After what is being described as "a group of white supremacists" opened fire on protesters near a Black Lives Matter camp in Minneapolis, leaving five wounded, local police are still trying to identify the shooters. On Nov. 24, police took three white men into custody, two of which turned themselves in voluntarily. A fourth suspect was also released, after investigators found the man was not present at the scene of the shooting.
Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder, one year after the shooting and killing of Laquan McDonald, 17, in October of 2014.
This is the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years, according to The Chicago Tribune.
South Carolina sheriff Leon Lott announced Wednesday afternoon that Ben Fields, the police officer who violently arrested a 15-year-old black female student at Spring Valley High School, has been fired.
"It's not what I expect from my deputies, and it's not what I tolerate from my deputies," said Lott.
Although Lott removed Fields from his police force, he also commented on the behavior of the student.
On the morning of Oct. 26, a student at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina was flipped out of her desk and tossed across the room by school resource officer Ben Fields.
Fields is already facing an outstanding lawsuit filed against him for "recklessly targeting African-American students with allegations of gang membership." But in 2014, Fields received a "Culture of Excellence" award for being "an exceptional role model to the students he serves and protects."
As Mariame Kaba of Project Nia notes, police violence is not simply just the killing of peoples. It includes the every day forms of harassment, surveillance, and profiling that support both gender and race hierarchies.
The campaign to #sayhername is not simply about remembering and organizing around black women and other women of color who have been killed by the police. It is about re-conceptualizing what police violence means. When we center women of color in our analysis, we see that police violence is much more than individual acts of police brutality. It is an entire system of harassment and surveillance that keeps oppressive gender and racial hierarchies in place.
We are then left with the task of not just holding individual police officers to account, but re-conceptualizing what justice, safety, and accountability should be.
There is a long pause near the end of Sandra Bland’s first # SandySpeaks video, made in January of 2015. It lasts almost five seconds, and in that pause my calling resides. There is no other moment I identify with more solidly.
Near the end to her video, Sandy says, “It’s time for me to do God’s work…”
Then the pause comes, with a sigh in the middle.
Then, “I know everybody don’t believe in God, which is fine. But I want you to know that on Sandy Speaks, I’m gong to talk about God, because for me has truly opened my eyes and shown me that there is something out there we can do.”
The latest killing happened two days before the 1-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death when Christian Taylor, 19, crashed his SUV through the window of a car dealership in Arlington, Texas. Officers shot him in the course of a struggle. In fact, as I write this, there have been 601 lethal police shootings in 2015, 24 of them unarmed black men, according to an ongoing independent analysis by Washington Post: That’s an average of two unarmed black men shot dead by cops per month since January. This number does not include police shootings of black women, police killings that did not involve gunfire, or deaths while in police custody. Freddie Gray’s and Sandra Bland’s deaths are not included in the Washington Post tally.
Over the course of the year since Michael Brown died, we have learned critical lessons that have fueled the movement, bringing together young activists, clergy, and evangelicals in unlikely, yet cohesive alliance.
One year after the shooting and killing of Michael Brown, #FergusonTaughtMe is trending on Twitter. Activists, faith leaders, intellectuals, and everyday members of the movement have used the hashtag to explain how Ferguson fundamentally altered their racial consciousness. Embedded are a few tweets from Christian leaders who shared how Ferguson changed the way they do faith.
Sunday marked the 1-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Both in Ferguson, and across the country, the memorials and marches were held to remember those lost to police violence. Here in Washington, D.C., we attended one such demonstration and asked protesters what the #BlackLivesMatter movement has meant to them over the past year.
It's a call and response chant started on the streets of Ferguson that has spread across the nation.
"Mike Brown means ..."
"... we got to fight back!"
It rolls off my tongue in a sing-chant cadence, and my hips begin to sway, because I have yelled it as I've marched and rehearsed it in my dreams. It is bitter and sweet. We evoke Mike's name and sway and pledge to fight. I've listened to voices I know and those I don't call and answer in hours of live stream and together in front of court houses and I know, I know in my soul what Mike Brown means.
Mike Brown means ... something more. Something larger than one more young black man shot in his neighborhood.
One year later, Mike Brown means ... something more.