For Millennials. By Millennials.
America is not the same right now as it was before George Floyd’s murder. On May the 5th, 2020, Floyd’s killing sparked a series of protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter throughout the world. Moreover, it forced everyone to comprehend just how far deep racism is in all our societies. But, did you know that the Police killed five other men on the same day George Floyd was killed? It’s true. Here are those 5 people who fell victim to police brutality. They include White, Latino, Black, and a Pacific Islander.
Five men killed by the Police, on the same day as Floyd
It’s a tragedy that the police killed other men the same day as George Floyd. Yet, the only reason we don’t talk about them as much is that their videos just never went viral on social media. So, this is a voice for the other five victims of police brutality:
1. Joe Louis Castillanos, Houston, 1:30 a.m. CT
Joe was a Latino ex-marine who served in Afghanistan. However, he suffered from an extreme case of PTSD after he came back. Afraid of what Joe might do to himself, his wife Joelaunda called the police. He kissed his daughters a goodnight kiss, took his gun, and told his wife that he was going to shoot himself. As a result, Joelaunda called the police, as Joe kept on walking down the street with his gun.
After that, the police arrived on the scene and were very aggressive towards him. Even though his wife screamed not to shoot him, the police killed Joe by shooting him multiple times in the back. Buzzfeed saw the video of the incident and saw that Joe never pointed a gun at them. However, Houston Police reported that they shot the man after he pointed the gun at them. Ironically, Houston Police has the most progressive Police chief in the country. Despite that, House ton Police had killed six people from April 21 till Memorial day.
2. Justin Mink, League City, 2:30 a.m. CT
On the same day, Police Officer Michael Guzman killed 33-year-old Justin Mink, after a minor scuffle while the officer was trying to arrest his companion, Sophia Thompson. Justin pulled a knife on Guzman, which is when the police officer shot the man twice and killed him on the spot. Justin had a history of alcoholism, vandalism, breaking and entering, and robbing a bank as well.
As a result, he had spent 8 years in prison. But, his ex-wife April recalls that he was trying to turn over a new leaf by working on a farm and learning about genetic engineering. His ex-wife and son didn’t learn of his death until a week later.
3. Dion Johnson, Phoenix, 7:30 a.m. CT
Erma Johnson, Dion’s mother, learned of her son’s death 10 hours after it occurred. Police offers told Erma about the killing of her son at her doorstep. But, the story they told of Dion’s shooting made absolutely no sense to her.
The police said that her son was asleep in the car, as the car was filled with empty beer cans. The officer then managed to take out the gun resting on the passenger seat, without waking Dion. And then as the police officer woke her son up, he tried to reach for the officer’s gun, which prompted the officer to shoot and kill the man on the spot.
Dion’s killing didn’t make any sense to his mother, as she had always taught him to record any interaction with the police, which didn’t happen in this case, except for one small video. Moreover, he never had any confrontational encounter with the police as well. However, the media ran reports about his past, as he was involved in two armed robberies. But, the officer who killed Dion had no way of knowing his past, and his character was irrelevant in this case. Sadly, Erma doesn’t even know the name of the officer who killed her son.
This is a lot like Rayshard Brooks’ death. The only difference is that there wasn’t any footage to spark outrage on social media.
4. Gary “Pat” Dorton, Jonesborough, Tennessee, 10:30 p.m. CT
There is no bodycam footage of Pat’s killing made available by the Police, so we just have the official version of the events. The Police arrived in 5,400, Jonesborough, where they received reports of a man armed with a large knife, who was threatening to hurt himself and a loved one. After that, the police’s version of the event state that Pat charged a deputy with a knife. After that, deputies fired tasers and guns at him, and Pat died at the spot. The name of the officers who killed the man is yet to be released by the police.
However, Pat had a history of mental illness and troubled childhood. Moreover, his neighbors recall him as the guy who could fix everything, including your car, garden, or even your drumkit. His death was a big loss to the community. His sister’s words in the obituary describe the sentiments of the community well:
Thank you for letting me borrow your GI Joe Jeep for my Barbies. Thank you for trying to let me be a kid after our dad died. I wish you had known I needed you to be a kid then, too. … Thank you for protecting our mom from having to watch you die by scaring her out of the house. … I love you.
5. Reymar Gagarin, Modesto, California, 10:30 p.m. CT
In California’s Central Valley, Officers Ray Owens and John Carrico were driving on an empty street, when they started chasing 35-year-old Reymar Gagarin’s car. Owens, who was 8 months into the job, claimed that Gagarin flashed a fake gun at him, according to the police reports. The bodycam footage showed Police officer Carrico firing his gun at Reymar, killing the man on the spot and naming it a suicide by cop. He was lying on the road in the video, but then it appeared as if he was trying to rise. That is when Carrico yelled, “stay down”, proceeded by gunshots.
Gagarin was a Pacific Islander and dropped out of Guam a decade earlier, after which he moved to Modesto. He then enrolled in a training program for an auto-mechanic and really tried to get his life back together. His aim was to become a mechanic and join a decent-paying job at a car dealer fixing cars. Instead, he stocked shelves at Walmart and completed Amazon orders.
However, the police officers who killed Gagarin claimed that he told his friends that he planned to lead officers on a chase until they’re forced to shoot him. But, those who have tendencies to commit suicide by cop already have preexisting suicidal tendencies, mental health issues, drug problems, or religiosity. Therefore, even if that was the case, Gagarin suffered from severe mental health issues.
“I can’t breathe”
And of course, the sixth man killed because of police brutality was George Floyd. His words “I can’t breathe” still echo in our ears. Did you know that he was in the same morgue and had his funeral in the same venue as Joe Castillanos? But, Joe’s death didn’t make any ripples in the news, whereas George Floyd’s death seized the entire world from functioning for weeks under the Black Lives Matter protest.
And the reason for such a huge difference is a video that went viral on social media. His wife Joelaunda couldn’t even get a customary salute for veterans for her deceased husband. She supports the cause of George Floyd, but can’t help but wonder that her husband died in obscurity.
It shouldn’t take a viral video for police brutality to come under check. And that is why the only way to check police brutality is by defunding the police. There is no other way. Only then will you not have to record every encounter you have with your local police.