Sleeping. Driving. Standing outside of an apartment building. These are some of the last things some black Americans were doing before they were approached by police for one reason or another. For all of them, the encounter ended in death.
Standing outside his apartment building
Amadou Diallo (1999)
Diallo, 22, was approached and shot by plainclothes police officers in New York City who claimed to have mistaken him for a rape suspect.
Standing behind the door in his home
Kenneth Chamberlain (2011)
Chamberlain, 68, was shot after police in White Plains, New York, broke down his door. Chamberlain wore a medical alert button for a heart condition, and it had accidentally gone off.
Seeking help after a car crash
Jonathan Ferrell (2013)
Ferrell, 24, was seeking assistance after crashing his car in Charlotte, North Carolina. He knocked on the door of a nearby house. The home owner called police. When they arrived, they said they saw Ferrell running toward them, and one of the officers shot him.
Standing outside of a store
Eric Garner (2014)
Garner, 43, was choked by a New York Police officer who was trying to arrest him on suspicion of selling individual cigarettes.
Playing with a fake gun
Tamir Rice (2014)
Tamir, 12, was playing with a pellet gun in a park in Cleveland, Ohio. Police who arrived on the scene shot the boy within two second of exiting their car.
Holding a BB gun for sale
John Crawford III (2014)
Crawford, 22, was at a Walmart holding a pellet gun he picked up off a store shelf. A 911 call reported a man walking around with a rifle and “waving it.” Crawford was on his cell phone while holding the pellet gun as police responded and he was shot in seconds.
Philando Castile (2016)
Castile, 32, was pulled over for a busted tail light in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. As Castile tried to tell an officer he had a gun on his person – a gun he had a permit to carry – he was shot and killed.
Selling DVDs outside a gas station
Alton Sterling (2016)
Sterling, 37, was packing up DVDs outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when police arrived to respond to a call about a man waving a gun at the establishment. They shot Sterling within 90 seconds of arriving.
Riding in the passenger’s seat of a car
Jordan Edwards (2017)
Jordan, 15, was leaving a private party with his two brothers and two friends when police responded to gunshots in the area. One officer tried to stop the vehicle, and when the driver didn’t stop, he fired, hitting Edwards.
Holding a cell phone
Stephon Clark (2018)
Clark, 22, was standing in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento when he was approached by police responding to a 911 call that a man wearing a black hoodie was breaking car windows. Police fired, and later said they believed Clark was pointing an “object” at them. The only object later found at the scene was a cell phone.
Sitting in his apartment
Botham Jean (2018)
Jean, 26, was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in his apartment in Dallas, which the officer had mistaken for her own.
Playing video games
Atatiana Jefferson (2019)
Jefferson, 28, was playing video games with her nephew when officers approached her home in Fort Worth, Texas. A neighbor had called police, worried about an open door at the home. Hearing a sound in the backyard, Jefferson reportedly pulled a gun out of her purse and pointed it out the window. One of the responding officers saw her and fired through the window, killing her.
Sleeping in her home
Breonna Taylor (2020)
Taylor, 26, was asleep in her Louisville, Kentucky home when police forced their way in while serving a no-knock warrant. She was shot and killed.
Sitting in a car
George Floyd (2020)
Floyd, 46, was approached by Minneapolis police officers as he sat in a car. They were responding to a call about a counterfeit bill being used to buy cigarettes. As the conflict escalated, Floyd was pulled from the SUV, cuffed, and died after an officer knelt on his neck on the pavement for nearly nine minutes.