It seems like every day now there is another incident in the news regarding police brutality. 2015 has been an awful year in regards to minimizing the death toll when it comes to police incidents. A report came out in November which talks about how American police have now gunned down over 1,000 individuals in 2015. That works out to an average of roughly 3 people a day, and we still only hear about a fraction of them in the news.
There is no doubting that being a police officer is a dangerous job. 35 different officers have passed away (at the time of the report) in 2015, and there are definitely situations that may arise that require a cop to draw his weapon.
These incidents are not always the ones that lead to individuals meeting their end, and they will not be the ones we talk about here. There are awful stories of police using excessive force or misusing their power in egregious ways. One of the biggest stories to keep an eye on as 2016 rolls on, will be the role that body cams may have if they do in fact start being worn by every police officer.
Many of the stories that made the list did so because body cameras from the police officers were able to catch the horrifying acts. There needs to be an overhaul in how we look at treating criminals. Too often cops pull a gun before taking the time to think about whether that was a necessary step. Once the gun is out, anything, including firing NINETEEN bullets (as you’ll read), at a suspect can happen, and then it becomes your word against a police officer’s.
These are only 15 of the most outrageous incidents that occurred in 2015, and there are more stories just like this one that are happening every single day.
15. Officer Tries To Shoot Dog, Hits a 4-Year-Old Girl
In Ohio, a police officer was trying to do the right thing when he responded to shouts for help from a nearby home. The woman inside had suffered a self-inflicted knife wound, but when the officer entered the home he was met by the 40 pound dog that lived there. What do you do? You shoot and kill the dog, of course. Unfortunately the officer missed the dog and hit a 4-year-old girl who was also home. The girl was wounded in the leg, but the outcome could have been significantly worse. The neighbour who was available for comment pointed out how dogs do not know the difference between a man and a police officer, and it is unacceptable that their reaction at any point was to pull out a gun.
14. “Baby, Baby, Baby, They’re Going To Kill Me”
One of the last words from Calvon Reid was “baby, baby, baby, they’re going to kill me.” Reid was referring to 5 officers who tasered Reid several times, before smashing his head with a metal baton. The incident apparently started when Reid was injured, and required an ambulance to come and assist him. When Reid got belligerent with the paramedics, officers were summoned, which led to the heated exchange. Reid had a lengthy criminal history for drug possession, and it is not clear if this had a major impact on his mood or on the police officers’ reactions towards him. It was not until Reid was handcuffed and rolled over that the officers realized he had been killed.
13. Unresponsive Native American Tasered 28 Times
Now I will preface, this incident actually occurred in August of 2014. It recently however came out in December, 2015 that the police officer Rebecca Sotherland was found not guilty of using unreasonable force. Sotherland approached Jeffrey Bull, who was unresponsive, and lying on the ground as he was too drunk to stand up. Sotherland then proceeded to tazer Bull an estimated 28 times. Are you kidding me? What on earth must you be thinking to tazer someone 28 times? That’s just staggering. How it is not considered excessive force is beyond me. While Bull was able to live through the incident without serious injuries, this is an incredible example of police force that went too far.
12. 22-Year-Old Shot 6 Times In The Back, Claimed Self-Defense
Call it silly, but Darrien Hunt really wanted to show off his 40-inch samurai sword. I suppose it was really cool, but it ended up costing him his life. Hunt had brought the weapon to try and impress the managers at Panda Express and land a job (…seriously). The officers claim that they shot Hunt in self-defense after he refused to drop the sword. The main issue with that? Hunt was shot 6 times in the back, hardly something that is common if someone is lunging at you. I cannot imagine that someone running from police warrants being shot, much less enough times to clearly end your life. The family is attempting to sue for more then $2 million in damages.
11. Police Shoot 19 Times During Domestic Abuse Report
When 3 police officers responded to a domestic violence abuse call, they probably did not expect to end up firing 19 shots. That is exactly what happened, and it ended up killing 41-year-old Spencer McCain. Officers claimed that they heard shouting from outside the door, and had previously been at the home 17 times in the last two-and-a-half years for related charges. There were no doubts that McCaine was hitting his wife, who had multiple injuries, I just cannot imagine what leads to 19 different shots being fired. Especially when it later came out that McCaine was in fact, unarmed. If there are three of you? How can you not be able to tackle and arrest him before deciding to shoot that many times?
10. Police Shoot And Kill A Naked, Unarmed Veteren
Anthony Hill was 27 years old when he was shot and killed by a police officer in Atlanta. Hill was a member of the U.S. Airforce, and it is not clear if he was suffering from mental health issues. The officer, Robert Olsen, was responding to a call about a naked man acting deranged and crawling around on the ground. When Hill charged at the officer, he was shot twice and declared dead at the scene. It is hard to imagine what would have caused Olsen to pull out his gun and take that action. If a man is naked, you at the very least can see that they are not armed, and as a result, it’s almost always going to be unacceptable when excessive force is used.
9. Florida Church Musician Killed After Vehicle Breaks Down
Corey Jones was 31 when he was shot and killed by a police officer. Jones was an aspiring church musician, and had finished a gig when his van died at about 3:15 am (with the most likely cause being that it needed oil). When police officer Nouman Raja approached the van, he claimed that an armed suspect came at him, and as a result of the confrontation shot and killed Jones. Given that Jones had never had any trouble, and was described as being incredibly easy going and lighthearted by his friends, one can only imagine what must have happened that led to that being the end result. After the incident, the family was unable to be told what happened to the body of Jones and the officer was placed on paid leave.
8. Cops Offer Cash Reward, Claim It Themselves
When there was a bombing in Bangkok, the police offered a cash reward to anyone that could provide some links to help solve the case. Despite nobody coming forward, the police were still able to solve the mystery and arrest the people responsible. As a result, the cops are now distributing the money amongst themselves. I understand the principle of it, sure I guess you ‘earned’ the cash reward, but…you also just did your job. If that’s the case, they must make a killing whenever they arrest someone that is wanted with a cash reward. At least they didn’t accidentally shoot anyone.
7. Cop Returns From Absence Due To Killing Someone, Kills Someone On First Day Back
It is always the hope that the last thing an officer will ever have to do is kill another person. Wisconsin police officer Pablo Torres found himself in two different incidents that led to him to doing just that. The first occurred when a man wielding knives charged at Torres who took protective action and was placed on administrative leave. However, on his first day into his reinstatement Torres has once again taken the life of another man. Following a chase, in which 26-year-old Aaron Siler “armed himself,” Torres opened fire and fatally shot Siler who crashed his car (see above) and took off running. It was not reported what type of weapon it was that Siler was able to arm himself with.
6. Police Kill A Confused Man Suffering From Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder
While this incident occurred in June of 2014, the body cam footage emerged in 2015. In the footage, 28-year-old Jason Harrison is seen being gunned down by a police officer because he was holding a screwdriver. Harrison was suffering from both schizophrenia, as well as bipolar disorder and was in severe need of help. As the family points out, it is not helpful to try and agitate someone who is mentally ill and already stressing out. When Harrison refused to drop the screwdriver (though the video shows confusion, not aggression), the officer shot him several times while his mother cried out. Harrison had no history of violence.
5. Cops Shoot Suicidal Man
Justin Way was not having himself a very good night on May 11th. After losing his job, Way, who was a recovering alcoholic, was intoxicated and threatening to harm himself. What do cops respond with when called to the scene? Assault rifles of course, because that was totally necessary. When the police officers told Justin to drop the knife, which was clearly only a threat to himself and not the responding officers, the cops shot and killed Justin. The officers claim he came at them, but blood was only found on the mattress which would be unusual if Justin had been lunging at the cops in a desperate effort to kill them. The detective stated to Way’s mother “they told Justin to drop the knife and he didn’t—so they shot him because ‘That’s what we do.’”…it would be great if what they did was help someone in need, instead of shooting him.
4. Bystander Killed In Gun Deal Gone Wrong
When you are trying to make an undercover gun deal, maybe make sure that you are not surrounded by other people. When cops tried to operate an undercover deal, the fleeing suspect was shot three times in the torso. Unfortunately, in the commotion 61-year-old Felix Kumi was also shot and later died. While you can understand the officer needing to act in a panicked situation, it is always unacceptable when someone else gets hurt because you had to draw your weapon. There were two different suspects that were taken into custody as a result of the altercation, but that hardly makes up for an innocent man’s life being taken.
3. Police Kill Unarmed, Innocent, 20-Year-Old Dillon Taylor
Dillon was only 20 years old when he was shot and killed by Salt Lake City Police in August. The officer was looking for someone in the area that was reported to potentially have a gun. While the footage was initially withheld from public, and then a reduced version was released, it did not speak to the outrage that came when the full version was released. In the video (recorded by police bodycam) the officer is shown shooting the unarmed Taylor who then proceeds to bleed out on the pavement. Taylor was shown being unresponsive to the question “get your hands out” that was shouted by the officer, but that hardly warrants the necessary use of a gun. It was also reported that Taylor was listening to music and did not appear to hear the officer until he was shot and killed.
2. Police Pummel Cindy Hahn In Front Of Children For A Seatbelt Violation
40-year-old Cindy Hahn was just trying to help when she asked police why a car alarm was continuing to go off (despite being surrounded by cops). Given that Hahn’s father is a cop, she felt comfortable approaching the officers who told her to mind her own ******* business. When Hahn started recording, the officer (Kenyatte Valentine) got more irate and Hahn called to voice a complaint and then left the area. When driving away, Hahn was pulled over by Valentine for not wearing a seatbelt. Hahn was then pulled out of her car and was repeatedly punched in the face by the officer. Hahn was charged with resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer, but the charges were dropped once the video was released. To make matters even uglier for police, the incident occurred in front of Hahn’s two children who were 7 and 11.
1. Cops Enter The Wrong House, Kill The Owner’s Dog And Shoot Owner
So let me get this straight. To establish the cops’ first mistake, they showed up at the wrong house. To compound that issue, when they entered through the back and were confronted with an animal, they shot and killed the dog. When the owner of the house awoke from his bed, the officers then proceeded to shoot him in the leg. Let’s remember that this was not even the right house to begin with. In all of the commotion, one of the officers, Travis Jones, was shot in the hip. Given that the homeowner wasn’t holding a gun, the shooting of Jones has been linked to one of his fellow officers. I guess that can happen when you act incredibly recklessly and endanger the lives of those around you.