Police Violence in America

US Border Patrol agent who shot teenager dead acquitted of murder

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 April 2018

Lonnie Swartz was found not guilty of second-degree murder for the slaying of an unarmed Mexican teenager through the border fence in 2012.

Black Lives Matter, ACLU stay lawsuits promote Chicago police “reform”

By Jessica Goldstein and George Marlowe, 25 April 2018

The involvement of BLM and the ACLU in the court consent decree is intended to provide further cover for police and the political establishment while giving middle class activists a “piece of the action.”

Federal prosecutors reportedly recommend charges in notorious chokehold death

US Justice Department officials may refuse to take action in 2014 murder of Eric Garner

By Alan Whyte, 24 April 2018

The Garner case was among the first to attract national attention to the ongoing and increasing police violence against unarmed and often innocent workers and youth.

Anger mounts over police killing of unarmed man in Barstow, California

By Alec Andersen, 23 April 2018

Police unleashed a hail of 30 bullets into a car being driven by 26-year-old Diante Yarber, killing him and wounding two passengers.

Unite the working class against police killings!

By David Moore: SEP candidate for US Senate from California, 19 April 2018

The killing of Diante Yarber in Barstow, California is the latest in an unending series of police killings in the state and throughout the country.

Police kill two men in two days in Detroit suburbs

By a reporter, 17 April 2018

The killings last Monday and Tuesday went largely unreported in the media, perhaps because they took place in middle-class suburban areas rather than the inner city.

Police kill two men in two days in Detroit suburbs

By a reporter, 17 April 2018

The killings last Monday and Tuesday went largely unreported in the media, perhaps because they took place in middle-class suburban areas rather than the inner city.

Two police killings in Billings, Montana in two days

By Bryan Dyne, 14 April 2018

More than 360 people have been killed by police in the US so far this year.

Police kill man at Portland homeless shelter for allegedly refusing to drop knife

By Alec Andersen, 10 April 2018

The murder of John Elifritz Saturday night is yet another demonstration of the fact that police violence in the United States is fundamentally an issue of class, not race.

New York police release video and transcripts from shooting of unarmed man in Brooklyn

By Sandy English, 9 April 2018

In the video compilation, almost no one seems threatened and most people, inches from the man, hardly notice him.

New York City police kill unarmed mentally ill man in Brooklyn

By Sandy English, 6 April 2018

Police officers fired 10 bullets into Saheed Vassell, a 32-year old unarmed African-American man with a mental illness

University of Chicago student with mental illness shot by campus police

By George Marlowe, 6 April 2018

Suffering from a severe mental breakdown, Charles Thomas was shot and wounded by campus police Tuesday night. He now faces criminal charges.

Outrage over protection of killer cops expressed at Sacramento City Council meeting

By David Moore and Evan Blake, 5 April 2018

Dozens of speakers denounced the City Council members and District Attorney for their indifference towards the murder of Stephon Clark and the broader social crisis in California’s capital.

US Supreme Court grants police wide immunity when using excessive force

By Trévon Austin, 5 April 2018

The court ruled on Monday that an Arizona police officer who shot a woman from the other side of a fence could not be sued on claims that he used excessive force.

Sheriff’s deputy runs down Sacramento protester and flees scene

By Alec Andersen, 2 April 2018

A woman taking part in demonstrations against the police murder of Stephon Clark Saturday evening had to be transported to the hospital after a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy struck her with his SUV and fled the scene.

Protests continue in Sacramento as autopsy shows police shot Stephon Clark multiple times in the back

By Alec Andersen, 31 March 2018

Hundreds of people have joined the protests against police violence that have occurred nearly every day over the two weeks since Clark’s murder.

Democrats seek to use Stephon Clark’s funeral to divert anger over police killings

By Kayla Costa, 30 March 2018

While hundreds grieved over the loss of 22-year-old Clark, Al Sharpton sought to direct opposition to police violence into the dead end of reformism, identity politics and the electoral efforts of the Democratic Party.

Notes on Police Violence

Unarmed man with pants down fatally shot by deputy in Houston, Texas

By Anthony Bertolt, 30 March 2018

So far this year the police have killed more than 308 people of every race, ethnicity, gender and age.

The murder of Stephon Clark and the fight against police violence

By Niles Niemuth, 29 March 2018

Amid a growing strike wave by workers throughout the country, demonstrations have once again broken out against the reign of police terror that has claimed over 300 lives this year.

045 Houston police killing

29 March 2018

Police will not face charges for the 2016 murder of Alton Sterling

By Shelley Connor, 28 March 2018

Sterling was face down on the pavement, struggling to move with bullets lodged in his chest, when Officer Salamoni shot him three more times.

Black Lives Matter promotes illusions in African-American police chief after Sacramento police murder

By Alec Andersen, 26 March 2018

The response of Black Lives Matter activists to the killing of Stephon Clark further demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the group’s racialist perspective.

Police murder in Sacramento, California sparks two days of protests

By Evan Blake, 24 March 2018

The brutal murder of Stephon Clark, who was unarmed when police unleashed hail of bullets, has prompted hundreds to once again demonstrate against police violence.

Sacramento police shoot and kill unarmed man in his backyard

By Matthew Taylor, 23 March 2018

Clark’s murder exposes the futility of the various reforms promoted by Black Lives Matter and put in place in the aftermath of mass protests against police murders.

Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Damond charged with murder

By Anthony Bertolt, 23 March 2018

Though Mohamed Noor has been charged for the killing of Damond it is still very unlikely that he will be convicted.

Trial begins for Border Patrol agent who murdered Mexican teenager

By Kevin Martinez, 23 March 2018

Opening arguments were heard in the trial of a Border Patrol agent who shot and killed 16-year-old Mexican Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez for allegedly throwing rocks near the US-Mexico border in 2012.

055 Officer charged in Minneapolis police killing

22 March 2018

Farm worker parents of six children die in car crash while fleeing ICE agents

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 16 March 2018

The tragic deaths of Santo Hilario Garcia and Marcelina Garcia Profecto are the outcome of the Trump administration’s immigration policy in action.

Conviction overturned after Texas judge ordered multiple electric shocks on defendant in court

By Trévon Austin, 13 March 2018

The barbaric use of “stun belts” during trials began in the 1990s, justified as a way of delivering a shock in the event a defendant becomes violent or attempts to escape.

Anger mounts over video of police beating unarmed man in North Carolina

By Alec Andersen, 9 March 2018

Although the beating of Johnnie Rush occurred in August, the public was not informed until police body camera footage was leaked to a local newspaper this week.

Four Detroit area police officers await trial for murder, use of excessive force

By Tyler Van Dyke, 3 March 2018

The indictments follow a year that witnessed mounting public outrage in the wake of a series of incidents involving police violence against unarmed and unresisting citizens.

Security firm Palantir secretly providing New Orleans police with predictive policing software

By Tom Hall, 1 March 2018

The deal concluded in 2012 with mayor Mitch Landrieu handing over the city’s population as guinea pigs for products destined for other police departments and spy agencies.

Alabama sheriffs pocket money meant to feed county jail inmates

By Shelley Connor, 20 February 2018

Two poverty advocacy groups have filed a suit against 49 county sheriffs for failing to comply with a public records request concerning their usage of jailhouse food funds.

New York City cop acquitted of the murder of Deborah Danner

By Katy Kinner and Mark Ferretti, 17 February 2018

The acquittal of a NYPD sergeant of the killing is the latest state sanctioning of police murder in the Bronx, New York City’s poorest borough.

Tennessee police deliberately murder fleeing unarmed suspect, as sheriff boasts, “I love this sh*t”

By Dan Conway, 9 February 2018

A lawsuit is being brought against a Tennessee sheriff after footage revealed him encouraging other officers involved in a car chase to kill the man they were pursuing.

ICE agents arrest Kansas chemistry professor who was taking his daughter to school

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 7 February 2018

The scope of the administration’s brutal immigration policies continues to widen as stay orders become increasingly out of reach for blue and white collar workers.

Police step up harassment of Los Angeles homeless

By Adam Mclean, 7 February 2018

The harassment of the homeless is connected to efforts to gentrify downtown Los Angeles, which is near Skid Row, the largest concentration of homeless people in California.

Six Baltimore police officers plead guilty to racketeering

By Harvey Simpkins, 6 February 2018

The criminal activity of the Gun Trace Task Force exposes in microcosm the contempt that the police have for the constitutional rights of the working class throughout the United States.

2018 begins with US police reign of terror

By Niles Niemuth, 29 January 2018

In the years since the murder of Michael Brown in August 2014, popular anger against police violence has been channeled behind the Democratic Party by groups such as Black Lives Matter.

Notes on police violence

Unarmed 25-year-old shot nine times at close range by US Park Police

By Harvey Simpkins, 27 January 2018

While Bijan Ghaisar was gunned downed by police on November 17 of last year, police dashcam video of the incident was only released on Wednesday.

Nine “No More Deaths” volunteers face prosecution for attempting to aid immigrants

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 26 January 2018

The prosecutions come in the immediate aftermath of a report by the group detailing the Border Patrol’s destruction of water jugs left for immigrants in the desert.

Police in Racine, Wisconsin fatally shoot 26-year-old man during traffic stop

By Christopher Davion, 25 January 2018

The fatal shooting of Donte Shannon last week during a traffic stop by an unmarked police vehicle has been followed by protests by friends, family, and area residents.

Volunteer arrested for giving food and water to immigrants along US-Mexico border

By Will Morrow, 24 January 2018

The arrest is a blatant act of retaliation against No More Deaths, coming a few hours after it released footage of agents sabotaging humanitarian water supplies.

Ohio police kill 16-year-old in courthouse

By Trévon Austin, 22 January 2018

There has been no indication that charges will be brought against the deputy.

Massive raids threatened against immigrants in California

By Bill Van Auken, 19 January 2018

Plans have been revealed to pour immigration agents from all over the country into Northern California cities to round up at least 1,500 undocumented immigrants.

Teacher’s arrest in Louisiana: Another day, another outrage

By Jerry White, 12 January 2018

There is something “American” about the treatment of Deyshia Hargrave, who had the temerity to protest pay raises for school officials while teachers and students are starved of resources.

Ten-year-old child among the victims

American Civil Liberties Union sues DC police for attacking inauguration protests

By Harvey Simpkins and Nick Barrickman, 9 January 2018

A civil lawsuit filed by the ACLU alleges protesters were assaulted and deprived of their constitutional rights.

Notes on police violence

US police kill 29 during first week of 2018

By George Gallanis, 9 January 2018

Almost all of the killings follow a general logic: police kill anyone they suspect to be a threat, regardless of how severe or even real the threat.

Kansas police kill unarmed man after false emergency call

By Niles Niemuth, 3 January 2018

Andrew Finch was shot by a heavily armed SWAT team December 28 after police were dispatched to his family’s home by a prank “swatting” call over an unrelated dispute.

Seattle councilperson Kshama Sawant targeted by defamation lawsuit for calling police “murderers”

By Eric London, 3 January 2018

The Socialist Equality Party’s long-documented differences with Socialist Alternative do not lessen our opposition to attempts by the political establishment to silence criticism of the police.

US police kill over a thousand for fourth year in a row

By George Gallanis, 27 December 2017

The killing of thousands in the span of a few years is an indication of growing fear and hatred of the working class in ruling class circles.

Notes on police violence

Bexar County, Texas police shoot and kill six-year-old boy

By Trévon Austin, 23 December 2017

Sheriff’s deputies, firing at a fleeing woman, shot and killed six-year-old Kameron Prescott when at least one round pierced through the wall of his San Antonio-area mobile home.

Verdict looms in first round of trials for 194 charged in anti-Trump inauguration day protests

By E.P. Milligan, 19 December 2017

The first of a round of trials surrounding the defendants involved in the January 20 protests against the inauguration of President Donald Trump came to a close on Friday.

Video released as cop who killed unarmed Daniel Shaver found not guilty

By George Gallanis, 9 December 2017

Body-cam footage of the killing shows Daniel Shaver begging for his life and crawling on his knees before being shot five times by an Arizona police officer.

South Carolina cop sentenced to 20 years for murder of Walter Scott

By Daniel de Vries, 9 December 2017

The jail term is a rare exception to the rule of carte blanche for police violence.

Rhode Island: State and Providence police shoot dead unarmed driver trying to escape traffic stop

By John Marion, 13 November 2017

Based on an erroneous tip about another crime, police provoked a high-speed traffic chase that ended in their firing some 40 bullets into a pickup truck and killing Joseph J. Santos.

New York City police officer acquitted of murder charges in killing of Delrawn Small

By Sandy English, 8 November 2017

Isaacs was the first police officer in New York State to be tried under Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 executive order.

New York police officers charged with raping teenage suspect in custody

By Daniel de Vries, 4 November 2017

A grand jury indicted two NYPD detectives this week on 50 counts of kidnapping and raping a teenage woman while she was handcuffed in a police van.

Detroit victim of police violence files suit over brutal beating

By Robert Verdine, 2 November 2017

David Bivins is suing for wrongful arrest, assault and battery, negligence, and slander following a brutal attack in a grocery store parking lot by an off-duty police officer.

Los Angeles Police Department set to deploy drones

By Marc Wells, 25 October 2017

The Los Angeles Police Commission voted last week to approve the deployment in the face of overwhelming public opposition.

NFL commissioner announces plans against anthem protests

By Trévon Austin, 12 October 2017

NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell and a number of team owners are taking measures to punish football players who kneel during the anthem.

Notes on police violence

Killing of fleeing man by Salt Lake City police officers ruled “justified”

By Josh Varlin, 10 October 2017

No charges have been brought against the officers who killed Patrick Harmon despite contradictions between the police version of events and bodycam footage.

Trump administration threatens widespread ICE raids in California

By Patrick Martin, 9 October 2017

The threat came in response to the state of California’s enactment of a “sanctuary” law that limits cooperation between state and local police and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Race, class and the protests against police violence in St. Louis, Missouri

By Genevieve Leigh, 3 October 2017

As part of its efforts to inject racialist politics into the protests against the police officer who killed Anthony Lamar Smith, groups around the Democratic Party held a “white allies only” rally.

Protests over police violence enter third week in St. Louis

By Genevieve Leigh, 2 October 2017

Protesters have held nightly demonstrations throughout the city ever since the acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith last month.

Chicago launches new fig leaf police oversight agency

By George Marlowe, 2 October 2017

The Chicago Police Department is one of the most brutal in the country, synonymous with police murder and the use of CIA-style “black sites.”

053 St. Louis protests video

28 September 2017

115 Chicago police violence

28 September 2017

Interview with attorney for family of Anthony Lamar Smith:

Authorities withheld DNA evidence in St. Louis police killing

By Ed Hightower, 25 September 2017

“The whole package of justice in this case, not just the criminal case but in the civil remedies… was compromised.”

Brutal video depicts Huntington Beach, California officer killing Navy veteran

By John Burton, 25 September 2017

The fact that the national epidemic of police violence is now appearing with such virulence in communities such as Huntington Beach demonstrates that the fundamental causes are far deeper than racial discrimination.

The St. Louis police riot

By Niles Niemuth, 23 September 2017

The violent and provocative actions of the police, including the “kettling” and mass arrest of protesters and the fascistic spectacle of cops chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” reveals the real state of class relations in America

“That verdict was a travesty”

Watch: St. Louis workers denounce acquittal of killer cop, crackdown on protests

By Genevieve Leigh and George Gallanis reporting from St. Louis, 23 September 2017

WSWS reporters spoke with workers from St. Louis about police violence, amid ongoing protests against the acquittal of a police officer over his 2011 murder of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Pseudo-left groups push identity politics on seventh day of St. Louis protests

By Genevieve Leigh and George Gallanis reporting from St. Louis, 22 September 2017

A “White Allies Only” protest endorsed by the DSA, Socialist Alternative and Black Lives Matter drew several hundred people on the seventh day of protests against police violence in St. Louis.

Oklahoma City police shoot and kill deaf man

By Matthew Taylor, 22 September 2017

Neighbors who witnessed the killing warned the two cops confronting Magdiel Sanchez that he was deaf and could not understand their orders just before they opened fire.

Hundreds of riot police descend on peaceful protesters in St. Louis

By Genevieve Leigh and George Gallanis reporting from St. Louis, 21 September 2017

Politicians and the mainstream media were silent Wednesday evening as busloads of heavily armed riot police surrounded hundreds of peaceful protesters in St. Louis.

St. Louis Police declare “We’re in control” as crackdown on protests enters fifth day

By Genevieve Leigh, 20 September 2017

St. Louis police officers chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they arrested largely peaceful demonstrators protesting police violence.

Protests continue in St. Louis as police kill eight more in US

By Trévon Austin and Patrick Martin, 19 September 2017

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Justice Center in downtown St. Louis Monday night in a show of support for those who remained jailed after police arrested 123 people on Sunday night.

Police crackdown on hundreds protesting acquittal of killer cop in St. Louis

By Genevieve Leigh, 16 September 2017

Riot police in St. Louis, Missouri arrested 13 people in protests that erupted after the acquittal of the police officer, Jason Stockley, who fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011.

Notes on Police Violence

Department of Justice clears officers in death of Freddie Gray

By Trévon Austin, 14 September 2017

The six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray will not face federal civil rights prosecution, the DOJ announced on Tuesday.

Detroit Police stonewall investigation into Taser death of 15-year-old

By Robert Verdine, 9 September 2017

The death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes, shot by a police Taser while riding his ATV, has sparked anger in Detroit.

Notes on Police Violence

Salt Lake City nurse arrested after refusing demand to draw blood from unconscious patient

By Trévon Austin, 2 September 2017

Hospital surveillance and police bodycam footage released this week shows a nurse being unlawfully arrested and assaulted by a police officer.

060 Cop tells woman "We only kill black people"

1 September 2017

Notes on Police Violence

Akron, Ohio police claim 17-year-old shot himself in the back of a police car

By Kevin Martinez, 31 August 2017

Relatives of Xavier McMullen want to know how the boy could have had a gun after being handcuffed and taken into custody.

Trump orders resumption of military supplies to local police

By Patrick Martin, 29 August 2017

The program to supply military gear to local police allows the Pentagon to transfer equipment ranging from body armor to tanks, at no cost to the local or state government.

Notes on police violence

St. Louis, Missouri police kill sixth person since May

By Trévon Austin, 26 August 2017

Police shot and killed Kiwi Herring, a transgender woman, after she allegedly slashed an officer with a knife.

Notes on police violence

Ohio police beat man during a traffic stop

By Trévon Austin, 19 August 2017

Video captures a Euclid, Ohio, police officer violently beating a man after a routine traffic stop.

Notes on police violence

Charges dropped against Texas sheriff’s deputies accused of sexually violating woman during traffic stop

By Nick Barrickman, 18 August 2017

Harris County sheriff’s deputies had been facing charges after a 2015 roadside stop resulted in the officers conducting a warrantless cavity search.

Trump, appealing to far-right, considers pardon for Joe Arpaio

By Jake Dean, 17 August 2017

Trump told Fox News he was considering a pardon for the former Arizona sheriff who defied court rulings to witch-hunt immigrant workers.

Baltimore: More videos released showing police officers “manufacturing evidence”

By Adam Soroka, 15 August 2017

The footage came just a week after a previous video showed an officer planting a bag of pills under a pile of garbage in an alley as two other officers looked on.

Miami police expand their use of military-grade vehicles and equipment

By Matthew MacEgan, 11 August 2017

An investigative report provides details about the Miami-Dade Police Department’s expanded and routine use of military-grade vehicles and equipment.

Notes on police violence

US police killings on track to reach all-time high in 2017

By George Gallanis, 9 August 2017

The number of killings as of August 7, 2017 stands at 746 according to killedbypolice.net, an unprecedented amount for the same time in previous years.

ICE agents in California target immigrants who file complaints against employers

By Rafael Azul, 8 August 2017

ICE agents have shown up at California labor dispute cases looking to apprehend undocumented construction workers who have brought claims against their bosses.

Video documents torture of teen in Tennessee jail

By Keisha Gibbs, 3 August 2017

Released in late July, surveillance video shows 18-year-old Jordan Norris being restrained and repeatedly tased while in a Cheatham County, Tennessee jail.

San Diego teacher detained by Border Patrol at internal immigration checkpoint

By Jake Dean, 2 August 2017

Two-thirds of the US population lives in a “Constitution-free zone,” where anyone, including citizens, can be detained and questioned by federal immigration agents.

South Haven, Mississippi police accused of executing auto mechanic in address mix-up

By Matthew MacEgan, 31 July 2017

On Friday, an attorney representing the family of Ismael Lopez contacted the Justice Department to demand an investigation, arguing that the man’s death was an execution and that the officers involved should face criminal charges.

Notes on police violence

Minneapolis police chief resigns over police murder of Justine Damond

By Anthony Bertolt, 24 July 2017

Janeé Harteau, the first female, openly gay, Native American police chief in Minneapolis, had overseen the implementation of a number of reforms that it was claimed would moderate police violence in the city.

Notes on police violence

Baltimore police officer caught on body-cam planting drugs

By Matthew MacEgan, 21 July 2017

The release of body-cam footage of police planting drugs prompted the release of a man who has been held in jail since January.

The murder of Justine Damond and police violence in America

By Niles Niemuth, 21 July 2017

While few details have been released, what is known about Damond’s killing provides insight into the social and psychological underpinnings of the epidemic of police brutality in the US.

Notes on police violence

Woman killed by Minneapolis police had called to report a rape

By Matthew MacEgan and Niles Niemuth, 20 July 2017

Minneapolis police officers claim they thought they were being “ambushed” when they shot the 40-year-old yoga teacher through the door of their cruiser Saturday night.

Notes on police violence

Louisiana woman charged with attempted murder after sheriff’s deputy kills her boyfriend

By Aaron Murch and Tom Hall, 19 July 2017

In yet another egregious display of police violence in the US, a sheriff’s deputy in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana shot and killed 27-year-old father of three DeJuan Guillory earlier this month.