The facts: In an already tense climate after the death of George Floyd at the end of May in Minneapolis and the shots fired at Jacob Blake in Wisconsin at the end of August, the American police are being questioned again in Los Angeles, in Washington, D.C. and in the state of New York.
America is not done with its police violence. Three new cases in the last few days have provoked anger and questions in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Rochester, N.Y., in the Great Lakes area.
Tension in Washington, D.C.
In just a few days, a number of cases involving law enforcement and the victimization of Blacks have created new tensions across the United States, just a little more than three months after the death of George Floyd at the end of May in Minneapolis.
Wednesday, Sept. 2, in Washington, D.C., an 18-year-old African American lost his life. The police found him that afternoon, on the southeast side of the city, after having received information about “armed men in a vehicle.”
“When they approached the vehicle, some people ran away and an officer fired their weapon,” killing one person, explained the D.C. metropolitan’s chief of police, Peter Newsham.
The next day, body cam film from one of the police officers was released. It showed the victim suddenly appearing from the rear of a vehicle with a gun in his hand. The police officer shot once and the young man fell, grabbing his chest.
Tuesday evening in Los Angeles, protesters gathered. The day before, a Black man riding his bicycle had been stopped for a vehicle code infraction. He left his bike and “started running,” said authorities. Then he was captured and struggled with an officer before being killed by several shots.
Anger in Rochester
The facts surfacing in Rochester, a city situated along the shores of Lake Ontario, go back farther, to the death of Daniel Prude on March 23, 2020. Because of a crisis caused by psychological problems, the victim’s own brother had called the police.
At the family’s request, body cam images were released. According to these recordings, which are required of certain American police, an officer put a cloth bag over Prude’s head, whom they had found stretched out naked in the street. According to authorities, this was a matter of protecting officers, since the man was spitting and saying he had the coronavirus.
But when an officer put both his hands on the hood, Prude, having trouble breathing, begged someone to take off the cloth bag before he blacked out. He fell into a coma and died a week later. Prude, the father of five children who lived in Chicago, had traveled to Rochester to visit his brother.
Police Violence at the Heart of the Campaign
Since the death of Floyd, the question of police violence has been at the front of the election campaign. This is good news for the White House, troubled by the COVID-19 pandemic — almost 187,000 deaths in the United States — and by the serious economic recession that accompanied it.
Reinvigorated, Donald Trump promises “law and order” from now on. “Kenosha has been ravaged by anti-police and anti-American riots,” he declared Tuesday, Sept. 1, during a visit to the Wisconsin town, the scene of protests after the violence suffered on Aug. 23 by Jacob Blake, who is still paralyzed below the waist.
Two days later Joe Biden, his opponent, took his turn in Kenosha. “I had the opportunity to spend some time with Jacob on the phone. He’s out of ICU. We spoke for about 15 minutes,” Barack Obama’s former vice president confided while meeting with townspeople at a church.
According to The Washington Post, which has kept count of the victims of police violence for several years, 679 people have died since Jan. 1, 2020 after having crossed paths with the police.