5 Times a Black Police Officer Shot an Unarmed White Man
A short list of instances in which an African-American police officer shot and killed at least one unarmed white man. If you find yourself interested in any of these cases I suggest further research as some of these are still open investigations waiting on developments or decisions.
5. Gilbert Collar, 10/6/12
While under the influence of drugs, white and unarmed 18 year old Gilbert Collar was shot and killed by black officer Trevis Austin.
After ingesting an undisclosed hallucinogen, Gilbert Collar (a Freshman at Alabama) ran to campus PD station. His shirt was off and he was babbling nonsense. Witnesses say he was biting the driver, who was an ex-Alabama Football player. The driver reportedly punched Gilbert with force multiple times but he seemed unfazed, further displaying his incoherence. When brought to the police station he continued his lunacy and began to bang on the outside doors.
Office Austin already had his gun drawn when Gilbert stepped away from the windows and began to move towards his direction. When the two were a mere couple of feet away from each other, Office Austin shot Gilbert in the chest.
Critics of Austin’s actions maintain the situation should have been handled differently. As it is explained by these groups, not only did Gilbert never physically touch Officer Austin, but there was plenty of time to execute a less forceful strategy (pepper spray, taser).
Being an open case in Alabama, attention to it was reignited by the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old who was shot by a white Officer, Darren Wilson. Many saw these two cases to be quite parallel.
4. Jeremy Mardis, 11/3/15
Jeremy’s father, Christopher Few, was followed by police officers Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford after the two reportedly spotted Few having an argument with his girlfriend outside of a bar.
According to the two officers, they went to detain Few for what they had judged to be domestic abuse. Sources say Few took off in his SUV.
The pursuit came to a stop at a dead-end street. The two officers opened fire on the SUV, investigators say at least 18 rounds were fired. No firearm was found in the suspects vehicle and Christopher Few had no open warrants against him.
By the end of the shooting Christopher Few had been wounded and his 6-year old son was killed.
Both officers have been indicted since the shooting and are awaiting trial.
3. Dillon Taylor, 8/11/14
On August 8th, a 911 call was placed claiming Taylor was holding a gun and acting suspicious. Around 15 minutes later, Taylor was shot and killed by office Bron Cruz.
Family of Dillon Taylor maintains that the shooting was an injustice. They are currently suing the Salt Lake City Police Department which has taken the officers side in the incident claiming the decision to use deadly force was justified
The shooting was captured on body cam where Taylor appears to be reaching for something before putting his hands up. This occurred after multiple requests from the officer for Taylor to show his hands were ignored. Taylor had recently posted a Facebook status stating “I feel God can’t even save me on this one. It’s about my time soon.” He was homeless and had multiple open arrest warrants. His BAC at the time of the shooting as also twice the legal driving limit.
When searched after the shooting, it was determined that Taylor was indeed unarmed.
2. James Whitehead, 11/15/10
James Whitehead was a 29 year old Marine Veteran. In November of 2010 he was shot and killed by off-duty Police Captain Robert Arnold.
Investigators explained that Whitehead was trying to return an item inside of a store. He had lost his temper and Arnold intervened. Soon the altercation was outside and Whitehead was shot. An Orange County Grand Jury found the shooting to be justified.
Family of Whitehead are hoping to have the decision overturned, since it was ruled Whitehead caused his own death, many of his military benefits are being withheld from the family. On the flip side, Arnold (who was fired after the incident), is suing the city, accusing them of violating his civil rights when he was fired.
1. Ryan Keith Bolinger, 6/9/15
After a slow speed chase through Des Moines, Officer Vanessa Miller shot and killed Ryan Keith Bolinger.
According to Miller’s story, her and her partner had a unrelated driver pulled over when Bolinger drove his vehicle up to the side of the squad car. So close that the door could not be opened. Bollinger apparently got out of his vehicle and acted “erratically”, almost dancing in the street. Officers were confused. When he returned to his vehicle and drove off, the two officers pursued.
After Bollinger mad a U-turn and stopped abruptly, he left his vehicle and approached the squad car “with a purpose”.
From a short distance, Miller fired one round through her window, shattering it and landing the bullet in Bollingers torso and killing him. Bollinger had little to no prior records or interactions with the police department. He was unarmed.