Police-Related Killings Of Blacks: Look Back At High-Profile Cases – Patch.com

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The case of a white University of Cincinnati police officer charged with killing a black motorist during a traffic stop is among a number of high-profile police-related killings of black people in the United States. A Hamilton County judge declared a mistrial Friday after jurors said they were nearly evenly divided in the trial of Ray Tensing, who testified he feared for his life when Samuel DuBose tried to drive away from a 2015 traffic stop that began over a missing front license plate.

Tensing’s case, along with others in recent years, has increased debate about race and policing while demonstrating the difficulty in gaining convictions of police officers. Here are some other high-profile deaths of blacks during police encounters:

Sylville Smith

A jury Wednesday acquitted a former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is black, on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide in Smith’s death, which ignited riots on the city’s north side. The shooting happened in August 2016 after Heaggan-Brown and his partner stopped a rental car that police say was driving suspiciously. Once the car stopped, police say Smith ran away holding a gun.

Sylville Smith (Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

Prosecutors say Smith fell and Heaggan-Brown shot him once in the arm as he was getting up, still holding the weapon while facing the officer. They say Heaggan-Brown’s second shot came after Smith had thrown his gun over a fence. Heaggan-Brown, 25, said he thought Smith was reaching for another gun in his waistband when he fired again.

Philando Castile

A Minnesota police officer was acquitted of manslaughter June 16 in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black motorist who had just informed the officer that he was carrying a gun. St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez was also cleared of two lesser charges in the July traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb.

Memorial to Philando Castile (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

The case garnered immediate attention because Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook. Yanez testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so. Prosecutors questioned whether Yanez ever saw the gun. Castile had a permit for the firearm.

Jordan Edwards

The U.S. Justice Department said in May that it’s investigating the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards by a white police officer in a Dallas suburb. Edwards was shot April 29 by Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver, who was fired and charged with murder.

Jordan Edwards, left, with his father, Odell Edwards (Courtesy of Lee Merritt/Edwards family via AP, File)

Oliver fired a rifle at a car full of teenagers leaving a party, fatally shooting Edwards, who was a passenger in the vehicle that was moving away from officers. Balch Springs police had originally said the vehicle was reversing “in an aggressive manner” toward officers, who had responded to a complaint about underage drinking. But Police Chief Jonathan Haber later said video taken at the scene proved the vehicle was actually driving away. Oliver is free on bond.

Terence Crutcher

An Oklahoma jury on May 17 found white Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16, 2016, death of Terence Crutcher, 40, shot shortly after Shelby arrived on a street to find Crutcher’s SUV stopped in the middle of the road.

Shelby testified that she was afraid because Crutcher didn’t obey her commands and appeared to reach inside his SUV. Prosecutors told jurors that Shelby overreacted, noting that videos from a patrol car dashboard and a police helicopter showed Crutcher had his hands in the air and did not have a weapon.

Alton Sterling

Federal prosecutors announced May 3 they would not seek charges against two white police officers who were involved in a deadly encounter with Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last summer. Sterling, 37, was shot to death on July 5, 2016, as two white officers pinned him to the pavement outside a convenience store where he had been selling CDs.

The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely online, sparking demonstrations across Baton Rouge. U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson said Sterling was armed during the confrontation and the investigation didn’t find enough evidence to pursue charges. State authorities are investigating whether to bring charges.

Keith Lamont Scott

A prosecutor cleared a black Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in the September 2016 fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, killed while sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of his apartment complex as officers sought another man. A police review board decided that Officer Brentley Vinson followed proper procedure.

Police video showed officers shouting for Scott to drop a gun numerous times. Scott’s family said he did not have a gun. Charlotte-Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray cited evidence that Scott was armed, including a store’s surveillance video, DNA recovered from a handgun and a Facebook conversation from the man who said he sold the stolen gun to Scott.

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark’s November 2015 shooting death sparked weeks of protests in Minneapolis. Two white officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were trying to arrest the 24-year-old when he was shot once in the head. He died a day later.

Jamar Clark (Jamar Clark/Javille Burns via AP, File)

Some witnesses said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, but federal and state probes concluded that he was not. Investigators said Ringgenberg felt Clark’s hand trying to grab his weapon and shouted to Schwarze, who then shot Clark. Prosecutors decided not to charge either officer, and an internal police investigation cleared them.

Ricky Ball

Former Columbus, Mississippi, police officer Canyon Boykin, who is white, was indicted in September for manslaughter in the shooting death of Ricky Ball, 26. Boykin, awaiting trial, said he fired because Ball appeared to point a gun at him during a foot chase in October 2015.

The city fired Boykin, saying the officer violated policy by not turning on his body camera, by inviting his fiancée to ride with him and by making derogatory social media posts about African-Americans, women and disabled people. Boykin has sued the city, claiming violations of his constitutional rights. Ball’s family has sued Boykin, the city and other police officials for wrongful death.

Jeremy McDole

McDole, 28, was sitting in his wheelchair when he was shot and killed in September 2015 in Wilmington, Delaware, after police received a 911 call about a man with a gun. A bystander’s cellphone footage showed officers repeatedly telling McDole to drop his weapon and raise his hands, with McDole reaching for his waist area before shots erupted.

The Delaware attorney general’s office decided against criminal charges against four Wilmington police officers involved, although investigators concluded one officer showed “extraordinarily poor” police work. In January, a federal judge approved the city’s $1.5 million settlement with McDole’s family.

William Chapman II

Former Portsmouth, Virginia, police officer Stephen Rankin was sentenced last October to 2½ years in prison for fatally shooting Chapman while responding to a shoplifting call outside a Wal-Mart on April 22, 2015. Prosecutors allege Rankin killed the unarmed 18-year-old “willfully, deliberately and with premeditation.”

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