Police forces across the entire United States of falling under more scrutiny during recent years due to videos of severe misconduct beginning to surface.
In fact, 1 in 4 of the people killed by law enforcement officers is unarmed. While not every police officer goes into the force with malicious intent, there are quite a few more than people once thought.
Coincidentally, some of the most grievous abuses of the law by police officers have occurred on camera. Want to find out more?
Let’s take a look at 10 of the worst cases of police brutality caught on tape.
10) Marshawn Pitts
Location: Dolton, Illinois
Date: October 27, 2010
Incident: Marshawn Pitts, a special needs student, was assaulted by a police officer after a heated verbal exchange between the two. Witnesses say the argument stemmed from the officer confronting Pitts about the way his shirt was tucked in.
The skirmish culminated with Pitts being left with a broken nose and minor injuries.
9) Kelly Thomas
Location: Fullerton, California
Date: May 8, 2012
Incident: Kelly Thomas was a homeless man living on the streets of Fullerton who had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Members of law enforcement Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli confronted the man while investigating a call that someone had been vandalizing cars.
After Thomas didn’t immediately comply with the officers, he was beaten into a coma and died months later in the hospital.
8) Livier Torres
Location: Oak Lawn, Illinois
Date: November 8, 2010
Incident: An off-duty police officer working as a security guard for a Hooters took things too far over a confrontation with a patron about a bill. Livier Torres refused to pay for an item she was mistakenly charged for, and things ended with her on the ground in a headlock.
While the officer claims that Torres spit on him, there is no evidence that she ever committed such an act.
7) Michelle Jordan
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: August 29, 2012
Incident: Michelle Jordan, a nurse who had been pulled over for texting and driving, found herself in a Del Taco parking lot so that she could get her vehicle off of the road.
In broad daylight, two officers slam the already handcuffed woman to the ground despite presenting no signs that she is a threat. One of those responsible had been on the force for 20 years at the time and had even reached the rank of commander.
As the event transpires, the officers act as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred and proceed to act calm and collected.
6) Unnamed 18-Year-Old
Location: Greenville County, South Carolina
Date: September 26, 2009
Incident: It’s common for police to stakeout near suspected drug houses. However, this doesn’t mean that any confrontation has to turn violent. An 18-year-old had his car searched after officers found him outside one of those aforementioned properties.
After what can only be assumed to be a verbal confrontation or a form of perceived uncooperative behavior, the boy is held by one officer while another punches him in the face approximately 13 times.
Out of all the police brutality cases caught on tape, this is one of the most unwarranted.
If you know have a friend or loved one who has been a victim of police brutality and wants to take legal action, you can contact USAttorneys to get started down the right path.
5) James Boyd
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date: March 16, 2014
Incident: Similar to Kelly Thomas of Fullerton, California, James Boyd was also a homeless man who suffered from mental illness. Boyd had been illegally camping on a hillside on the outskirts of Albuquerque.
After a brief standoff, Boyd began to comply with the officers who were attempting to arrest him. However, despite his cooperation, he was shot multiple times by an officer armed with an assault rifle.
The officer eventually faced homicide charges by the District Attorney.
4) Jason Harrison
Location: Dallas, Texas
Date: June 14, 2014
Incident: The mother of mentally ill Jason Harrison called law enforcement for help after her son stopped taking his medication and began to act out. The officers arrived on the scene, where they approached the front door of the Harrison home.
However, Jason Harrison exited the home holding a screwdriver. After refusing to drop it, he was shot by officers after walking toward them.
While it could be argued that the suspect had been armed with a deadly weapon, the amount of force used was irreversible and unnecessary.
3) Tamir Rice
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Date: November 22, 2014
Incident: Tamir Rice is the youngest victim on this list at just 12 years old. Police received a call that a child armed with a gun had been waving it around in the air.
While a young child with a gun can be a danger to everyone in the surrounding area, there was no attempt to disarm the child (or even investigate if the gun was real). In fact, the officers who arrived on the scene shot Rice almost immediately.
This particular case caused public outcry across the nation due to the severity of force used against someone so young.
2) Eric Garner
Location: Staten Island, New York
Date: July 17, 2014
Incident: Eric Garner had recently broken up a fight that broke out on a Staten Island street. After officers arrived at the scene, they immediately began to question Garner about whether or not he was selling loose cigarettes.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo took Garner down to the ground with a choke from behind but did not loosen his grip while he held Garner there. Despite repeatedly claiming that he can’t breathe, the officer refused to lessen his use of force.
Shortly afterward, Eric Garner died from asphyxiation. Months later, a grand jury refused to indict Officer Pantaleo.
1) Walter Scott
Location: North Charleston, South Carolina
Date: April 4, 2015
Incident: Walter Scott was pulled over for having a brake light out on his car. Shortly after coming to a stop, Scott exited the vehicle and began running.
The officer caught up with him in an empty field, where they began to struggle. Despite being unarmed, Scott broke free and once again began to escape. Officer Michael Slager then fired upon Scott multiple times, hitting him in the back and killing him.
What Can Be Done About Police Brutality Caught on Tape?
Whether or not the officers are tried with homicide depends upon how the state decides to handle the case. But, publicity also plays a large role in preventing these occurrences in the future.
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