David McAtee, 53

Died on June 1, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky

David McAtee owned YaYa’s BBQ Shack at 26th and Broadway, a busy intersection in Louisville that was the site of weekly Sunday night neighborhood gatherings for socializing and listening to music. At midnight on June 1, Louisville police and Kentucky National Guard arrived to enforce a 9 pm curfew. The continuing protest against the police use of lethal force that killed Breonna Taylor and George Floyd was the cause of the city curfew, but that night the protests were taking place 20 blocks away. As police called for the crowd to “Go! Go!” the partiers ran into McAtee’s modest restaurant seeking safety.

The police chief later stated that McAtee fired first at the police, and their (lethal) return fire was justified. The police had de-activated their body cams. A June 4 analysis by The New York Times of video footage from surveillance and participants’ cell phones revealed that police were the first to shoot, firing two pepper balls (projectiles filled with blinding pepper spray) from outside into the restaurant. The NYT speculated that it was probably difficult to distinguish the sound of the pepper ball from the sound of a bullet. Louisville Police Dept. policy is to avoid violent means of dispersing a peaceful gathering, and for pepper balls to only be fired at the ground, to avoid potentially serious injuries to the head or eyes.

One pepper ball fired by the police that night toward YaYa’s BBQ Shack loudly broke a glass, the other hit a doorframe near McAtee’s niece’s head. McAtee then can be seen on video raising his 9mm pistol and firing twice out of the restaurant, in the direction of the police. Two policemen and two National Guardsmen then fired 18 shots back toward McAtee, one bullet fired by a Guardsman hit him in the chest and killed him. His body lay where it fell for at least 12 hours while police investigated the scene.

The mayor fired Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad shortly after McAtee’s death. No officers or Guardsmen have been disciplined. An investigation is ongoing.

When policemen used to come to his restaurant for a meal, McAtee fed them for free. He’d often join them for a chat, his friends said, because he was committed to helping his neighborhood and community.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25

Died on Feb. 23, 2020 in Glynn County, Georgia

While jogging, Arbery was followed by 3 men in 2 trucks. He tried to evade their pursuit, but they blocked his escape. When he turned to defend himself, Travis McMichael killed him with 3 shotgun blasts. “Do you got him?” another pursuer said. One of them recorded Arbery’s shooting, and the video went viral only months later, resulting in all three men being arrested for murder in early May. The men apparently assumed Arbery was responsible for thefts in the area, although none had been reported for 7 weeks. There was reportedly a Confederate flag sticker on the toolbox in McMichael’s truck bed. The US Justice Dept. is investigating Arbery’s murder as a hate crime.

Breonna Taylor, 26

Died on March 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky

After midnight, police officers used a battering ram to enter Taylor’s apartment on a “no-knock arrest warrant” issued by a judge because the police believed that one of the two drug dealers they were looking for at a different address received packages at Taylor’s address. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot at what he thought were burglars, hitting one officer in the leg. Police returned fire, shooting Taylor at least 8 times. She received no medical attention for 20 minutes, and died at the scene. No drugs were found in the house. The police had already located their main suspect before breaking into Taylor’s apartment. There is no body cam footage.

Walker was charged with attempted murder of the police officer, but the charge was dropped in May. On June 11, the city banned the use of no-knock warrants. Officer Brett Hankison was fired on June 23, and has appealed his firing. Officers Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove have been placed on administrative leave. No officers face criminal charges, as the Kentucky attorney general and the FBI investigate. Protests continue in the streets of Louisville. Taylor’s mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Update.

Carlos Ingram-Lopez, 27

Died on April 21, 2020 in Tucson, Arizona, death revealed on June 24

His grandmother called police at 1am because Ingram-Lopez was drunk and behaving erratically. In a garage, police pinned him to the ground face down, handcuffed him, and put a yellow plastic blanket over him. For 12 minutes, he pleaded in English and Spanish for water, yelled that he couldn’t breathe, and called for his nana. Then he went into cardiac arrest and stopped moving. He was declared dead at the scene. Officers Samuel Routledge, Ryan Starbuck, and Jonathan Jackson have resigned. Ingram-Lopez’s death was made public for the first time at a police department press conference on June 24, after the release of graphic body cam footage.

George Floyd, 46

Died on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Arrested after a phoned-in report to police that Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill in a store. E was held down by Police Sergeant Derek Chauvin with a knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while Floyd, who had recovered from Covid-19, pleaded many times, “I can’t breathe.” Cell phone video by a teenage bystander recorded the events, starting the worldwide public protests against police brutality targeting people of color. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and the three others face charges of aiding and abetting murder. Some are out on bail, awaiting trial.

In George Floyd’s name, protests continue across the US to demand police reform to end the excessive use of force and violence against unarmed men and women of color.

Rayshard Brooks, 27

Died on June 12, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia

In a Wendy’s parking lot, Brooks was being arrested for DUI. Brooks was on probation after a 2-year jail sentence, and if arrested again might have been returned to jail. He grabbed an officer’s taser and ran, firing the taser back in the direction of Rolfe and the other officer. As Brooks ran, Rolfe shot him 2 times in the back, a third bullet hitting a nearby car with people in it. The prolonged encounter was recorded from many cameras.

After Brooks can be seen falling to the ground, Rolfe appeared to say, “I got him,” then kicked Brooks, who later died in surgery. In April 2020, Officer Rolfe had completed a 9-hour course in de-escalation techniques. He has been charged with felony murder, and the other officer with aggravated assault.

Sean Monterrosa, 22

Died on June 20, 2020 in Vallejo, California

Stopped by police in Walgreen’s parking lot, after reports of looting. While Monterrosa was on his knees with his hands raised, officer Jarrett Tonn fired his gun at him five times from inside an unmarked police car. One bullet hit and killed Monterrosa. Tonn said he thought Monterrosa had a gun in his pocket, but it turned out to be a 15” hammer. Monterrosa died at the hospital.

Jamel Floyd, 35

Died on June 24, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York

Died in custody at US Bureau of Prisons detention center after being pepper-sprayed in his cell by a corrections officer, who said Floyd was “increasingly disruptive and it was believed he could be potentially harmful to himself and others.” Floyd suffered from asthma and diabetes, and his mother said that jail officials were aware of his health conditions. He had been in the jail for two days because he hadn’t appeared for a court hearing on failure to pay child support, and could not afford $2500 for bail.