The Slatest

Police Officers Killed Six People in the 24 Hours After Chauvin Verdict

Demonstrators gather outside a government building during an emergency city council meeting April 23, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Demonstrators gather outside a government building during an emergency city council meeting April 23, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The guilty verdict in the murder trial former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin shone a spotlight on killings by law enforcement officers. But the vast majority of police killings across the United States go largely unnoticed. To exemplify that fact, the Associated Press details how at least six people died at the hands of the police in the 24 hours after a verdict was reached in the Chauvin trial. Some of those deaths led to even more calls for accountability, while others have remained so under the radar that the name of the person who was killed isn’t even known. “In several cases, little is known about the lives of those killed and what happened in their final moments,” notes the Associated Press.

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Shortly before the Chauvin verdict was read, officer Nicholas Reardon in Columbus, Ohio killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl. Authorities say Reardon opened fire to protect a girl that Bryant had lunged at with a knife. Bodycam footage of the incident was released and the death led to protests in Columbus, with many wondering why the officer apparently didn’t hesitate to open fire on such a young girl. Even the White House commented on the killing. “The killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by the Columbus police is tragic,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday. “She was a child.” In contrast, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police said the officer’s actions were “an act of heroism.”

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Woman writes in chalk during a vigil in honor of Ma'Khia on April 21, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio.
Woman writes in chalk during a vigil in honor of Ma’Khia on April 21, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Stephen Zenner/Getty Images

In San Antonio, Texas, two men were killed in separate incidents. First, two police officers confronted a man on a bus who was allegedly armed. Shots were fired, the man, who remains unidentified, was killed. Later in the day, police were met with fire while responding to a call that a man had killed a person. They returned fire and killed the suspect, who also hasn’t been identified.

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In the same evening, a 31-year-old man in Worcester, Massachusetts called 911, claiming he had a bomb and would set it off. Law enforcement officers tried to negotiate with Phet Gouvonvong, who was wearing body armor and appeared to have a rifle. An officer opened fire when Gouvonvong moved toward police.

A demonstrator holds a sign addressing Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten after an emergency city council meeting April 23, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
A demonstrator holds a sign addressing Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten after an emergency city council meeting April 23, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images
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The next morning, police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina killed Andrew Brown Jr. while they were trying to serve an arrest warrant. A witness said police shot Brown while he was trying to drive away. Seven deputies have been placed on leave amid protests demanding that authorities release bodycam footage. Gov. Roy Cooper has also called for the bodycam footage to be released “as quickly as possible.”

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Also on Wednesday, police in Escondido, California killed a white man who, according to police, charged at an officer with a metal pole. Officers had arrived at the area after a call that a man was hitting cars with a metal object. The man hasn’t been identified but he was a homeless man who was well known to police and had been arrested 188 times since 2002. There had reportedly been numerous attempts to get him help from mental health professionals but they were never successful, according to authorities. “Here’s someone the police are saying was very well known to have mental health issues and was rotating through the system many times, and never got the help he needed,” homeless advocate Michael McConnell told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He’s dead because our system failed him, plain and simple.”

It “remains to be seen” whether any of the officers involved in these killings will face charges, notes the AP.

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