Remembering the Black men and immigrants killed by U.S. police
FELICIA J. PERSAUD | 6/4/2020, midnight
Like many, it was horrifying for me to watch another Black man, George Floyd, have the life squeezed out of his body––literally––by a member of America’s Finest. And during a pandemic no less!
But the harsh reality is that since I moved to this country in 1996, I have lost count of the number of Black and Latino men and immigrants killed by police without genuine cause.
They leave behind a growing list of heartbroken mothers and family members whose hearts are forever pierced and whose tears, if combined together, could fill an ocean.
February 4, 2020 marked 21 years since Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo was murdered in the Bronx by police in a hail of 41 bullets as he stood on his stoop on February 4, 1999 and reached for his wallet. He was just 23 years old and would have turned 44 this September.
On May 23, 2003, an unarmed Burkina Faso immigrant, Ousmane Zongo, was shot four times by a New York Police Department officer during an undercover counterfeit raid at a warehouse. The NYPD later admitted Zongo had nothing to do with the counterfeiting.
On July 24, 2009, a homeless Sudanese immigrant, Jonathan Deng, was killed by cops in Iowa City, Iowa.
On Sept. 25, 2012, Guinean immigrant Mohamed Bah was shot seven times and once in the head by the NYPD inside his home. Mohamed’s mother, Hawa Bah, had called 911 for an ambulance for her son, who was in physical and emotional distress. NYPD officers arrived first. Reportedly, despite Mrs. Bah pleading with them not to, Emergency Services Unit officers forced their way into her son’s apartment—against NYPD protocol and without a warrant—with guns drawn and shot him eight times, killing him.
On November 20, 2014, in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S. Virgin Islands national, Akai Gurley, 28, was fatally shot by a New York City Police Department officer who was patrolling stairwells in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)’s Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn.
On March 1, 2015, Cameroonian immigrant Charley “Africa” Keunang was killed by cops in Los Angeles, CA’s Skid Row.
On June 14, 2015, Sudanese immigrant Deng Manyoun was killed by cops in Louisville, Kentucky.
On April 25, 2015, a homeless, unarmed Haitian immigrant, David Felix, was shot to death by two veteran NYPD detectives. He was an aspiring fashion student and loved world history.
In September 2016, a Ugandan immigrant, Alfred Olongo, 38, was shot several times by police responding to a call for emergency psychiatric aid.
In Southaven, Mississippi, just before midnight on July 24, 2017, police killed undocumented immigrant, 41-year-old Ismael Lopez, after knocking on the door of the wrong house––while answering a domestic violence call––and opening fire. To make matter worse, the city argued in court that because Lopez was an undocumented immigrant, he wasn’t protected by the U.S. Constitution.
These are just a few immigrants shot and killed by police across the U.S. in recent years as the list gets longer and the protests last for a short time, the beat simply goes on. Until the next time! This, I have learnt as an immigrant, is part of the reality of life in America for people of color.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow