Police Violence Amid George Floyd Protests Causing Deaths And Serious Injuries
The long list of names killed due to police violence is growing.
David McAtee, Sean Monterrosa, Jamel Floyd. These are just some of the names of the people killed by law enforcement as anti-racist protests enter their second week across America.
When protestors took to the streets seeking justice for George Floyd, the police action was swift with mounting evidence of violent cops overreaching their powers. Stories slowly trickled in of killings and murders, some perpetrated by the cops and others amidst general unrest.
The general observation has been that protesting police brutality is often met with more police brutality, and it can be life-threatening.
Louisville has been a particular flashpoint as animus to the police has grown after 26-year old EMT Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was killed in her apartment after police performed a no-knock warrant despite Taylor’s apartment being the wrong address.
While the National Guard and Louisville police were enforcing a curfew, barbecue owner David McAtee allowed fleeing protestors into his business. From released footage, it appears law enforcement shot pepper bullets at the door of McAtee’s restaurant, and in the commotion McAtee returned fire before law enforcement shot him dead, firing 18 shots in his direction.
The aggressive police tactics are documented on video, and the actions of the Louisville police contravened their policy on dispersing nonviolent protests. These same tactics have been on display across the nation, and it’s called into question the role of police in America.
Sean Monterrosa: Killed Kneeling
Sean Monterrosa was working for a better America, and the San Francisco Chronicle reported he sent his sister a petition to sign to demand justice for George Floyd, an hour before the police gunned him down.
The 22-year-old was in Vallejo, a Bay area suburb, when cops responded to a looting of a Walgreens pharmacy. Monterrosa was kneeling and surrounding to the cops when a police officer shot from his vehicle and killed Monterrosa.
After widespread unrest broke out across the country, President Donald Trump tweeted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The comments have been part of a pattern from Republicans to ramp up pressure on local authorities to “dominate the streets” as the President put it.
The aggressive tactics have been widespread and include trigger-happy police, tactics that contravene their own guidelines, and a general disregard for the public.
Monterrosa’s killing has added to tensions in the Bay Area, but authorities across the region have lifted curfews after protests remained peaceful. In ominous words, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said he was worried about an increase in violence once the curfews would be lifted.
While police have deployed lethal methods in some instances, the most notable form of violence from police has been their use of so-called non-lethal force. But multiple incidences have called into question just how non-lethal pepper spray, pepper balls, and flashbangs are.
Austin police hit Justin Howell, a 20-year-old college student, with a supposedly non-lethal beanbag round, but now he in critical condition with a fractured skull. Shocking video shows protestors carrying Howell’s limp body in the direction of the police in seek of medical attention, only to be fired at with more rounds.
A medic helping Howell shared a picture of her hand which suffered fractures and torn tendons to a bean bag shot as she raised her hands, seeking medical help for Howell.
Police officers have also deployed pepper spray across the nation to quell protests, and a particularly grim story involving pepper spray emerged from the New York City jail system.
Jamel Floyd had been in custody since October 2019 and barricaded himself in his cell. The Justice Department said he was being disruptive and a potential harm to himself and others. Guards subsequently sprayed him with pepper spray in a closed environment, and medical staff found him unresponsive and proclaimed him dead.
Speaking on the detention center where Floyd was being held, Representative Nydia Velazquez said, “whether it is a loss of heat in the dead of winter, inadequate protections against the spread of COVID-19 or this most recent incident, it has become evident this institution is too often unsafe.”