Factbox: In Dallas, rare conviction for police officer who shot unarmed black man
(Reuters) – A Dallas jury on Tuesday took the rare step of convicting a police officer of murder for shooting dead Botham Jean, a 26-year-old black PwC accountant, after she accidentally walked into his apartment thinking it was her own.
The case of Amber Guyger, who lost her job on the police force as a result, sparked street protests after prosecutors initially opted to charge the white woman with the lesser crime of manslaughter.
The death was one of a series of killings that stirred the U.S. debate over police use of force against black Americans. Here’s a look at some other recent high-profile cases:
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American man, was convicted of third-degree murder for killing 40-year-old Australian Justine Ruszczyk Damond outside her home. In June, Noor was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison.
Michael Slager, a white police officer, was caught on video shooting a 50-year-old unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in the back after a traffic stop in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 4, 2015.
After a state murder trial ended with a deadlocked jury, Slager pleaded guilty to federal charges that he violated Scott’s civil rights and was sentenced in 2017 to 20 years in prison.
New York City police fired white police officer David Pantaleo in August over the July 17, 2014, killing of a Eric Garner, a black man, with a prohibited chokehold. Pantaleo was never criminally charged.
Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe!” were captured on video and became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement that aimed to call attention to police killings of unarmed black people.
Betty Shelby, a white police officer, was captured on video fatally shooting a 40-year-old black man, Terence Crutcher, as he stood near his car on Sept. 16, 2016, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Shelby said she feared Crutcher was reaching for a gun, but he had no weapon. A jury acquitted Shelby of first-degree manslaughter the following year, and she resigned.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot a 32-year-old black man, Philando Castile, five times during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, 2016. The officer said he had feared for his life when Castile said he was carrying a firearm and reached for his wallet when Yanez asked to see identification. Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter in 2017.
University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing fatally shot black motorist Samuel DuBose, 43, after stopping him for a missing front license plate in July 2015. Tensing, who is white, said he feared for his life during the traffic stop when DuBose refused to leave his vehicle, which started rolling forward slowly. Tensing pulled his gun and fired once.
A state jury was unable to reach a verdict on murder and manslaughter charges in November 2016, and a retrial in 2017 also ended in a hung jury.
Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, 2014. The killing sparked nearly two weeks of protests and rioting that subsided at the family’s urging just before Brown’s funeral.
A state grand jury declined to indict Wilson, and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute him, after evidence suggested that Brown had reached into Wilson’s car and tried to take his gun. Wilson is no longer with the police force.
In Baltimore, a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Gray, was arrested on April 12, 2015 after police said he fled the scene unprovoked in a high-crime area while in possession of an illegal switchblade.
After being transported in a police van, Gray was hospitalized unconscious and died on April 19 of what was determined to be a neck injury.
Six Baltimore police officers, including three who are black, were charged with Gray’s death. None was convicted, and the U.S. Department of Justice subsequently decided not to bring charges against them.
Timothy Loehmann, a white police officer, shot Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was displaying a toy gun, in Cleveland, Ohio, on Nov. 22, 2014.
A grand jury declined to indict Loehmann and another officer at the scene. Loehmann was later fired from the police department for concealing information in his original job application.
Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman
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