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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C

The police killings that have sparked racial tensions in the US this year

The shooting dead of Antonio Martin joins a growing list of similar incidents in the last six months.

THE POLICE SHOOTING of a young black man in the St Louis, Missouri suburb of Berkeley has sparked protests and further debate on racial tensions in the United States.

Antonio Martin, 18, was shot dead by a police officer outside a gas station in Berkeley last night after he raised a pistol at the officer, according to local law enforcement. The shooting sparked protests and clashes with police at the scene.

The incident joins a growing list of similar incidents which have stoked racial tensions in the United States in the last six months:

July 17

African American father-of-six Eric Garner, 43, dies after being held in a police chokehold while he is being arrested for selling individual cigarettes illegally in New York. A coroner declares the death a homicide, but a grand jury opts not to charge the white officer involved, unleashing demonstrations in several cities.

we cant breath New York Daily News New York Daily News

August 9

A white police officer kills an unarmed black teenager, aspiring college student Michael Brown, 18, unleashing ten days of protests and riots and heavy-handed police tactics in Ferguson, Missouri. The later decision not to indict the police officer, Darren Wilson, prompts riots in Ferguson and raises racial tensions.

Police Shooting Missouri AP / Press Association Images Protestors autograph a sketch of Michael Brown during a protest in Atlanta, Georgia AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

November 20

An unarmed black man, Akai Gurley, 28, a father of a young daughter, is shot by a white police officer who opens fire in a dimly lit staircase at a Brooklyn, New York apartment block. On the day of his funeral on December 7, New Yorkers take to the streets to denounce the spate of police killings.

Police Involved Shooting AP / Press Association Images The stairwell where Gurley was allegedly shot AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

November 22

In Cleveland, Ohio, a video of US police officers shooting dead Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy carrying a replica gun seconds after confronting him stokes anger.

cleveland-3 Cleveland Police CCTV footage from the moments before Tamir Rice was shot dead Cleveland Police

December 23

Police say they shot dead an African American teenager in the town of Berkley, near Ferguson. Police said an officer opened fire on the teen who was carrying a handgun at a petrol station (see below), hitting him several times and killing him.


In another incident on December 20 an African American gunman with an apparent grudge kills two New York police officers, Wenjian Liu, 32 and Rafael Ramos, 40.

They are shot in cold blood in the head in their car parked in front of an poor apartment block in Brooklyn. Their killer, a suspected member of the “Black Guerilla Family” gang, which is known to the police, then commits suicide on the platform of a subway station.

© – AFP 2014

WATCH: Footage shows moments before police officer shot Antonio Martin

Read: Police in the US are being armed to the teeth — and it’s terrifying

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