Shaun King: ’28 People Have Been Killed By Police This Month’


One of the most difficult aspects of my job is that so many of you keep informed about incidents of injustice in America that I sincerely struggle to keep up. I write at least one story a day about injustice in America, but that barely scratches the surface of how bad things truly are. I’m on here just twice a week talking to you about stories of injustice that rarely make the nightly news or the front page of your local paper, but I get hundreds of emails every single day about the battles we are facing from coast to coast. This morning, I want to tell you about three different stories of injustice you might not have heard of.

Here’s the thing – awareness alone does not bring about change. I’ve learned that the hard way, but awareness is step one of a multi-step process to making change happen. We can’t bring about any serious, systemic change without first making you fully aware of the problem.

First, let me go big.

28 people have been killed by American police this month and we’re just 8 days into August. That’s more than police in most developed nations kill in an entire year. In fact, that’s more than police in many developed nations have killed in the past decade. In one single week, American police have killed more people than police in South Korea, Japan, Denmark, and Iceland have killed since the year 2000.

An astounding 745 people have been killed by American police so far this year. 2017 continues to be on pace to be the deadliest year for police brutality ever measured in the history of this country – worse than 2014  – when we lost Eric Garner, Mike Brown, John Crawford, and Tamir Rice. Worse than 2015 when we lost Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray. Worse than 2016 when we lost Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and Terence Crutcher.

This year, right here, right now, is the worst era for police brutality in American history and it’s hardly even being noticed by American media. It’s a crisis that we simply cannot afford to have swept under the rug.

Now let me tell you about two brothers who’ve been targeted and assaulted by police this past week and barely lived to tell the story.

Shawn George is an amazing young brother, a family man, in Euclid Ohio, right outside of Cleveland. He’s a recreational program administrator for at-risk youth in his community. Two Monday’s ago he was very concerned when he saw a young man being arrested by police. So Shawn did as so many people did and decided to film it. The officers were being rough with the young man and Shawn simply wanted to document what was happening. Within seconds, police told Shawn it was illegal to film.

Let me pause right there. It is not illegal to film the police. You are allowed, in all 50 states, particularly if you are not interfering in any direct way, to stand by the side and film the police. When they say you aren’t they are lying. It has never been illegal. Police know this.

When Shawn respectfully refused to put his phone away, the police grabbed him, assaulted him, slammed him multiple times against the concrete road, then sprayed him with pepper spray. And here’s what’s crazy, Shawn George is a city employee and this took place at the Euclid Soccer Fields – where he is a coach and runs the Euclid Soccer Academy. They ended up arresting Shawn George for “resisting arrest” which is also illegal. He committed no crime.

Resisting arrest cannot be the crime you are arrested for. When it was all said and done, Shawn George, one of the most respected black men in his city, was cut and battered all over his body and looked like he had just been mauled by a dog. We’re demanding that all charges be dropped against Shawn George immediately. He’s been released but will be suing this department.

On the exact same day, thousands of miles away, in Grand Prairie Texas, 39-year-old Rashaun Barnes had the exact same experience that Shawn George did outside of Cleveland. Simply standing outside of a local corner store, police questioned Rashaun Barnes and hassled him for over half an hour, asking him why he was there. He had broken no laws and was being harassed for no reason other than being a black man standing outside of the store.

He had not stolen anything, sold any drugs, wasn’t drinking. He was simply hanging out. After 30 minutes of being hassled by police, Barnes decided to leave peacefully. Police then grabbed him, slammed him, tasered him, and Barnes lost consciousness. When he woke up in the area hospital, he was beaten beyond recognition. I’ve seen the pictures. His entire body was bloodied.

And get this – they never even charged him with a crime. He didn’t commit one.

Let me close with this thought –we must never be comfortable or complacent with injustice in America. I’m afraid that as Donald Trump has sucked the wind out of the news cycle, we’re allowing this problem to spiral out of control on our watch.

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11 thoughts on “Shaun King: ’28 People Have Been Killed By Police This Month’

  1. FallMornings on said:

    The majority of the murders of blacks were other blacks. Why aren’t we protesting and screaming in the streets about those murders? Where is BLM when another black kills his/her own? This is why many AA’s are reluctant to join BLM.

    • African American Woman on said:

      Totally agree! If we begin a serious dialogue in regard to stemming tge violence in our own communities, it would mean us taking responsibility for issues we have. That’s not going to happen because there wouldnt be anyone of a different race to blame.

  2. African American Woman on said:

    EXACTLY! This is why its hard to blindly follow these types of articles…no concrete data and always slanted to the point the writer wants the reader to believe. True informative articles tell the whole story, not just bits and pieces of what the writer is trying to force feed the reader.

    • EMaza on said:

      Uh..say what?! fact that you prefaced your comments with “African American female” leads me to believe that you are not. Secondly..what “slant”? Black people don’t have to “slant” anything when it comes to police brutality in this country. This shit has been going on for decades. And it will continue to happen. Its what we “civilized” human beings do best..hate..hurt and kill each other.

      • African American Woman on said:

        Firstly, i am an African American Woman. Secondly, just because you don’t like my point doesn’t mean I’m not black. Open your mind…all black folks don’t think the same! That’s how I know you are definitely black. Until I see proof and concrete numbers, I’m going to stand by what I said. This article, like many on BAW are slanted because BAW is not a site for objective news articles. Since you weren’t there, I assume, you don’t know what really happened either.

  3. Ronnell Sharpley on said:

    Mr. King first we must address the killing of African Americans by our own. As of yesterday 208 killed in Chicago, none bff law enforcement. However you don’t see people like yourself or others in you’re foeld stressing or addressing this. We only publicize what we believe are injustices done by others to us, not what we do to ourselves. Until we value our own how can we expect others to.

    • African American Woman on said:

      Racism existed, yesterday, today and will be here tomorrow…if we as a people plan on ever getting ahead, we’ve got to realize that racism will always exist and that we must succeed and exceed in spite of it…stop waiting on the white man to validate you…I’m glad you mentioned slavery…when our anscestors were physically freed, literacy was almost non existent. Through is opening our own schools and educating our own, literacy hovered around 80% just about 50 years later…we complain more now than we did when there was real and sanctioned racism and discrimination; the kind that could get you killed. Our great grandparents and our grandparents worked their behinds off to make sure future generations did better…they would be ashamed at us today…you don’t have to be physically enslaved to be in bondage-mental enslavement is much more effective.

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