police shootings
February 3, 2021

Former Columbus Police officer Adam Coy has been arrested and charged with murder, felonious assault, and dereliction of duty in connection with the shooting death of Andre Hill, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said on Wednesday.

On Dec. 22, Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, and another officer responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival, they found Hill, a 47-year-old Black man, inside a garage, and within seconds, Coy opened fire. Hill was holding a cell phone when he was shot. He was taken to an area hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Yost said his office served as a special prosecutor in the case, and Coy was arrested on Wednesday after being indicted by a grand jury. Coy did not activate his body camera until after the shooting, Yost said, which is why he was charged with dereliction of duty. The camera did have a feature that enabled it to capture what happened during the 60 seconds before it was turned on, but there was no audio.

"Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth," Yost said. "Andre Hill should not be dead." Coy, who was fired a week after the shooting, is set to appear at a bail hearing on Thursday. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2020

State and local law enforcement working for a U.S. Marshals task force fired 30 bullets at Michael Reinoehl right after cornering him in unmarked SUVs outside an apartment in Lacey, Washington, on Sept. 3.

The police were supposed to apprehend Reinoehl for the shooting a far-right activist in Portland, Oregon. After they killed Reinoehl, police found a handgun in his pocket, The New York Times reports. Only one of the 22 witnesses interviewed by the Times said they heard police say anything before they opened fire, raising "questions about whether law enforcement officers made any serious attempt to arrest Mr. Reinoehl before killing him." At least four eyewitnesses said police started firing immediately, and several said they initially thought the police were gang members.

"I respect cops to the utmost, but things were definitely in no way, shape, or form done properly," said Garrett Louis, a former U.S. Army medic whose 8-year-old son was nearly shot in the hail of police gunfire. "There was no, 'Get out of the car!' There was no, 'Stop!' There was no nothing. They just got out of the car and started shooting." Another witness, Chad Smith, offered a similar account: "There was no yelling. There was no screaming. There was no altercation. It was just straight to gunshots."

Angel Romero, who lives right near the shooting, told the Times one of the five bullets that hit his property passed through his dining room, narrowly missing his brother before lodging in the kitchen wall. The Times mapped out the entire incident, based on interviews and unreleased police testimony.

The officers on the scene offered conflicting accounts of whether Rienoehl ever reached for his gun, but none said they saw him fire it. Reinoehl said in an interview on the day he was killed that he shot Patriot Prayer activist Aaron Danielson in self-defense. A self-described supporter of the anti-fascist cause, Rienoehl, 48, had provided security for Black Lives Matter protesters, watching out for agitators and threats.

Attorney General William Barr called the operation that killed Rienoehl a "significant accomplishment" that removed a "violent agitator" who had "produced a firearm." President Trump later told Fox News that law enforcement gunning down Rienoehl is "the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this." The local sheriff's office is leading an ongoing investigation of the raid. Peter Weber

October 6, 2020

Shaun Lucas, a police officer in Wolfe City, Texas, was arrested Monday and charged with the murder of Jonathan Price, a 31-year-old Black man, CNN reports.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said Lucas responded to a call about a possible fight Saturday evening and attempted to detain Price, who civil rights attorney Lee Merritt said was attempting to break up a domestic dispute in which another man was being "aggressive toward a woman." When Price "resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away" Lucas used his taser and then fired his gun, the department said. Price later died at a hospital.

A preliminary investigation has since determined Lucas' "actions were not (objectively) reasonable," the Texas DPS said in a statement. Subsequently, Texas Rangers booked Lucas into the Hunt County Jail.

Price's death comes on the heels of other high-profile incidents in which police officers killed Black Americans, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks. Their deaths have sparked protests against police brutality across the country. Read more at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

September 11, 2020

The U.S. Marshals Service says that when members of its Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force fatally shot Michael Reinoehl in Lacey, Washington, on Sept. 3, "initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers." Local law enforcement on the task force went to arrest Reinoehl, a self-described anti-fascist supporter, on a warrant for second-degree murder for the death of a far-right activist, Aaron "Jay" Danielson. Police said they found a handgun in Reinoehl's possession but did not say if he ever fired it. A witness has come forward to say Reinoehl never even appeared to draw his gun.

Nate Dinguss, a 39-year-old minister who lives in the apartment complex where Reinoehl was gunned down, told The Oregonian on Wednesday and The Washington Post on Thursday that police didn't even warn Reinoehl before firing. The Post summarized his statement, issued through a lawyer:

[Dinguss] said he watched as two unmarked police vehicles converged on Reinoehl as he walked to his car, holding his phone and chewing on a piece of candy. The officers never audibly identified themselves and didn't try to arrest Reinoehl, Dinguss said.

Instead, he said they immediately began firing. When Reinoehl heard the gunfire, he ducked behind his car, which was pinned in by the law enforcement vehicles; he never tried to get inside, Dinguss said, and he never saw him reaching for a weapon. Dinguss said he watched police unleash rapid-fire rounds at Reinoehl, once pausing to shout "Stop!" before resuming their fire. [The Washington Post]

Two other purported witnesses, Chad Smith and Chase Cutler, told The Olympian the night of the shooting that they saw the suspect fire at police, though they had several details wrong, including saying he fired 40 to 50 shots at the police with an assault rifle after getting out of his car.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office, which wasn't involved, is investigating the shooting. The four officers who shot Reinoehl were from the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Lakewood Police Department, and the Washington Department of Corrections, all acting in U.S. Marshal capacity. Peter Weber

August 24, 2020

Chris Paul led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a dramatic, playoff series-tying win over the favored Houston Rockets on Monday, but the long-time NBA star wasn't focused on the victory after the buzzer sounded. Instead, Paul answered the first question in his post-game interview by bringing attention to Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday and remains hospitalized.

Paul, who noted that he and his fellow NBA players promised to speak out against social injustices before they restarted their season in the Orlando bubble last month, said "it's not right" in reference to the shooting. He then challenged NBA players and other professional athletes to make sure their teammates register to vote and head to the polls later this year.

"(There's) a lot of stuff going on in the country," he said. "Sports, it's cool, it's good and well, it's how we take care of our families, but those are the real issues that we gotta start addressing." Tim O'Donnell

June 18, 2020

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) on Thursday moved to assure the public that his office is "undertaking a thorough and fair investigation" into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was killed in March after Louisville Metro Police officers entered her apartment on a no-knock warrant. Her boyfriend said he fired a warning shot, thinking they were intruders, and the officers returned fire, hitting Taylor eight times.

Cameron said the Louisville Metro Police Department's Public Integrity Unit has been sending information to his office as it conducts its own probe into the incident, but would not go into specifics about the evidence he has received. "We believe that the independent steps we are taking are crucial for the findings to be accepted, both by the community and by those directly involved in the case," he said. "An investigation of this magnitude, when done correctly, requires time and patience."

In May, Cameron became a special prosecutor in the case after a commonwealth attorney cited a conflict of interest, CNN reports. On Sunday, Beyoncé sent Cameron a letter, calling on him to file criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting. "Don't let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy," she wrote. Catherine Garcia

December 20, 2019

Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean was indicted by a grand jury Friday for the death of Atatiana Jefferson, whom he fatally shot in her own home in October while she played video games with her young nephew. Dean was previously charged with murder, an unusual outcome in cases of police violence, and indictment is the next step toward trial.

Jefferson's family's lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, celebrated the news on Twitter but cautioned that the legal battle is far from over. The family "remain[s] cautious that a conviction and appropriate sentence is still a long way away," he wrote.

The county prosecutor's office has announced plans to "prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law," though a trial date has yet to be announced. Dean, who is white, shot Jefferson, who was black, while conducting a welfare check because a neighbor called a non-emergency line after noticing an open door on Jefferson's house late at night. Bonnie Kristian

October 14, 2019

A Fort Worth, Texas, police officer who shot and killed a woman inside her home early Saturday was charged with murder on Monday, shortly after he resigned from the force.

The former officer, Aaron Dean, is being held at the Tarrant County Correction Center, Fort Worth Police Sgt. Chris Daniels said. The woman, 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she was shot. A neighbor had noticed Jefferson's front door was slightly open and called the police department's non-emergency line, asking them to do a wellness check. Body-camera footage released by the police department shows an officer shining a flashlight into the house, then yelling, "Put your hands up, show me your hands," before firing one shot.

The white officer shooting a black woman inside her home caused immediate outrage in Fort Worth, and Daniels had a message for all concerned. "To the citizens and residents of our city, we feel and understand your anger and your disappointment and we stand by you as we work together to make Fort Worth a better place for us all," he said. Jefferson's older sister, Ashley Carr, said Atatiana was "simply going on along with her life, living a law-abiding citizen's peaceful life, and she was killed by a reckless act of a Fort Worth police officer. There is simply no justification for his actions." Catherine Garcia

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