Hope is not lost. These 2021 guilty verdicts against cops (current and former) are examples why


In Wilson, Oklahoma:

Former Oklahoma police officers Brandon Dingman and Joshua Taylor were convicted on Nov. 8 of murdering Jared Lakey, 28, in the second degree when they used their Tasers in a manner the court determined was both “dangerous and unnecessary,” according to The Washington Post. The officers targeted Lakey, a white man, in Wilson, Oklahoma, a city about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City with a population of 1,399, according to U.S. Census results from 2020.

”These officers didn’t violate their policy or training, they tortured Jared precisely because that’s how Wilson, Oklahoma, decided to police the community,” Spencer Bryan, the Lakey family’s attorney, told The Washington Post. Taylor and Dingman were called to investigate Lakey on July 4 after a caller described him “acting in a disorderly way,” The New York Times reported. When officers arrived, they said Lakey, who was naked and unarmed, wouldn’t comply with their commands. So they shocked him with Tasers, and eventually a Carter County deputy sheriff took Lakey into custody. He stopped breathing and later died on July 6 of multiple heart attacks, according to the Times.

In Kansas City, Missouri:

Detective Eric DeValkenaere was still employed by the Kansas City Police Department when he was convicted on Nov. 19 of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action after he shot and killed a Black man and planted evidence to justify his actions, prosecutors said. DeValkenaere, who has been suspended without pay, was convicted in a bench trial for the death of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb—making this the first time a white Kansas City cop has been charged for the death of a Black person since 1942, the Associated Press reported.

Judge Dale Youngs said DeValkenaere acted with “criminal negligence” and without considering the “substantial and unjustifiable risks associated with his conduct.”

“The court is further compelled to find beyond a reasonable doubt that when defendant shot and killed Cameron Lamb, number one defendant was not acting in lawful self defense,” Youngs said. “Number two, defendant was not acting in lawful defense of Sergeant Schwalm, and three, it being considered that defendant and Sergeant Schwalm were not affecting an arrest of Cameron Lamb or preventing his escape after an arrest, that defendant did not lawfully utilize deadly force as a law enforcement officer under Missouri use-of-force laws applicable to such officers.”

In Brunswick, Georgia:

Former cop and prosecutorial investigator Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted on Nov. 24 of murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery when they hunted him down and shot him after spotting him running on the site of a home under construction in the Satilla Shores community.

At one point in the trial against the accused white men, Kevin Gough, who represented Bryan, asked the court to consider Arbery’s death “suicide by citizen’s arrest.” Gough asked if we are going to try to arrest every police officer present at the scene of a malice murder. “That can’t be the law, your honor,” Gough said. “Just like on the street with the police officers, suicide by cop is not reasonably foreseeable, nor is suicide by citizen’s arrest.”

Travis McMichael, who fired the deadly shots at Arbery, testified that at the time of Arbery’s death his truck had been broken into so many times he started leaving the door open. He said as a former machinery technician for the U.S. Coast Guard, the law gave him authority to make arrests.

Travis testified that before shooting Arbery, he ran, but time and time again Travis kept engaging Arbery. The Black former high school football standout ran when Travis raised his shotgun, the murderer testified. “I’m thinking he’s […] coming back to the truck again,” Travis said, attempting to explain why he just didn’t let Arbery go. The next time Arbery was in Travis’ presence, “I shot him,” Travis admitted. He blamed Arbery for that action, testifying that he tried to grab at the shotgun. “He had my gun. He struck me. It was obvious that he was attacking me,” Travis said.

Only it wasn’t obvious to a jury.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on April 20 of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. In a deadly arrest, Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, outside of the Cup Foods corner store in Minneapolis.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, attempted to discredit testimony during the trial that the position Chauvin held Floyd in contributed to his death. “People sleep in the prone position. People suntan in the prone position. People get massages in the prone position,” he said during more than two hours of closing arguments. “The prone position in and of itself is not an inherently dangerous act.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified, however, that what Chauvin did is not a part of the Minneapolis Police Department’s standards. “There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds,” Arradondo said, but once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape, or form is anything that is by policy.

“It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

RELATED: Attorney calls for DOJ probe after Oklahoma cops use Taser more than 50 times to murder man

RELATED: Three men found guilty in murder of Ahmaud Arbery

RELATED: Derek Chauvin found guilty on all counts

RELATED: Cameron Lamb’s family gets imperfect, but historic justice when white cop convicted

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