Posted on May 8, 2020

When Cops Kill, Redress Is Rare – Except in Famous Cases

Lawrence Hurley and Andrea Januta, Reuters, May 8, 2020

The 2014 shooting death of black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, prompted angry protests and trained a national spotlight on a perceived lack of police accountability for violent encounters with the public.

{snip} Heightened public awareness, enhanced by the increasing prevalence of cellphone video, has kept the issue front and center through a series of incidents that have made national headlines in recent years.


Here is a summary of some of those cases and their outcomes:

MICHAEL BROWN, a black teen killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

Settlement: $1.5 million.


ERIC GARNER, a black man who died after repeatedly crying “I can’t breathe” while placed in a chokehold by a New York City cop during an attempted 2014 arrest.

Settlement: $5.9 million.


TAMIR RICE, a 12-year-old black boy who was holding a toy gun when shot dead by a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer in 2014.

Settlement: $6 million.


WALTER SCOTT, an unarmed black man shot in the back while fleeing on foot from a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Settlement: $6.5 million.


PHILANDO CASTILE, a black man shot and killed during a 2016 traffic stop in a St. Paul, Minnesota, suburb after telling police he had a gun in the vehicle.

Settlement: Close to $3 million.


JUSTINE DAMOND, an unarmed white Australian-American woman shot dead by police who were responding to her 911 call to report a possible rape in 2017.

Settlement: $18 million paid to her family, and $2 million donated to gun violence prevention.