police brutality

Editor's note: NPR will be continuing this conversation about Being Black in America online and on air.

Bruce Tomlin, a 63-year-old truck driver from New Mexico, said he was never really a "gun person." Then he saw a video of three white men following and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging.

A Seattle police officer seen on video posted to social media earlier this week walking his bike over the head of a protester lying on the ground has been suspended while authorities investigate the incident.

The justice system failed Breonna Taylor, says Tamika Palmer, the mother of the emergency room technician whom police shot and killed in her own apartment in March. She says Kentucky's attorney general was not up to the job of achieving justice for Taylor.

Outraged and angry and, at times, wailing protesters renewed their cries for justice for Breonna Taylor on Wednesday, following the Kentucky grand jury's decision to not charge the police officers for killing her.

Meanwhile, the Taylor family have been much more restrained with their anguish over the killing of the 26-year-old by Louisville Metropolitan Police officers during a botched drug raid, since the decision was announced. For the most part they've remained out of the spotlight, issuing a series of brief statements on social media.

A Maryland man was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday over a 2018 incident in which he shot a Black man in a Baltimore suburb and reportedly told him to "go back to Africa."

Brandon Higgs, the white man sentenced, was found to have links to white supremacist groups during the investigation, according to John Magee from the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office.

Demonstrations in downtown Portland, Ore., turned violent as skirmishes broke out between protesters and law enforcement officials in the wake of a Kentucky grand jury decision not to directly charge police for the killing of Breonna Taylor. Police arrested 13 people in Portland.

Two police officers who were shot Wednesday night as protesters marched in Louisville, Ky., to demand justice for Breonna Taylor are expected to recover from their wounds, Mayor Greg Fischer says. A man has been arrested and faces multiple charges in connection with the shooting.

Tensions are running very high in Louisville, after a grand jury delivered a limited indictment against one officer who was present when police shot Taylor to death in her apartment.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking information to identify those responsible for an incident of racist vandalism at a park entrance in Tennessee over the weekend.

A black bear skin — including the head — was left draped over the entrance sign, next to a cardboard sign that said "Here To The Lake Black Lives Don't Matter."

Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, announced on Wednesday that none of the three police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor would be charged directly over her death. One of the men was indicted for shooting into neighboring homes.

In response, protests emerged nationwide, demanding charges against the officers. Here's a selection of pictures from around the country, as demonstrators called for justice for Taylor and respect for Black life.

Demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday night to voice anger over a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to charge three Louisville police officers directly in the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March.

Police said they arrested 11 people while dispersing crowds, according to NPR member station WABE in Atlanta.

Denver police detained a man after a vehicle plowed through a crowd of people demonstrating for justice in the Breonna Taylor case. The protesters were gathered near the Colorado state Capitol. Some of them had blocked the vehicle, which then sped away.

Democratic Kentucky State Representative Charles Booker says "justice failed us" when only one of the three officers who were involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville was charged.

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET Thursday

Two Louisville Metropolitan Police officers have been shot as protesters marched to demand justice for Breonna Taylor following a limited indictment by a Jefferson County grand jury.

The officers were fired on after responding to a separate "shots fired call" at about 8:30 p.m. ET, Chief Robert Schroeder said in a brief press conference Wednesday evening.

One suspect has been taken into custody, Schroeder said.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

Following months of outrage, activism and anticipation, a Kentucky grand jury has decided to indict one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.

Brett Hankison, who was terminated in June, has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment over shooting into neighboring apartments. Bond was set at $15,000.

Uncle Ben's will now be known as Ben's Original.

Food giant Mars, Incorporated said Wednesday that it is changing the rice brand's name, which has faced criticism for racial stereotyping. It said the change signals "the brand's ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world's best rice."

Mars also said it will remove the image of the elderly Black man in a bow tie from its packaging.

Swastika, New York, Is Keeping Its Name

Sep 23, 2020

Michael Alcamo lives in New York City but loves cycling through the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York, with their tiny towns and hamlets and historical cemeteries.

He was on a trip like this, winding through a remote stretch this summer, when he noticed something else, a small brown street sign with the name "Swastika."

At a time when symbols and place names with links to white supremacy are being debated across the U.S., Alcamo found the name of the unincorporated hamlet he had crossed into unsettling.

Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., said Tuesday he has declared a state of emergency for the city "due to the potential for civil unrest."

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is poised to announce whether his office will bring charges against the police officers who fatally shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during a botched narcotics raid at her home on March 13.

The mayor reiterated he has no insight about when Cameron's decision will be announced, but he said the city must be prepared.

NBA legend Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player and known for his elite competitiveness, is taking another big challenge: trying to make NASCAR more inclusive.

The hoops icon announced on Monday that he and NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin have teamed up to form a new racing team. They've recruited Bubba Wallace to be its driver.

On a street in Rochester, N.Y., earlier this month, police and demonstrators clashed violently, with marchers shouting and coughing as officers in riot gear fired pepper balls at the crowd.

As tear gas fogged the intersection, a Black protest leader urged white demonstrators forward.

"If you're a white person, you're getting to the perimeter, you're putting your body on the f****** line right now!" she shouted to a group of protesters wearing goggles, filter masks and bicycle helmets.

They responded by hustling forward, forming a line with homemade shields.

The family of a 53-year-old Black man shot and killed by a National Guard soldier during protests this summer in Louisville, Ky., is filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the case.

David "Ya Ya" McAtee was killed just after midnight on June 1 by a single bullet to the chest while he stood in the doorway of his barbecue stand in the city's West End as police and National Guard troops enforcing a curfew converged on a crowd nearby. Investigators say the lethal shot was fired by a Guard soldier, who has not been publicly identified.

A white Omaha, Neb., bar owner who was recently indicted for his role in the fatal shooting of a young Black man in May during racial justice protests has died by suicide, according to the man's attorneys.

For months, protests over the police involved killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, George Floyd in Minnesota and others around the country reinvigorated an intense debate over policing. Then when Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Ky., recently announced the city would pay $12 million to Taylor's family and institute a number of police reforms, that highlighted an aspect less discussed — the financial impact of police misconduct on cities and taxpayers.

The mother of Breonna Taylor says that if the police reforms announced this week by officials in Louisville were in place six months ago, her daughter might still be alive.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency room technician, was fatally shot by Louisville police during a botched narcotics raid at her home during the early morning hours of March 13.

A decision on whether to bring charges against the three officers who carried out the raid is expected in the coming days.

A Salt Lake City police officer is facing a felony charge stemming from an April encounter in which he ordered a police dog to attack a Black man who was on his knees with his hands raised, seemingly complying with officer commands.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

The city of Louisville, Ky., announced a $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.

Demonstrators gathered to protest the death of 27-year-old man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Lancaster, Pa., over the weekend.

The Lancaster District Attorney's office said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing, and that the man, identified as Ricardo Munoz, was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by an officer who has not been publicly identified.

Nine Black Lives Matter protesters who were confronted by a white St. Louis couple waving an AR 15-style rifle and a semi-automatic pistol as they allegedly stood guard on the beautifully manicured lawn of their mansion, have been issued trespassing summonses for marching onto a private property.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department issued the citations after more than two months of investigations, and these are now under review by the city counselor's office, officials told NPR.

Four Houston police officers have been terminated for their involvement in the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Nicolas Chavez in April.

The Houston Police Department announced the firings Thursday and released body camera footage of the encounter.

Multiple officers were on the scene the night Chavez was shot to death. They fired a total of 24 shots at Chavez — only three of which were deemed "objectively reasonable," Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference.

YouTube

Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler is telling the city's police to "end the use of CS gas for crowd control" in a policy change that he says is effective immediately.

Days before the U.S. commemorates the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the New York City Fire Department said it is renaming its most prestigious firefighting medal because of the "deeply racist beliefs" of its namesake.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro announced this week that the James Gordon Bennett Medal will now bear the name of Chief Peter J. Ganci Jr., who was the department's highest-ranking member to lose his life on 9/11.

Pages