Continuing “without comprehensive data only stalls meaningful conversation and fuels empty debates, both within law enforcement and in the communities we serve,” [Comey] wrote in a message accompanying the release of the FBI’s crime statistics for 2014.
This is not the first time Comey has criticized the lack of data available regarding how often police officers shoot and kill people. While the federal government does track some fatal police shootings, federal officials have acknowledged that this data is incomplete. Not all agencies in the United States participate in the voluntary reporting system, which had left a considerable gap in the ongoing public discussion.
Earlier this year, Comey joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., who called the lack of information about the shootings “unacceptable,” notes the report.
The criticism came after protests against police violence following several high-profile law enforcement-involved deaths of unarmed Blacks, including Eric Garnerin New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted on murder charges on Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a driver this month that a prosecutor called “totally unwarranted” and “senseless.”
In the indictment handed up by a grand jury in Hamilton County, the officer, Ray Tensing, is accused of killing the driver, Samuel DuBose, during a traffic stop near the campus on July 19.
At a news conference, the county prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, said that Officer Tensing “purposely killed” Mr. DuBose after the officer lost his temper in what he called a “chicken crap” traffic stop. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Mr. Deters told reporters. “This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make, totally unwarranted.” A body-camera video of the shooting was also being released.
“He purposely killed him,” Mr. Deters said of Officer Tensing. “He should never have been a police officer.”
Officer Tensing turned himself in on Wednesday after his indictment, according to reports.
The death of Mr. DuBose, who was black, at the hands of Officer Tensing, who is white, joined a string of recent episodes — in Staten Island, Cleveland, North Charleston, S.C., and Ferguson, Mo., among others — that have raised hard questions about law enforcement use of force, and the role of race in policing. Video cameras have recorded many of the episodes and nonlethal encounters like the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died three days later in a Texas jail cell, offering disturbing evidence of the confrontations that often contradicts the accounts of people involved.
Mr. Deters, who also met with Mr. DuBose’s family, said he was shocked by the video. “I realize what this was going to mean to our community, and it really broke my heart because it’s just bad,” Mr. Deters said. “I feel so sorry for this family and what they lost,” he said. “And I feel sorry for the community, too.”
Mr. DuBose, 43, a father of 10, was just south of the university campus, driving a green 1998 Honda Accord without a front license plate, when Officer Tensing began following him, according to an account that Jason Goodrich, chief of the university police, gave on Monday. Moments later, the officer pulled Mr. DuBose over on a side street, a few blocks from the campus, Mr. Goodrich said.
He said that when Officer Tensing asked for a driver’s license, Mr. DuBose handed him a bottle of alcohol instead. But Mr. Goodrich gave no more insight into the confrontation that followed, in which the officer fired one shot that struck Mr. DuBose in the head.
Another university officer who arrived shortly after the shooting, Eric Weibel, wrote in his report that Officer Tensing told him that “he was being dragged by the vehicle and had to fire his weapon,” and that “Officer Tensing stated that he was almost run over.” A third officer, he wrote, said he had seen Officer Tensing being dragged.
“Looking at Officer Tensing’s uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface,” Officer Weibel wrote.
On an audio recording of police radio communications, after Officer Tensing shouted “Shots fired! Shots fired,” a dispatcher asked who was injured. It is not clear if he replied “I am injured” or “I’m uninjured.”
“I almost got run over by the car,” the officer said. “He took off on me. I discharged one round. Shot the man in the head.”
Another officer can later be heard saying, “It was Officer Tensing that was injured.”
At the news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Deters dismissed Officer Tensing’s claim that he was dragged by the car. Officer Tensing “fell backward after he shot” Mr. DuBose in the head, Mr. Deters said.
The University of Cincinnati closed its main campus in anticipation of grand jury action in the case.
Hundreds took to the streets of Decatur, Georgia yesterday, stopping traffic, chanting and holding signs like “Demilitarize the police” to protest the officer-involved shooting death of Anthony Hill, an unarmed 27-year-old black man in DeKalb County, a suburb of Atlanta.
Protesters, using hashtags like #Antlanta and #AnthonyHill are questioning the use of force against Hill, an Air Force veteran who was naked and unarmed, when he was shot and killed by a white police officer on Monday.
“Anthony was naked and unarmed at the time of the shooting, yet Officer Olsen found him to be enough of a threat to take his life.”
The officer who shot Hill, a seven-year veteran of the force has been identified by police as Robert Olsen, and has been placed on administrative leave, reports Reuters via The Huffington Post.
Hill was shot after he was dealing with what looked to be a mental health issue, said the DeKalb County police Chief Cedric Alexander on Monday. Alexander confirmed that police received a call about a man “acting deranged, knocking on doors, and crawling around on the ground naked.”
After “running towards a responding officer,” Hill was shot twice. Police found no weapon. Almost immediately, Twitter was flooded with the hashtags #AnthonyHill and #BlackLivesMatter.
Ironically, Hill had used the #BlackLivesMatter himself in the days before his death, reports Reuters:
“The key thing to remember is, #blacklivesmatter, ABSOLUTELY, but not moreso than any other life,” Hill wrote on his Facebook page on March 6.
In another post the same day, he said, “No man (or woman) is ever going to stop me from living the life I envision…Empower yourself. Show these kids that #blacklivesmatter by living yours like it does.”
Hill is at least the third African-American man since Friday who was unarmed when shot dead by police. Thousands have been rallying for the last few days in the streets of Madison Wisconsin for 19-year-old Tony Robinson, who was killed by police last week. Aurora, Colorado police confirmed that Naeschylus Vinzant, 37, was unarmed when he was shot and killed with one bullet by police on Friday.
Hill’s shooting investigation went to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in an effort at “transparency.”
The crowd began to wind its way through Manhattan. A large labor union contingent was present, including members of the Communications Workers of America wearing red shirts and AFL-CIO supporters waving blue signs.
In contrast to other marches over the past weeks, this large, orderly demonstration took place during the day. A number of families with children took part, and demonstrators followed a pre-planned route. The march made its way uptown to Herald Square, then looped back downtown, with thunderous chants of “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “Justice! Now!” echoing down Broadway. The demonstration culminated at One Police Plaza, the New York City Police Department’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.
Organizers estimated that 30,000 demonstrators participated in the march. The NYPD told The Huffington Post that, as of the official end of the march, no arrests had been made.
Protesters held up 8 panels depicting Eric Garner’s eyes, created by an artist known as JR. “The eyes were chosen as the most important part of the face,” said Tony Herbas of Bushwick, an assistant to the artist.
Ron Davis, whose son Jordan was shot dead by a man in Florida after an argument over loud music, was at the head of the march.
“We have to make everybody accountable,” Davis told HuffPost. “You can’t continue to see videos of chokeholds, videos of kids getting shot in the back, and say it’s all right. We have to make sure we have an independent investigator investigate these crimes that police carry out.”
Michael Dunn, the man who killed Jordan, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole in October. Davis said Saturday that Dunn’s conviction proves it’s possible that justice can be served in racially charged cases.
“We ended up getting a historic movement in Jacksonville,” Davis said. “We had an almost all-white jury, with seven white men, convict a white man for shooting down an unarmed boy of color.”
Also at the front of the march were New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and New York state Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron.
Matthew Brown, a 19-year-old who is African-American and Hispanic, marched down Broadway with his mother, aunt and other family members.
“I’m trying to support a movement that really needs young people like myself,” said Brown. “I’m here to speak for Mike Brown.”
The teenager said part of his motivation for making the trek from West Orange, New Jersey, with his family was his own personal experience. He’s encountered racist verbal abuse from police in Jersey City, he said, who have called him “spic” and monkey.”
Citing the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, Brown said part of the reason he wanted to speak out was because of the way police represent encounters with African-Americans. “I just see so many lies after lies.”
He also attended the People’s Climate March in September. But this march felt more intense to him. “This is one that’s really affecting people on a deep, emotional level,” Brown said.