Officer Involved is our new twice-weekly round-up of the latest headlines involving stories of police involved shootings and police brutality–a column we wish we didn’t need.
-Aurora police confirmed that Naeschylus Vinzant was an unarmed, 37-year-old man was fatally shot by police on March 6 near an elementary school. Three days later, police confirmed that Vinzant removed his Department of Corrections ankle monitor days before his death. Police were trying to arrest Vinzant in connection with a robbery, kidnapping and assault investigation. The officer who fired the shot, Officer Paul Jerothe, has been placed on administrative leave. Arapahoe County’s district attorney requested Jefferson County to review the case, once Aurora police have completed their internal investigation, due to a potential conflict of interest.
-On March 6, unarmed, 19-year-old Tony Robinson died of gunshot wounds after Madison Police officer Matt Kenny fired his gun following an incident on Williamson Street. Allegedly, Kenny responded to reports of a Black man running into traffic who then disturbed an apartment building by battering residents. Police Chief, Mike Koval states that Kenny fired after Robinson assaulted him, and Officer Kenny was acting in self-defense. Kenny is on paid administrative leave. The Wisconsin Justice Department expects to complete an investigation within the next two weeks.
–Anthony Hill, an Army veteran and who suffered from mental illness was shot and killed by Officer Robert Olsen outside of his apartment building in Atlanta on March 9. The 27-year-old was allegedly unclothed and unarmed, and on his hands and knees in a parking lot when the officer arrived to the scene. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case. Officer Olsen is placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
–Terry Garnett, Jr., 37-years-old, died on March 12 after a single gunshot wound to his head. The officer that shot Garnett has been identified as Deputy First Class Joseph Costa. According to Sergeant Marc Black, spokesman for Maryland State Police headquarters in Pikesville, Garnett refused to pull over for a traffic stop on Augustine Herman Highway, and instead he turned around on a side road and proceeded toward the officer. After obtaining a warrant, investigators found the SUV contained, “a large amount of heroin.” The Cecil County Sheriff’s office is having its own internal investigation. Costa is on administrative leave pending on the results of the investigation.
–Salome Rodriguez, Jr., an Ontario 23-year-old, was shot around 3:30 a.m. on March 13 after a physical altercation occurred according to Potomo Police department. Rodriguez was shot in his lower torso. He then ran for a block and collapsed into a parking lot. This Monday, police issued a warrant for LA Police Officer, Henry Solias as a “person of interest” in the death of Rodriguez. Investigators believe that Solias was not on duty at the time of the altercation. Since identifying him, Solias has not reported to work since. Solias’s car was found on Sunday, approximately three blocks where Rodriguez was shot. On Tuesday, Police Chief Charlie Beck announced that Solias was fired.
-On March 16, 22-year-old Dominique Chapman, was shot and received injuries that were non life-threatening, according to police during a confrontation with an officer. Norfolk Police Department spokesman Sam Shenouda said officers responded to a report of a man armed with weapon. When they arrived, officers confronted a man with a handgun and shots were fired. Chapman was taken to a local hospital, where he remained Tuesday evening while in police custody. Shenouda said Chapman was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and altering a serial number or other identification on a gun. Norfolk Police Detectives are investigating the shooting. The officer who shot Chapman has been placed on administrative duty throughout the investigation. The officer involved in the shooting did not activate his body camera at the time of the incident. Body cameras were introduced to the Norfolk Police Department in early February.
-University of Virginia student, Martese Johnson was beaten by police outside a popular bar near his school’s Charlottesville campus early yesterday morning. According to witnesses, officers accosted Johnson from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control after attempting to use a fake ID to enter a bar. Images of Johnson being held down by cops with a bloodied face went viral, as UVA students made public demands for accountability. A rally and march last night brought out massive crowds, and both state and university leaders have called for a full investigation.
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