Eric Harris is the latest in a tragic list of unarmed Black men who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement while being filmed by a witness with a camera. As we look back over the many times police brutality has been caught on tape, we can't help but wonder: Can these witness videos really keep Black lives safe? [Warning: Graphic Content Ahead.]
Rodney King's brutal police beating was one of the first instances where police brutality was caught on tape for the world to witness.
The police were acquitted of their assault charges which led to days of rioting in Los Angeles and sparked an ongoing conversation about race and police relations.
Oscar Grant was handcuffed and face down on the ground when Officer Johannes Mehserle shot him in the back on January 1, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART transit station. Cellphone footage from train passengers captured the fatal shooting.
Officer Mehserle was charged and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison in August 2010. He was released June 13, 2011.
Cellphone footage also captured the arrest and murder of Eric Garner by New York City Police who used an illegal chokehold on him while he repeatedly shouted "I can't breathe." This phrase became the theme of protests throughout the country after Garner's death.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted for the murder of Eric Garner.
An officer's dash cam captured 35-year-old Levar Jones being shot by a white South Carolina state trooper just seconds after being stopped for a seat belt violation. In the footage, Jones can be heard yelling: "Why did you shoot me?"
Jones survived the shooting. Officer Sean Groubert was fired and charged with assault and battery.
Surveillance footage captured Darrien Hunt, 22, being shot in the back four times by police in the parking lot of Saratoga Springs mini-mall. Hunt was carrying a fake samurai sword and walking around the parking lot.
While the officers claimed Hunt charged at them, surveillance footage shows Hunt running in the opposite direction from the two cops who were chasing him.
Utah County Attorney ruled the officers' use of deadly force "justified" and no charges were brought against them.
Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was killed while playing with a toy gun in a Cleveland Park. Surveillance footage shows police officers responding to a 911 call and shooting the 12-year-old within seconds of arriving to the scene.
A grand jury was convened to decide whether the two officers involved in the shooting would be indicted. Meanwhile, Rice's family filed a wrongful death claim against the officers and the city of Cleveland.
A police cruiser dash cam captured the fatal shooting of Jerame Reid who was killed with his hands in the air by a New Jersey Police Officer Braheme Days. After being pulled over, Days approached the passenger side where Reid was sitting and told him not to "f-cking move." Reid responded that he was going to exit the car and lay on the ground. Upon stepping out of the vehicle with his hands up, Officer Days fired, killing Ried.
Both officers in the shooting were placed on administrative leave.
Walmart surveillance footage shows 22-year-old John Crawford III walking around the store with an unpackaged toy rifle. A customer called the police. Two officers appeared on the scene and shot Crawford, killing him.
The officers were not indicted. The officer who shot Crawford remains on the police force on desk duty.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, unarmed Black man Eric Harris was shot by Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, who claims he meant to fire his taser instead of his pistol. In the body cam video, Harris is seen running from the police officers, shots are fired and Harris falls to the ground. He's then heard yelling: "He shot me! I'm losing my breath" to which an officer responds "F-ck your breath" with his knee on Harris' neck. Harris died an hour later.
Bates was charged with manslaughter on Monday, April 13.