This August, police shot and killed a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri. Witnesses say the victim, Michael Brown, had surrendered and had his hands in the air when he was shot. Numerous protests resulted, as the community demanded that the police release the shooting officer's name and the autopsy results.
That description applies to the death of Michael Brown at the hands of the Ferguson police. But it could also refer to the killing of 19-year old Roshad McIntosh in Chicago on August 24. A number of those who saw the shooting say that McIntosh's last words painfully echoed the chants of Ferguson protestors: "Please don’t shoot, please don’t kill me, I don’t have a gun."
McIntosh's shooting is discussed in a report by We Charge Genocide, a Chicago organization that works to highlight the grinding ubiquity of police violence against people of color in the city. McIntosh's death stands out because of its chilling parallels with the shooting of Michael Brown, but the report makes it clear that police brutality in Chicago is not an isolated or unusual occurrence.
Between 2009 and 2013, more than 75 percent of police shooting victims in Chicago were black, even though African-Americans in Chicago are only about 33 percent of the population. In the first half of 2014, 23 of 27 police shooting victims were black. Taser use is similarly disproportionate: 92 percent of police use of tasers was directed at black or Latino targets. And while tasers are supposed to be a safe form of restraint, they can kill. In May, 23-year-old Dominique "Damo" Franklin was tasered after allegedly stealing a bottle of liquor from a Walgreens. He died in the hospital.