Thursday, November 23, 2017
Trayvon Martin and Beyond
By Shonassee Shaver, Shannen Hill, and Brionna Lewis Sentinel Interns
Published July 19, 2013

19-year-old Timothy Stansbury, Jr.


23-year-old Sean Bell


22-year-old Oscar Grant III

17-year-old Victor Steen

18-year-old Ramarley Graham

19-year-old Kendrec McDade

17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis

Young Blacks killed by brutality

Neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in Sanford Florida. On July 13, 2013 Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter charges. While people across the nation expressed shock, Martin’s case is unfortunately not new. Following is a portion of a very long list of young unarmed Black men who were killed and whose murderers went unpunished.

Timothy Stansbury, Jr.:

Timothy Stansbury Jr. was gunned down by police officer Richard Neri in Brooklyn, New York on January 24, 2004. Stansbury was an unarmed 19-year-old Black man that did not have a criminal record. Officer Neri and his partner were patrolling the rooftop of Bedford-Stuyvesant housing project while Timothy and his friends were coming up a stairwell to cross the roof top building to go to a party.  As both Officer Neri and Stansbury approached the door to the stairwell, Stansbury pushed open the rooftop door and Officer Neri immediately drew his gun. Officer Neri was startled by Stansbury and accidently shot him. The Officers did not identify themselves or give a warning. Stansbury was shot in the chest and died on the stairwell. 

“Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called his death “a tragic incident that compels us to take an in-depth look at our tactics and training, both for new and veteran officers.” A grand jury deemed it an accident.”  On February 17, 2004, Officer Neri was found not guilty on criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter charges.

Timothy Stansbury Jr. was a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Sean Bell:

Sean Bell, 23, was killed by undercover and plain-clothed police officers in New York City’s Queens borough on November 25, 2006. On the morning before his wedding day, Bell was leaving a strip club (for his bachelor party) with two friends. According to the New York Post, an unnamed officer reported that Bell had an argument outside of the nightclub. Supposedly, officers heard someone saying, “Yo, get my gun” at the scene. Fearing a shooting, plain-clothed officers followed Bell and his friends as they returned to their car. An undercover officer approached the vehicle with his gun drawn, allegedly failing to identify himself, and ordered the driver to stop. Bell reportedly accelerated his vehicle and officers claim to have seen one of the passengers reaching for a weapon, yelling “gun” he and other officers on scene opened fire on the vehicle. After firing 50 bullets, Sean Bell was dead and his two friends injured. Three of the five officers involved in the shooting went to trial facing charges from manslaughter to reckless endangerment. The officers were found not guilty on all counts.

Oscar Grant III:

Oscar Grant III, 22, was on his way home (via Bay Area Rapid Transit train) from celebrating New Years Eve in San Francisco with friends. Around 2:00 a.m., on Jan. 1, 2009, BART officers received a call about a fight that had broken out on the train. Officers removed Grant, along with several other men suspected of fighting on the train. Grant was face down on the platform and allegedly resisting arrest. According to witnesses, the arresting officer stood and said, “Get back, I’m gonna tase him.” The officer then drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back. He was unarmed. Grant was pronounced dead the next day at a local hospital. Alameda County prosecutors charged the officer with murder. During the trial, the officer claimed to have seen Grant reaching for his waistband and mistakenly drew his pistol instead of his taser. The officer was found not guilty of second-degree murder and guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Today, he is out on parole.

Victor Steen:

Victor Steen was shot and killed by police officer Jerald Ard in Pensacola, Florida on October 3, 2009.  According to Officer Ard he saw Steen at a vacant construction site around 1:50 am and wanted to stop him for questioning. However, the unarmed 17-year-old refused to stop riding his bicycle while being chased by Officer Ard in his police cruiser.  Officer Ard fired a Taser weapon at Steen outside the window of the moving car and then ran him over.  The vulnerable victim was pronounced dead at the site. Although, this brutal incident was videotaped, the judge ruled in the favor of Officer Ard, stating there was no crime committed.  While there was no justice for Victor Steen, police were prohibited from firing tasers and pursuing suspicious suspects.

Ramarley Graham:

Two New York City police officers followed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham into his apartment and killed him in front of his 6-year-old brother on Feb 2, 2012.

 Moments before the shooting, officers from the NYPD’s Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit spotted Graham on the street adjusting his waistband and thought he had a gun, according to the a police source.

As the officers approached him, Graham ran to his apartment. Once inside, Graham locked the door and darted towards the bathroom. The officers kicked the door in and proceeded to shoot and kill Graham.

The NYPD was charged with manslaughter, but those charges were recently thrown out by a Bronx judge.

Kendrec McDade:

Pasadena police officers fatally shot and killed a 19-year-old, unarmed college student, Kendrec McDade, on March 24, 2012.

Officers Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin were responding to a 911 call in which they falsely believed McDade to be an armed robber. According to the officers, McDade was running down Sunset Street with his right hand at his waist. Officer Griffin says he saw McDade running towards him with what he perceived to be a gun and opened fire. The other officer heard the gunshots and assumed that McDade was shooting at his partner and proceeded to shoot and kill the teen.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has deemed the shooting “justified,” even though reports later showed that McDade was unarmed with his cell phone in his pocket. A security video also showed the robber to be a completely different person.

According to an autopsy, McDade suffered three fatal wounds and five other non-lethal rounds. McDade’s parents have filed a federal lawsuit.

Jordan Russell Davis

Just months after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin brought national attention to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law, Jordan Russell Davis, a promising 17-year-old high school junior who had hopes of being a Marine was shot dead by the hand of a gun owner who says he shot out of fear.

In a tragedy eerily similar to the Trayvon Martin, Michael Dunn remains in a Jacksonville jail after shooting 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis to death following an argument over loud music.

Dunn, a White man who was in town with his girlfriend to attend his son’s wedding, was in his own car when he pulled up alongside the SUV in which the teenagers were sitting and asked them to turn their music down. After an exchange of words, he fired between eight and nine shots at the vehicle, several of which hit Davis to cause his death. Dunn drove away from the scene following the shooting.

Dunn is charged with first degree murder.




Categories: National

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