Davis.
As I understand it, if you access this blog via cellphone, you have to click another button to see the top menu. The top menu includes “Cases/Victims”. A pull-down menu appears when hovering over it. Recently as I started to include three other names on that menu, I was struck with sadness. There are already 127 names.
Most were killed by members of law enforcement. At least one was a member of law enforcement. Some survived the beating or shooting. Most are Black, who are disproportionately killed by law enforcement. Believing in equality and justice for all, the list on the pull-down menu includes Whites, Latinx, Asians, men and women. The cases involve Black and White officers. What is interesting in documenting cases involving Black officers is the number of times they are charged and found guilty, compared to their White counterparts.
Offhand, I only remember one case where a Black officer was acquitted. The victim in that case was 95-year old John Wrana, a WWII veteran. Park Forest, IL officer Craig Taylor shot John in the abdomen with 5 beanbags in rapid succession. John Wrana was in his room in a retirement home when he was killed. He died from internal bleeding. Officer Taylor had a bench trial and was found not guilty.
In September 2018, after I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I lacked the energy and time to write blog posts that required research. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t victims, or trials, or recent news about investigations. Then 2019 arrived and I heard about Javier Ambler II in Texas. I thought that I felt complacent, thinking, “nothing will be done.” It’s now been 15 months and the investigation is still opened. The two deputies involved in Ambler’s death have not provided written statements. LivePD that filmed the incident destroyed the video tape.
After seeing the video of the killing of George Floyd, I was reminded of Javier Ambler II. An officer placed his knee on Ambler who said several times that he could not breathe.
Ethan Saylor also came to mind. Like Floyd, Saylor was not killed by gunshot, but by chocking. His esophagus was broken. Also like George Floyd, Ethan called out for his mother. Ethan Saylor was not Black, but he was different. Ethan was Down Syndrome. None of the 3 deputy sheriffs involved in killing Ethan were charged.
Originally when I began writing this post, my intention was to name the cases where the officers involved were not charged. They are names that others may have forgotten or not known about. Along with Ethan Saylor is Darrien Hunt; Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri; John Crawford III; Mark Anthony Barmore. I wanted to not only inform, but to also honor the victims; to let their families know they are not forgotten. But, that all changed because there — are — just — too — many. (sigh)
Add to that, people who ask what can they do instead of doing what they can.
Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small,
After watching the Michael Brown funeral, I’m in a solemn yet angry mood. I’m angry because of ignorant people who think it’s a fun thing to do to disrespect the dead because of their race. I’m angry that those doing so also claim being of a superior race, and I’m angry that their hypocrisy prevents them from knowing that death does not discriminate.
I’m angry that some people think that cops are gods, rather than men and women who voluntarily chose to be cops along with all of the frailties of mankind. Read the rest of this entry
On January 12, 2013 in Frederick, MD, 26-year-old Ethan Saylor went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” in a theater inside a mall. After the movie, Ethan wanted to see it again. Someone told him he needed to buy another ticket. Ethan had Down syndrome — a genetic condition that impairs physical growth and intelligence. Ethan does not carry cash. He had an IPhone. Because his mom later saw four, 4-1-1 calls on his IPhone, she believes he was using it to try to get information on how to purchase another ticket using his IPhone.
However, the off-duty sheriff deputies moonlighting as mall security didn’t listen to Saylor’s aide who told them to wait it out. Ethan’s mom was on the way and he just needed some time.
The deputies grabbed Ethan out of his seat. A heavy guy weighing 294 lbs, they drug him to the door and face-down, three deputies were on him in a heap putting on handcuffs, with Ethan on the bottom. Witnesses say that Ethan cried out “Ouch!” “Don’t touch me!” “I need help, Mommy.” Then he went silent. When the officers realized Ethan was no longer breathing, they turned him over and tried to resuscitate him.
Ethan’s mom was 5 minutes away from the theater when she received a call diverting her to the hospital.
An autopsy showed that Ethan’s larynx had been crushed and he died by suffocation. The medical examiner ruled Ethan Saylor’s death a homicide.
David Tolleson, Executive Director of the National Down Syndrome Congress, stated, “Advancements for people with disabilities have created more opportunities for inclusion in society, which means more people with disabilities are more likely to be “out in the community. It is critical that law enforcement agencies learn strategies on how to ‘support, serve and protect’ people with disabilities”
A grand jury cleared the three officers of wrongdoing. The case inflamed disability groups, some of which have started online petitions to demand justice for Ethan. Ethan’s sister has started a petition on change.org, requesting Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to conduct an independent investigation and formal training of police.
More on this story here.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On January 23, 2013, I wrote an article on the significance of the Dooley decision. It is a Florida case where the defendant claimed self-defense. Trevor Dooley was found guilty of manslaughter. His case is currently on appeal.
When I first heard of the Dooley case, I expected that he would prevail on his claim of Stand Your Ground because of testimony that Dooley was walking back to his house when David James came up behind him, knocking him to the ground.
After the verdict and when I wrote the article, it was my position that the jury applied the facts to Florida law from the beginning, finding that if not but for the fact that Trevor Dooley left his garage with a loaded gun and approached David James for mouthing off at him, the two would not have come into physical contact.
Likewise, I said that if not but for the fact that George Zimmerman got out of his car with a loaded gun to follow Trayvon, the two would not have come into physical contact. It was my position that the Zimmerman jury would find him guilty of 2nd degree murder, or manslaughter, by applying the law of initial aggressor to the facts.
I was wrong. Read the rest of this entry
I write today with the knowledge that Trayvon Martin’s birthday is coming up on February 5. He would have turned 18. He was killed on February 26, 2012 just shortly after turning 17. Sabrina Fulton said “He’s my son, but he’s your son too”. Her words echo in my head everyday. We have marched, petitioned, and blogged for Trayvon Martin. He undoubtedly became our son too. We, as the general public, have seen much violence being used against our children of any color. We want our children to LIVE longer than us and not be killed walking home with some snacks, or while sitting in a classroom.
We can only imagine what pain and sorrow the family has to endure to not have their child for Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and now his Birthday; a date that to some is just a date.
We, as the extended family of Trayvon Martin, will not forget that date: February 5. We, as the extended family of Trayvon, will not let justice slip away either.
Trayvon Martin in his own way continues to live through us and with us. The idea of his name living on is not understandable to the defense lawyers, George Zimmerman supporters and the like. They will never understand that Trayvon represents a “Stop what the hell is going on in America moment in history”. It is so sad that in these United States we are going back in time, instead of going forward.
It is without a doubt that more and more young black men are targeted by Police, Laws, Schools and people who think people of color have no rights whatsoever.
This is why we shall not forget Trayvon Martin’s birthday nor the date of his death.
Mark and Sondra Osterman have written a book where they refer to George Zimmerman as the most hated man in America.
Hated? Maybe by some. Some people think he is the most shameful man in America. Nevertheless, those who probably dislike George Zimmerman or think that he is shameful might be;
1. Responsible gun owners
2. Responsible patients with ADHD.
3. Responsible neighborhood watch volunteers.
4. People that don’t lie to the court.
5. People who tell the truth when under oath.
6. People who don’t wear band aids intended for fingers between their eyes.
7. People who don’t put band aids intended for fingers on their head.
8. People who don’t put band aids on anything after the physician’s assistant examined them, told them to apply soap and water and didn’t apply bandages.
9. People who don’t abandon their jobs and homes within 24 hrs of exercising self-defense when they are innocent.
10. People who donate money for specific use who are betrayed by having the money used to buy expensive cell phones, ITune purchases, and to pay off past-due debts.
11. Dog owners with a neighbor who buys a gun to kill dogs.
12. People who like walking in the rain.
13. The criminally accused who wear GPS ankle bracelets while free on bail and don’t whine about not being able to leave the state where they reside.
14. Parents of teenage boys who walk to the store and can’t walk home without a grown man assuming they are “suspicious.”
15. Parents who don’t want grown men following their children.
16. Teachers who issue discipline who don’t want to be afraid that doing so labels their students as “thugs.”
17. Teenagers who don’t want to be labeled “thugs” because they wear hoodies.
18. People who don’t like seeing George Zimmerman smirk when saying he’s the only witness to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
19. People who know that shooting a gun with one hand can result in recoil that might hit you in the nose.
20. People who don’t like others firing a gun in their backyard.
21. People who would never jump on the back of a person they just fired a gun at, and who they are afraid of.
22. People who say “Let the court decide” and shut up, rather than write a book and/or go on television and radio giving the defendant’s story before the court decides.
23. People who don’t like bullies and cowards.
24. People who can’t stand killers who get on national television and say “It wasn’t my gun. It wasn’t his gun. It was THE gun.”