Days after the acquittal of Brett Hankison, the 45-year-old ex-cop who stood trial for firing 10 rounds of bullets into the home of Breonna Taylor, killing her and endangering her neighbors—a new report has come out that says Blacks are still being killed by the police at a higher rate than any other group.
In 2015, The Washington Post began tracking every fatal shooting at the hands of the police across the nation. To date, their project houses over 5,000 documented shootings and fatalities.
Last year, the police shot and killed 1,055 people which is the highest since the inception of the project in 2015. Black people make up 27 percent of those killed by police in 2021, but only account for 13 percent of the population in the country, according to nonprofit think tank Mapping Police Violence.
Rashawn Ray, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution says that paying more attention to police brutality will not result in less police brutality. He told NBC, “People perceive that people protesting in the streets leads to people caring more, and sometimes it leads to people resisting the change more.”
In November, an internal survey was conducted by the New York Police Department in which more than half its participants say they wished they never joined the force. Originally obtained by the NY Post, the survey states “a majority feel the public disrespects (46 percent agree, 42 percent disagree) and distrusts (44 to 41 percent) them.”
That same report states that 80 percent of officers, detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains fear aggressively fighting crime because of the threat of criminal liability, being sued, or being unfairly disciplined.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Biden declared, “The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police,” to a room of applause. But Black activists who championed his presidential run felt left out of his new agenda—including his stance on the police.
Last year in his address to a joint session of Congress, he famously pledged to root out systematic racism—advancing efforts to create an equitable America adding that the county had, “seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black Americans.”
NPR interviewed Rashad Robinson, president of the racial justice group Color of Change after Biden’s address which did not directly, according to Cliff Albright, a co-founder of the group Black Voters Matter; address race or include the word Black at all.
“He and some other activists and strategists say they worry that some core Democratic voters, including voters of color and young voters, might not be as energized this year because of failures to make good on Biden’s campaign promises on police reform, voting rights and other issues,” per NPR.
Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down by affirming Biden never supported defunding the police—despite, she said “attempts to mischaracterize his position and the position of, frankly, a number of his Democratic colleagues.”
On Feb. 2, Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man was shot and killed after the Minneapolis police entered a home where he was asleep on the couch to execute a no-knock warrant.
His name was not on the warrant.
Body-cam footage showed Locke was still under a blanket when the police entered the residence. Since his death, Locke’s parents along with Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump and notable activists such as Al Sharpton, have rallied to put an end to no-knock warrants.
Hankison’s trial had to do with the March 13, 2020 botched execution of a no-knock warrant involving him and two other officers from Louisville, Kentucky who entered Breonna Taylor’s apartment a little after midnight. Within minutes, the 26-year-old emergency room technician had been shot five times, dying almost immediately. Taylor’s apartment was a suspected pick up and drop off location.
Her name was not on the warrant.
Black people’s relationship with no-knock warrants is storied and complicated. NBC News, who reported on the Post’s data, interviewed Leslie Mac, a Black activist based in Brooklyn who said the origins of policing are from the era of slavery, “when slave patrols monitored enslaved Black people, deploying tactics similar to those that some officers use today.”
The Fugitive Slave Claus of 1789 allowed whites to enter the homes without permission where Blacks dwelled to retrieve escaped slaves and take them to the local magistrate in exchange for a bounty.
On Feb. 28, just 67 years after three men entered the home of Moses Wright and kidnaped his nephew, 14-year-old Emmett Till, torturing and killing him after being lied on by a white woman who accused him of whistling at her—the anti-lynching act named after Till passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 422 yeas and three nays from Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Andrew S. Clyde, R-Ga.
The bill classifies lynching as a conspiracy to commit a hate crime that results in death or serious bodily injury. Perpetrators of lynching could face up to 30 years in prison.
Between 1865 and 1950 over 6,500 lynchings took place in the U.S. according to the Equal Justice Initiative.