Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is a grassroots activist movement in the United States that began in the wake of the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Florida shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. The Black Lives Matter movement campaigns against what it calls police brutality against African Americans in the United States. The group received fresh impetus from the 2014 deaths of two unarmed African Americans, teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and 43 year old Eric Garner in New York City; in both cases the grand jury did not indict the officers and no charges were brought. Several unarmed African Americans who died at the hands of law enforcement have had their deaths protested by the movement, including Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray (whose death sparked the 2015 Baltimore protests). Numerous media organizations have referred to it as “a new civil rights movement.”

List of deaths protested by Black Lives Matter

Date Name (age) City, state Description and aftermath
May 16, 2010 Aiyana Jones (7) Detroit, Michigan Shot by policeman Joseph Weekley during a house raid. Weekley was ultimately cleared of all charges after multiple mistrials.
November 19, 2011 Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. (68) White Plains, New York Shot by policeman Anthony Carelli in Chamberlain’s home. No criminal charges filed. Emergency services were drawn to Chamberlain’s home after his medical alert device activated. Chamberlain refused to let them in, with police breaking down the door to enter.
February 26, 2012 Trayvon Martin (17) Sanford, Florida Trayvon Martin was shot outdoors by neighbor hood watch  watch coordinator George Zimmerman, who was later charged and acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Resulted in the speech “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago” by President Barack Obama. Directly inspired the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement.
March 2012 Rekia Boyd (22) Chicago, Illinois Shot by policeman Dante Servin after Servin confronted a group of people in a local park. A directed verdict found Servin not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
November 23, 2012 Jordan Davis (17) Jacksonville, Florida Shot by software developer Michael David Dunn over an argument over loud music. Dunn was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
November 29, 2012 Timothy Russell (43) Malissa Williams (30) Cleveland, Ohio Both were shot during a car chase, each being hit more than 20 times. 13 policemen fired 137 shots into the car; the car chase stemmed from police thinking they were being shot at by the car’s occupants, but no gun was found in the car and the sound was later determined to be due to the back-fire of the Chevrolet Malibu. Policeman Michael Brelo was charged with voluntary manslaughter, but was cleared in 2014. The judge found that because other policemen had also fired, it was not beyond reasonable doubt Brelo was responsible for killing the duo.
November 2, 2013 Renisha McBride (19) Dearborn Heights, Michigan Shot by airport maintenance worker Theodore Wafer, after McBride had approached Wafer’s home on a rainy early morning after a car accident, seeking help. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in jail for second-degree murder, manslaughter and felony firearm usage.
April 30, 2014 Dontre Hamilton (31) Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Shot by policeman Christopher Manney, when a fight broke out when Manney attempted to frisk Hamilton. Although he did not face criminal charges, Manney was fired from the police.
July 17, 2014 Eric Garner (43) New York City, New York Died from a chokehold by policeman Daniel Pantaleo as well as the police’s compression of Garner’s chest. Garner was being arrested on the suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes.
August 5, 2014 John Crawford III (22) Dayton, Ohio Shot by policeman Sean Williams when police answered a 911 call alleging a man waving a gun in a Walmart store. Crawford was holding a pellet/BB gun being sold in the store itself. A grand jury declined to indict any policemen, but the United States Department of Justice is investigating.
August 9, 2014 Michael Brown (18) Ferguson, Missouri Shot by policeman Darren Wilson on a street. After Brown robbed a convenience store, he was confronted by Officer Wilson. The two struggled through the window of Wilson’s police vehicle, where Wilson shot Brown, who fled with Wilson pursuing. When Brown turned around and advanced on Wilson, Wilson shot Brown multiple times in the front. Both a St. Louis County grand jury and the United States Department of Justice decided not to charge Wilson. Resulted in several waves of the Ferguson unrest, as well as the “Hands up, don’t shoot” saying.
August 11, 2014 Ezell Ford (25) Florence, Los Angeles Shot by policemen Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, who confronted Ford as part of an “investigative stop”
November 20, 2014 Akai Gurley (28) Brooklyn, New York


Shot by policeman Peter Liang, who drew his gun and accidentally discharged it. A round ricocheted and hit Gurley, who was elsewhere on the same stairwell as Liang. Liang was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter, assault, and other criminal charges.
November 22, 2014 Tamir Rice (12) Cleveland, Ohio



Shot in a city park by policeman Timothy Loehmann. Rice had been allegedly pointing his air-soft pellet gun replica at passersby prior to getting shot. A grand jury will decide whether either Loehmann or his partner Garmback will be indicted.