Projecting Justice

Justice means they would still be alive today.

May 25 marks the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a watershed moment that has re-energized an ongoing nationwide movement and sparked an urgent conversation about the role of policing in our state. In Washington, about 40-50 members of our communities, disproportionately Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian American Pacific Islander, are killed each year by police officers. That must change. With Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, we projected names each night, beginning with George Floyd on May 25.

In the 2021 legislative session, ACLU-WA collaborated with the Washington Coalition on Police Accountability, a coalition which centers the voices of impacted family members whose loved ones have been killed by police. Our work seeks to bring us towards justice by preventing the unnecessary and unjust killing of others by police. Through lobbying, organizing, and policy efforts, our state legislature passed 14 bills on policing, aimed at reducing police violence.  
 
Special thanks to Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR) for designing and building our equipment.  

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Victims and Dates of Light Projections 

May 25 – George Floyd  
 
  • Giovonn Joseph McDade was killed in Kent in a traffic stop in June 2017.  He was not committing a crime and was unarmed when he was killed.  The vehicular pursuit was unnecessary.  He was 20 years old.  An officer standing beside Giovonn’s car shot him twice.   
  • Matthew Folden was killed in Wenatchee in a grocery store parking lot in July 2017.  Matt was agitated and is alleged to have threatened people with a pocket knife.  He was killed within 13 seconds of the police arriving on the scene.  Matt was 31 years old, had a history of drug use and co-occurring mental health issues, was a local musician and tattoo artist, and was a father and part of a loving family. 
  • Daniel Covarrubias was killed in Lakewood in April 2015, holding a cell phone when he was killed and the officers took no effort to use de-escalation tactics.  He was in a mental health crisis.  He was killed within seconds of officers arriving on the scene.  The shooting was deemed justified by the department. 
  • Shaun Fuhr was holding his child and running away from police when he was killed in Seattle in April 2020.  It appears that deadly force was not necessary and it was used in a reckless and indifferent manner.  There were other alternatives that day that would have kept Shaun alive. 
  • Jackie Salyers was killed by Tacoma Police Department, the officers shooting at the vehicle she was allegedly driving towards them, claiming their lives were in danger.  This death and cover up in early 2016 illustrates the failures of police investigating police, and the disregard for Native Americans.  Native Americans have the highest rate of fatal encounters with police.
  • Iosia Faletogo was shot by Seattle Police officers the afternoon of December 31, 2018.  He was pulled over for a traffic stop and fled the scene on foot.  Six officers chased him, tackled him, and held him down.  He had a gun on his person, and complied with commands to drop it and not reach for it. One officer shot him point blank in the head, although the officers heard Iosia say “not reaching."
  • Billy Langfitt was 28 years old when he was killed by a Pierce County Sheriff Deputy near Graham Washington, in 2018.  Billy was experiencing a mental health crisis and was unarmed when he was shot.  The deputy made no effort to de-escalate or use less lethal force.
  • Charleena Lyles weighed 100 pounds.  She was 14 weeks pregnant with three of her 4 children at home when she was killed by Seattle police.  Police allege she was holding a paring knife.   They had recently been to her apartment and were aware she struggled with behavioral health issues.  
  • Carlos Hunter was shot and killed in March 2019 while seat belted in his car, dragged to the ground, handcuffed.  He was left to bleed to death.  The police use the traffic stop to serve a warrant; and the police found no evidence of a crime in their search of his home or car. Carlos was the third Vancouver, Washington resident killed in a three week stretch.
  • Herbert Hightower Jr. was killed in 2004 by Seattle police while experiencing a mental health crisis.  Police claimed Herbert had two knives when they approached him and have changed their story multiple times, first stating that Herbert was walking towards them and they were remorseful for not using non-lethal weapons, then changing it to he was running towards them and they were no longer remorseful.  The family learned one of the knives claimed to be found on the scene was a round-edged butter knife.  The family still does not know what happened, and no one has been held accountable. Herbert was only 25 years old.
  • Leonard Thomas was unarmed, holding his son, when a SWAT sniper shot him in Fife Washington on the porch of his home in 2013. Three of the officers involved in killing Leonard were found civilly liable in federal court and a jury found that their egregious actions were directly responsible for Leonard’s unnecessary death.  All three of these officers have been promoted and still have their badges and jobs.
  • Jesse Sarey was killed in Auburn on May 31, 2019 by Officer Jeff Nelson, who had multiple complaints of excessive force.  Jesse was the third person he killed.  The King County prosecutor has filed 2nd degree murder and 1st degree assault charges and the officer was arrested.  Jesse was only 25 years old.
  • Stoney Chiefstick was killed in a crowd gathered for a fireworks celebration on July 3, 2019, in Poulsbo Washington.  The officer who killed him made no effort at all to de-escalate and instead rushed him and killed him.  There was no conversation, no effort to move the crowd, no use of alternatives. He was alleged to have had a screwdriver.  Stonechild Chiefstick’s death was unnecessary. 
  • Renee Davis was killed in her own bed in October of 2016 by two King County deputies. Those deputies were called for a welfare check and were there to make sure she was safe during a mental health crisis, yet they killed her in the presence of her children. The officers had their guns out before approaching her door, did not de-escalate, take time, or secure the safety of anyone involved before they kicked her bedroom door open and killed her. The officers’ actions were found reasonable.
  • Che Taylor was given conflicting demands by Seattle Police, and he had his hands up when they shot him and left him to bleed to death.  He was unarmed.  Che was killed in February 2016, and his brother and sister founded Not This Time to advocate for other families facing the difficulties of navigating the system after a police-involved shooting.
  • Kevin Peterson Jr. was shot in the back in October 2020, while running away from Clark County Deputies.  Kevin was 21 years old. He did not fire a single shot, yet police claimed he fired first, and immediately posted this misinformation on their website. Officers included these lies in their report. Kevin’s life mattered, and the truth matters.
  • Cecil Lacy Jr. was killed September 2015 by a Snohomish County Sheriff Deputy and Tulalip tribal police. He was walking, unarmed, committing no crime, having no criminal history. He died from asphyxia while prone, cuffed, with the deputy sheriff on his back. Cecil’s last words were “I CAN’T BREATHE.” Cecil was killed on his own reservation. Cecil left three kids, a wife, mother, grandchildren.
  • Joel Nelson’s death in 2016 should not have occurred.  Joel was unarmed and police de-escalation should have been used in his incident.  The Thurston County Sheriff needs to learn from Joel’s case and implement a transparent process for investigations.  Five years later conflicts of interest proving family relationships involved in the Sheriff’s office are still a major role in investigations.
  • Bennie Branch was checking on his mother who was living in her vehicle at the time, when Bennie was shot and killed by Tacoma Police Department. This shooting in September 2019 has so many facts in dispute, it needs an independent investigation, and a jury to weigh these facts.  Bennie was unarmed and shot in his back while running away.     
  • Patrick West was a loving husband, father, son, brother, and friend who suffered from bipolar disorder.  Police were called to his home in Montesano in April 2019 for a welfare check when he was experiencing a mental health crisis.  Patrick was alone in his own home and had not committed any crime.  The local police activated a multi-jurisdictional tactical response team, which surrounded his home with armed officers, snipers, and an armored vehicle.  Patrick was shot in the back and shoulder after tactical officers breached the door to his home with a battering ram.  He was holding a piece of steel from his workshop. 
Questions? Please email projectingjustice@aclu-wa.org.