Excessive Use is a series of works on paper created with a Glock 22 semi automatic pistol. Paper pieces in Excessive Use are named by the city and date of the event.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2013 – CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
On September 14, 2013 Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was driving home at 2 a.m. in Charlotte, North Carolina. He crashed his car, and climbed out the rear window to escape. He then went to a nearby house and banged on the door for help. The white woman inside the house called 911. When police arrived, Ferrell ran toward them to get help for his injuries. A white police officer fired 12 shots at him, hitting him 10 times at close range. Sufficient warning was not given. A North Carolina grand jury indicted Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrickon voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell, just days after a partial grand jury refused to do so. On August 21, 2015, a North Carolina judge declared a mistrial in the case after the jury reached a 4-8 deadlock.
NOVEMBER 29, 2012 – CLEVELAND, OHIO
On Nov. 29, 2012, Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell were shot and killed after a 22-mile high speed chase through Cleveland, Ohio involving 104 police officers. Russell was shot 23 times and Williams 24 times. The chase began about 10:30 p.m. when an officer thought he heard a gunshot from a car speeding by the police complex in downtown Cleveland. He jumped into his patrol car and radioed for help. When the chase finally ended in a middle school parking lot in East Cleveland, 13 officers had fired 137 bullets at Williams and Russell. When the bodies were removed from the car, police discovered the victims were unarmed. More than 30 percent of patrol officers violated at least one policy during the high-speed chase, either failing to follow a supervisor order to terminate the chase or by driving unsafely. Five police supervisors were indicted for dereliction of duty. The officers who fired included 12 whites and 1 Hispanic. Both victims were black. The NAACP called the shootings unacceptable and avoidable and called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called for a special prosecutor without ties to the northeast Ohio law enforcement community. The ACLU also asked the attorney general to remove East Cleveland police and the sheriff’s department from the state probe because they were involved in the chase. After a year and a half and many investigations, one of the officers, Michael Brelo, faced two counts of voluntary manslaughter. After Russell’s car came to a halt, most officers stopped shooting. But officer Brelo started shooting again and fired at least 15 shots, including fatal shots, down into the windshield into the victims as he stood on the hood of Mr. Russell’s car. Investigators found Brelo fired a total of 49 shots the night of the chase. Despite the initial belief that Russell or Williams may have fired at police, investigators never found a gun. The state attorney general says police were caught in their own crossfire. On May 23, 2015, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell found Brelo not guilty of the charges. O’Donnell stated that while Brelo fired lethal shots at Russell and Williams, other officers did as well. O’Donnell also found Brelo not guilty of a lesser included charge of felonious assault, claiming that Brelo was legally justified in his use of deadly force.
AUGUST 30, 2010 – SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
John T. Williams, a 50-year-old seventh generation Nitinaht carver of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, was shot four times (5 bullets fired) by a Seattle police officer Ian Birk on August 30, 2010. He died at the scene. His only crime appears to have been walking across the street carrying a carving knife and a chunk of cedar. The officer thought it was important to find out what was going on and why this person had an open-blade knife in public. Seattle Police Departments Deputy Chief Nick Metz said Birk got out of his car, approached Williams from behind and ordered the woodcarver to drop the knife three times. When Williams failed to do so within four seconds, Officer Birk fired his weapon five times from a distance of 10 feet. Williams was struck by four bullets, including one lethal shot to the chest wall, and died at the scene. In its initial statement to the press, SPD described Williams as having been “advancing towards” Officer Birk, who felt threatened and responded by firing his weapon. Over the next few days, eyewitnesses began stepping forward to dispute this version of events, and the police department quickly retracted its statement.
JANUARY 1, 2009 – OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA
Oscar Grant III was fatally shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer, Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009. Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded BART train returning from San Francisco, BART police officers detained Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer were restraining Grant, who was lying face down and allegedly resisting arrest. Officer Mehserle stood and, according to witnesses, said: “Get back, I’m gonna tase him.” Then Mehserle drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back; Mehserle appeared stunned, put his hands to his head and exclaimed, “Oh, my God!” During his court testimony, Mehserle said that Grant then exclaimed, “You shot me!” Grant turned out to be unarmed; he was pronounced dead the next morning at Highland Hospital in Oakland.
NOVEMBER 25, 2006 – QUEENS, NEW YORK
The Sean Bell shooting incident took place in the New York City borough of Queens, New York on November 25, 2006, when three men were shot at a total of fifty times by a team of both plainclothes and undercover NYPD officers, killing one of the men, Sean Bell, on the morning before his wedding, and severely wounding two of his friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman. The New York Post reported that, according to an unnamed undercover officer, Joseph Guzman had an argument inside the club with a woman and threatened to get a gun. One of Bell’s friends was heard to say, “Yo, get my gun” as they left the scene. Fearing a shooting might occur, African-American plain-clothed officer Gescard Isnora followed the men to their car while alerting his backup team, prompting the team to confront Bell and his companions before they could leave the scene. Isnora “held out his badge (by his account), identified himself as a police officer, and ordered the driver to stop.” Instead, Bell accelerated the car and hit Isnora, then hit an unmarked police minivan. By all accounts, Gescard Isnora thought he saw Guzman reach for a gun while in the car, yelled “Gun!” to other police at the scene, and opened fire on the car. The other officers and detectives joined him in shooting at the car, firing 50 bullets in a few seconds. Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment, and were found not guilty.
FEBRUARY 4, 1999 – NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amadou Bailo Diallo was a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea who was shot and killed in NewYork City on February 4, 1999 by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss, who fired a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which struck Diallo, outside his apartment at 1157 Wheeler Ave in the Soundview section of The Bronx. The four were part of the now-defunct Street Crimes Unit. All four officers were acquitted at trial in Albany, New York.In the early morning of February 4, 1999, Diallo was standing near his building after returning from a meal. Police officers Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy passed by in a Ford Taurus. Observing that Diallo matched the description of a since-captured well-armed serial rapist involved in the rape or attempted rape of 51 victims, they approached him. The officers were in plain clothes.The officers claimed they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and “show his hands”. The porch lightbulb was out and Diallo was backlit by the inside vestibule light, showing only a silhouette. Diallo then reached into his jacket and withdrew his wallet. Seeing the suspect holding a small square object, Carroll yelled “Gun!” to alert his colleagues. Mistakenly believing Diallo had aimed a gun at them at close range, the officers opened fire on Diallo. During the shooting, lead officer McMellon tripped backward off the front stairs, causing the other officers to believe he had been shot. The four officers fired 41 shots, more than half of which went astray as Diallo was hit 19 times. The post-shooting investigation found no weapons on Diallo’s body. The internal NYPD investigation ruled the officers had acted within policy.
OCTOBER 29, 1984 – BRONX, NEW YORK
66-year-old Eleanor Bumpurs was a black woman who was shot and killed on October 29, 1984 by New York City police. The police were present to enforce a city-ordered eviction of Bumpurs from her apartment in the Bronx after she was four months behind on her monthly rent of $98.65. When requesting NYPD assistance, housing authority workers told police that Bumpurs was emotionally disturbed, had threatened to throw boiling lye, and was using a knife to resist eviction. When Bumpurs refused to open the door, police broke in. In the struggle to subdue her, one officer shot Bumpurs twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. One pellet from the first shot struck her hand; all nine pellets from the second shot struck her in the chest, killing her. After several indictments and a bench trial, Officer Sullivan was acquitted of the charges of manslaughter. Two supervisors in the city’s Social Services administration were demoted for failing to seek an emergency rent grant for Bumpurs and for not getting her proper psychiatric aid.