While we stand for justice, dignity and honor of the black life all too often the names of black women senselessly murdered by law enforcement are glazed over. We have a duty and responsibility as Black women and hosts of a podcast that advocate and amplify the voices of black women to bring awareness and shed light on the sisters who are no longer with us. We will always and forever SAY HER NAME.
At 2:13 p.m. on October 3, 2013—10 months before Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, nine months before Eric Garner was choked in Staten Island—a 34-year-old African American woman drove into a checkpoint in Washington, DC. Her car, a Nissan Infiniti, had Connecticut license plates; her one-year-old daughter sat in the back.
Miriam drove into the checkpoint, before realizing that that she has mistakenly entered a wrong turn. Secret Service officers began hollering at her—and she turned her car around. When she attempted to drive out of the checkpoint area, an off-duty Secret Service officer placed a section of metal fencing in front of her. Fearful of armed officers approaching her vehicle she sped off and officers struck her five times from behind (with her 18 month old in tow) killing the mother instantly.
Miriam Iris Carey was born August 12, 1979 in Stamford, Connecticut and was a dental hygienist licensed to practice in New York and Connecticut. She was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. She obtained an associate degree in dental hygiene from Hostos Community College and with a degree in health nutrition science from Brooklyn College in 2007.
According to a family spokesman, Carey had previously been hospitalized for postpartum depression, as and had been depressed since giving birth to her then 18 month old who was in the care the fateful day of her death. Carey's sister attested that she was "not delusional" and had been placed on a one-year medicated treatment plan for her postpartum depression. Dr. Steven Oken, her employer for eight years, described Carey as a "non-political person" who was "always happy". On the day of the incident, Carey was taking her daughter to a doctor's appointment in Connecticut.
In the wrongful death suit Carey’s family cites that she was unfamiliar with the area and mistakenly drove past the first guard post. When she tried to make a U-turn and drive away, a uniformed Secret Service officer threw a bicycle rack at her car, the lawsuit claims.
Carey panicked when she was stopped near the traffic circle and surrounded by officers with their weapons drawn, the suit alleges.
On July 10, 2014, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that no charges would be filed against the federal officers and agents, stating, "After a thorough review of all the evidence, the U.S. Attorney's Office concluded that the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers who were involved in the shooting used excessive force or possessed the requisite criminal intent at the time of the events."
Darnesha Harris was 16 years old when she was killed on December 2nd 2012 in Breaux Bridge, LA. Police arrived to the scene of a disturbance at the same time Harris was trying to get away from the fight. In her panic, her car hit a police car, a parked car and then a bystander. Police shot her. It is not clear if she was shot while her car was moving. Witnesses say she was shot with her hands in the air. Family, friends and community members have vigiled and rallied for “Justice for Darnesha”. A Minister called for an independent investigation and noted that the police could have stopped the car rather than shooting her in the head. The results of the state’s investigation are not yet known.
On the night of November 29, 2012, Malissa Williams was killed by Cleveland, Ohio police officer Michael Brelo, along with Timothy Russell. Williams was 30 and Russell was 43 at the time of their deaths.
We know little about the background of Williams beyond her birth date of June 20, 1982 in Cleveland.
On the night of the fatal shooting Timothy Russell was driving his 1979 light-blue Chevrolet Malibu where Malissa Williams was seated in the passenger seat. A plainclothes police officer spotted Russell's car in an area known for drug deals. The officer checked the license plate which uncovered nothing notable. So he then tried to pull the car over for a turn signal violation. Russell did not pull over causing a police chase to ensue. As Russell sped past two officers, they believed that they heard shots being fired. As no firearm was found in the vehicle, the sound was they heard was caused by the car backfiring.
Police cruisers surrounded Russell’s car in a school parking lot in East Cleveland, and 13 officers fired 137 shots at the car; Russell and Williams were both struck more than 20 times each. “The officers, who were firing on the car from all sides, reported believing that they were being fired at by the suspects,” the Justice Department report later confirmed that those shots were being fired by fellow officers.”
One officer in particular -- Michael Brelo came under particular criticism after the shooting for his brazen use of force: After his colleagues stopped firing, he allegedly stood on the hood of the car and fired the last shots downward into the windshield.
In total, Brelo fired 49 shots.
In May 2014 (2 years after the fatal shootings), Brelo, was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter, and was acquitted by a Cuyahoga County judge of the charges on May 23, 2015. On January 26, 2016, six Cleveland police officers were fired due to their connection with the car chase. They were identified as Michael Brelo, Wilfredo Diaz, Brian Sabolik, Erin O'Donnell, Michael Farley, and Chris Ereg.
Investigators said the six police officers' firing was delayed to give time for Brelo's trial to finish.
The deadly shooting ultimately resulted in no criminal convictions — even though it led to a federal investigation into the Cleveland Police Department. 63 Cleveland cops were temporarily suspended, along with the six cops fired.
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