In Loving Memory of The Victims From Police Brutality Throughout The United States: The Black Lives Matter Timeline 

By Alexandra Blockton
ablockton@lc.edu

The founders of Black Lives Matter are three women; Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors. This organized movement of Black Lives Matter is a protest against the alleged incidents of police brutality solely against the Afro-American people worldwide. This movement has no formal hierarchy. 

It is known as a decentralized network with well over thirty chapters worldwide!

Black Lives Matter is a slogan referring to a Twitter hashtag, a social movement, or a loose confederation of groups who are advocating for racial justice. Considered to be known as a “movement”, Black Lives Matter is dispersed and the leaders have made the importance very well known throughout the United States of America with local organizing over national leadership. 

Portrait by Moreena Hall.

Activist DeRay McKesson said, “[BLM] encompasses all who publicly declare that Black Lives Matter and devote their time and energy accordingly.”

This movement began in 2013, due to the shooting victim Trayvon Martin in February 2012, Martin was unarmed. George Zimmerman ,who was a police officer, had shot and killed him. Afterward, a hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, was posted on social media in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman. 

According to a Washington Post article by Naill McCarthy titled, “Police Shootings: Black Americans Disproportionately Affected”,  since January 1, 2015, 4,728 people have died in police shootings and around half, 2,385, were white. 1,252 were black, 877 were Hispanic and 214 were from other racial groups. Black Americans account for less than 13% of the U.S. population but the rate at which they are shot and killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans.

Through protests and rallies, Black Lives Matter has been known to build power where many individuals of all races and different cultures are involved.  

Timeline of the Victims Deaths: 

*In February of 2012, a teen boy named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by police officer George Zimmerman in Florida.

*In 2014, Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson which is a city near St. Louis, Missouri. It resulted in protests and unrest in Ferguson. Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including victims Antonio Martin, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Laquan McDonald, Ezell Ford, John Crawford III.

*In July 2014, Eric Garner died in New York City, after a New York City Police Department officer put him in a banned chokehold while arresting him. 

*In August 2014, during Labor Day weekend,and  Black Lives Matter organized a “Freedom Ride” that brought more than 500 African-Americans from across the United States into Ferguson, Missouri. Ezell Ford was also shot and killed by police officers in Los Angeles. 

*In November 2014, a New York City officer shot and killed Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African-American man. Gurley’s death was later protested by Black Lives Matter in New York City. Also, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy, was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer.

*In December 2014, between 2,000-3,000 people gathered at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota to protest the killings of unarmed black men by police. 

*In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, BLM protested the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford and Renisha Mcbride who died in April.. 

*In December 2014, in response to the decision by the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson on any charges related to the death of Micheal Brown, a protest march was held in Berkeley, California. 

*In 2015, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including those of Charley Leundeu Keunang, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Meagan Hockaday, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gary, William Chapman, Jonathan Sanders, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Jeremy McDole, Corey Jones and Jamar Clark as well as Dylan Roof’s murder of “The Charleston Nine.”

*Charley Leundeu Keunang, a 43-year-old Cameroonian national, was fatally shot by Los Angeles Police Department officers. 

*In April 2015, Black Lives Matter across the United States protested over the death of Freddie Gray, which included the 2015 Baltimore protests. After the shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina. Black Lives Matter, protested Scott’s death and called for citizen oversight of police. 

*In May 2015, a protest by Black Lives Matter in San Francisco was part of a nationwide protest, “Say Her Name”, decrying the police killing of black women and girls, which included the deaths of Meagan Hockaday, Aiyanna Jones, Rekia Boyd, and others. In Cleveland, Ohio after an officer was acquitted at trial in the shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, Black Lives Matter had protested. In Madison, Wisconsin, BLM protested after the officer was not charged in the shooting of Tony Robinson. 

*In July 2015, Black Lives Matters activists across the United States began protests over the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman, who was allegedly found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County Texas. 

*In 2015, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, Black Lives Matter rallied and protested the death of Samuel DuBose. after he was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati Police Officer. 

*In 2015, located in Newark, New Jersey, over a thousand Black Lives Matter activists marched against police brutality, racial injustice and economic inequality. 

*In 2015, Black Lives Matters protested the death of Jonathan Sanders, who died while being arrested by police in Mississippi. 

*In August 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina after, a judge declared a mistrial in the trial of a white Charlotte police officer who killed an unarmed black man named Jonathan Ferrell. 

*In September 2015, located in Baltimore, Maryland, Black Lives Matter activists marched and protested as hearings began in the Freddie Gray police brutality case. In Sacramento, California, about eight hundred Black Lives Matters protestors rallied to support a California Senate Bill that would increase police oversight. Black Lives Matters protested the shooting of Jeremy McDole. 

*In November 2015, Black Lives Matter activists protested after Jamar Clark was shot by the Minneapolis  Police Department. 

*In December 2015, a Black male, Mario Woods was shot and killed by San Francisco Police Officers. 

*In 2016, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions including those of Bruce Kelley Jr., Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Joseph Mann, Abdirahman Abdi, Paul O’Neal, Korryn Gaines, Sylville Smith, Terrence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Alfred Olango, and Deborah Danner. 

*In February 2016, Abdullahi Omar Mohamed, a 17-year-old Somali refugee, was shot and injured by Salt Lake City, Utah police after allegedly being involved in a confrontation with another person. The shooting led to Black Lives Matters protests. 

* At the beginning of July 2016, there were at least 112 protests in 88 American cities throughout the United States. 

*On July 5th, 2016, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black male, was shot several times at point-blank range while pinned to the ground by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

*On July 6, Philando Castile was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, at St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. According to his girlfriend, after being asked for his license and registration, Castile told the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in the car. She stated, “The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.” Their four-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle when this shooting occurred. She live-streamed a video on Facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Following the fatal shooting of Castile’s death, Black Lives Matter protested throughout Minnesota and the United States. 

*In July 2016, NBA Stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and DeWayne Wade opened the 2016 ESPY Awards with a “Black Lives Matter” message. 

*On July 26, 2016, Black Lives Matter held a protest in Austin, Texas to mark the third anniversary of the shooting death of Larry Jackson Jr. 

*On July 28th, Chicago Police Department officers shot Paul O’Neal in the back and killed him following a car chase. 

*On August 1st, 2016, police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African-American, and injured her son in the shooting. Gaines’ death was protested throughout the country. The incident occurred in Randallstown, Maryland near Baltimore. 

*In August 2016, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Black Lives Matter protested the death of Bruce Kelley Jr. who was shot after fatally stabbing a police dog while trying to escape from police the previous January. 

*In September 2016, Black Lives Matter protested the shooting deaths by police officers of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

*In November 2016, Black Lives Matter protested the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, calling for the resignation of numerous Chicago officials in the wake of the shooting and its handling. McDonald was shot 16 times, by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. 

Portrait by Moreena Hall.

*In September 2017, Black Lives Matter protested the shooting of Jocques Clemmons which occurred in Nashville, Tennessee on February 10th, 2017.

*In 2020 on February 23, Ahmaud Arbey, an unarmed 25-year-old African American man was fatally shot while jogging in Glynn County, Georgia. Arbery had been pursued and confronted by three white residents driving two vehicles, including a father and son who were armed. All three men have been indicted on nine counts, including felony murder. 

*On March 13th, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky police officers knocked down the apartment door of 26-year-old African-American female Breonna Taylor, serving a no-knock search warrant for drug suspicions. Police fired several shots during the encounter which led to her death. Her boyfriend was present when the shooting occurred. He called 911 and said, “Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.” 

*In May 2020  was considered to be the breaking point of victims being killed by police brutality when George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin. Eventually Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder after a video circulated through social media sites showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd pleaded for his life repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe!” as well as pleading for his mother to help him. 

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