The 2020 United States Civil Rights Movement

The Start

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the civil rights movement fought for social justice, mainly for black Americans to achieve equal lawful civil liberties in the USA. The Civil War officially stopped slavery, however not discrimination dealing with the black community. They continued to sustain the overwhelming effects of racism, significantly in the South. Black Americans grew tired of bias as well as physical violence against them. In addition to a number of white Americans, they constructed and also launched a unique battle for equality that went across twenty years.

Throughout Reconstruction, black individuals held leadership duties. They took public office, preferring equality and voting legal rights. The Reconstruction initiative from 1865 to 1877 was to restore the unity of Southern states from the Confederacy, and four million just recently released slaves into America.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution gave black Americans legal and equivalent protection in 1868, and the 15th Amendment also enabled them to vote in 1870. Yet, various white Americans were bothered that those they had controlled were currently on a kind of equal opportunity.

To diminish blacks, separate them from whites, and remove Reconstruction progression, “Jim Crow” laws were built in the South beginning in the late 19th century. Black individuals were forbidden from accessing the very same towns or institutions as whites. Interracial marriage was illegal. Since they could not pass proficiency tests for the ballot, nearly all black people could not vote.

These regulations were not embraced in the northern states. Nonetheless, blacks ran into discrimination at the workplace or in efforts to purchase a house or get an education. In some states, regulations passed that restricted voting civil liberties for black people.

In 1896 when the United States Supreme Court verified Plessy v. Ferguson for white and black individuals to be “separate but equal,” southern segregation picked up speed.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957

Although all United States residents attained voting rights, various southern states created problems for black Americans. They frequently got people of color to pass confusing proficiency voter examinations that were misleading and consisted of difficult questions.

Showing commitment to the civil liberties activity as well as the reduction of racial pressures in the South, Eisenhower’s administration pressed the U.S. Congress to recognize brand-new civil liberties regulation.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was signed into regulation by Eisenhower on September 9, 1957. Because of Reconstruction, this act was the first considerable civil rights regulation that enabled the federal prosecution of individuals who attempted voting avoidance. It likewise produced a commission to review voter fraudulence.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Lyndon B. Johnson authorized regulation released by Head of state John F. Kennedy prior to his assassination on July 2, 1964. The act stated equivalent employment for all, constrained citizen literacy tests, and granted federal authorities the right to make sure public centers were integrated.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Progressing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 right into law on August 6, 1965, which prohibited the citizen proficiency tests and granted government supervisors in particular voting territories. The act additionally let the attorney general contest regional as well as state poll taxes, leading to the taxes later being unconstitutional in 1966 when it comes to Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections.

The Civil Rights Act of 1968

The Civil Rights Act of 1968, or the “Fair Housing Act,” provided equivalent real estate chances regardless of national origin, creed, or race. It additionally illegalized the disturbance of housing chances as well as legal rights.

The Beginning of a New Civil Liberty Motion

A Contrast of Past and Present

The Black Lives Matter movement objections following the authorities’ killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery remind Margaret Burnham of 1968. At that time, the public reaction to the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., coupled with continuous civil rights and Vietnam War disputes, drove America further into turmoil.

Burnham is a respected university professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law and the director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project.

Northeastern University

“This is taking place in a world that is not only deeply fractured, but also deeply fragile because of the coronavirus, the economic crisis that makes the country look a little bit like 1929, and the existential threat of climate change,” Burnham stated. “It’s everything collapsing all around us.

“People who are taking to the streets are doing so not just because they never thought they would see a lynching played out on video,” she says of Floyd, who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. “But it’s also because they sense that there is no real plan either to face and defeat the virus or to acknowledge and defeat the pandemic of racism in this country.

“This is what has led to the frustration, as it has in the past.”

Black Lives Matter

Founded in 2013, Black Lives Matter was birthed in action to Trayvon Martin’s murderer’s pardon. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc has a mission “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

The new motion is effective yet scattered, linked by the pressure of social networks. A Twitter hashtag can link the destinies of those shot by police, going beyond local boundaries as well as time zones. A publicly shared Facebook post can plan protests or events.

Young protesters are sometimes mindful of being called the new civil rights movement because the label cripples the stressful fact of what is being faced by black Americans and since the new motion has not grown.

“Social media plays a big part in everything. I find out information, I put it on Twitter, it starts trending the more people talk about it, and then the institutions start feeling the pressure,” Kwame Rose, a young Baltimore civil rights protester, says.

Kwame’s father informed him at a young age about civil liberties history. Now, he understood he was battling the same fight. Kwame quotes James Baldwin by clarifying: “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.”

“I see what’s being done, and I’m mad about it,” he proclaimed.

Departments are reasonable as a motion creates. Alicia Garza, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, reveals just how the organization has actually been pieced apart by teams who have looked for to change the movement’s message to proclaim that “All Lives Matter.”

“The reality, of course, is that they do,” she says, “but we live in a world where some lives matter more than others. ‘All Lives Matter’ effectively neutralizes the fact that its black people who are fighting for their lives right now.

“I have to be honest, I feel like I live in a constant state of rage, and I think a lot of black people do… It’s more than depressing to me. It makes me angry, particularly when people try to deny it’s happening.”

The Fatality of George Floyd

Who was George Floyd?

George Floyd lived as a 46-year-old papa, investing the majority of his life in Houston, Texas. Charged in 2007 with armed robbery, Floyd took part in a home invasion in Houston. In 2009, he started an appeal bargain punishing him to five years behind bars. Several years later, Floyd looked for a fresh start. Unemployed, he relocated to Minneapolis to obtain work, settling as a truck driver and bouncer. Before the man’s death, he functioned as a security guard at Conga Latin Restaurant, an American Latin dining establishment, in the city. Nevertheless, because of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, he was left out of work.

Why was Floyd detained in Minneapolis?

Officers replied to a call on May 25 from a store worker who declared Floyd made use of a phony $20 expense to purchase cigarettes. The store’s owner Mike Abumayyaleh told an information source that Floyd consistently pertained to the store as well as never triggered concerns.

What was Floyd’s cause of death?

On June 1, a medical supervisor noted Floyd’s fatality as a homicide, specifying that his heart stopped as the cops pressed on his neck and also held him.

According to info from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, the cause of death was kept in mind as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.”

“[Floyd] experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” it concluded. Listed under “other significant conditions,” the office stated Floyd suffered from heart disease and hypertension. Also recorded were fentanyl intoxication and the recent use of methamphetamine. These determinants were not classified under Floyd’s cause of death.

A different postmortem examination sent for Floyd’s household also explained his death as a homicide, ending that asphyxiation because of back and neck compression was the cause of death. The postmortem examination discovered the compression stopped blood flow to his brain as well as made it difficult for Floyd to breathe.

Who are the officers associated with Floyd’s death?

Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J.Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao were the 4 Minneapolis officers who were present when Floyd was restrained. Chauvin was seen in the viral video footage stooping on the man’s neck.

Chauvin, charged with third-degree murder as well as second-degree homicide, and also his undesirable act of restriction caused protests throughout the globe, later obtaining a charge upgrade to second-degree murder.


The other three law enforcement officers were fired the day following his death. Not at first charged, the 3 are now charged with second-degree wrongful death and aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Subsequent Riots

Tuesday, May 26

Numerous people engulfed the streets of the same crime scene on Tuesday to oppose Floyd’s fatality. Yells of “I can’t breathe,” echoed.

“We’re here to let them know this can’t be tolerated, there will be severe consequences if they continue to kill us this will not go on another day,” one demonstrator proclaimed.

At around 6 P.M., the rally transformed into a journey towards the 3rd Precinct. People started rioting, ruining the building as well as squad cars, and damaging windows.

Minnesota Daily

“It’s real ugly. The police have to understand that this is the climate they have created, this is the climate they created,” an additional protester responded.

Police officers consequently showed up in riot equipment, hurling tear gas as well as flash explosives as demonstrators threw rocks, water bottles, and more products at the Minnesota officers. The fierce crowd was measured in the hundreds.

Wednesday, May 27

Authorities released the identifications of the 4 officers involved in the death of Floyd: Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J.Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao.

President Joan Gabel of the University of Minnesota declared they would certainly no longer contract with the police department for law enforcement support during considerable events or for specialized services.

George Floyd’s fatality stayed under examination by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

Communities requested charges against the four policemen after they were fired Tuesday.

Thursday, Might 28

Minnesota Daily

With remains of burned cars and also structures, vandalized companies, and fires still ablaze in cities throughout America, firefighters and police functioned relentlessly to continue to remain order as well as safety.

Minnesota Daily

President Donald Trump reacted to the third night of looting and rioting on Thursday.

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” President Trump tweeted.

Minnesota Daily

Various businesses were set on fire by rioters striking the 3rd Precinct. Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor, announced it was his arrangement for cops to evacuate the district.

“The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of lives of our officers or the public, we could not risk serious injury to anyone,” Frey stated. “Brick and mortar is not as important as life.”

Friday, May 29

Derek Chauvin, the police officer that knelt on George Floyd’s neck, was jailed on May 29.

With solid connections to the neighborhood, Ellen Vanden Branden and also Erin Horvath voluntarily helped to sweep charred timber, busted glass, and also various other debris outside of a burnt-out structure on East Lake Street in Minneapolis on Friday, May 29.

Minnesota Daily

Protesters erected a barricade, obstructing traffic on I-35W on Friday, and tried to pull items from the back of a UPS vehicle.

Minnesota Daily

Saturday, May 30

3 people were shot, and one died among riots in Indianapolis on Saturday. One officer sustained injuries.

Kyle O. and Andy Murphy of Boy Scout Troop 196, functioned to remove debris beyond a store near the 5th Precinct District in Minneapolis after one more evening of riots on Saturday.

Minnesota Daily

Numerous Seattle police vehicles were set on fire as the troubles raged. Near Westlake Center, press reporters filmed cars ablaze around 4:00 P.M. local time.


A Los Angeles Police Department booth burned in The Grove shopping mall.


Sunday, May 31

Andrew Johnson aided to clean a looted Target store on Sunday. He said, “It was destroying me to see the community like this, so I wanted to do something.”

Minnesota Daily

A National Guard soldier, together with locals, aided to clean up wreckage at a fast-food restaurant that was damaged in the Minneapolis riots.

Minnesota Daily

25 cities in 16 states enforced curfews. The National Guard had likewise appeared in 12 states and also the District of Columbia.

During demonstrations on Sunday, Lexington, Kentucky, police officers clad in riot equipment knelt as well as prayed with protesters, some embracing the demonstrators.

According to division spokesperson Brenna Angel, adhering to the protesters’ urge for officers to kneel, Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers initially took a knee.


“It was a beautiful thing,” youth protester Devine Carama notified CNN.

Tuesday, June 2

Over the death of George Floyd, the state of Minnesota submitted a charge against the Minneapolis Police Department. It would explore interaction in prejudiced methods.

Wednesday, June 3

Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman and Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a charge of second-degree murder had been filed against Chauvin in addition to previous charges. The 3 former police officers involved were charged and taken into custody.

Friday, June 5

Washington, D.C., named a street, painting “Black Lives Matter” on the road leading to the White House.

NBC Washington

Monday, June 8

In Seattle, protesters forced authorities out of a whole community block.

On Monday, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) or the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) was birthed.

The stand-off resulted from a conflict with cops after numerous tries at containing the location.

Saturday, June 13

A Rhode Island school teacher, in addition to two people, were arrested after ruining a monument of Columbus. The 3 were charged with conspiracy and desecration of a grave/monument.

Friday, June 19

Hundreds of people marched Friday in observance of Juneteenth, which “commemorates the U.S. abolition of slavery under President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, belatedly announced by a Union army in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, after the Civil War ended.”

Feelings rose in Atlanta, where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a cop at a fast-food restaurant on June 12. The Atlanta police officer was fired and charged with murder.

Sunday, June 28

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a St. Louis couple, are being explored by neighborhood law enforcement after being seen in a video clip brandishing weapons at their house after rioters broke through gates of their private neighborhood.

Fox News

Under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine, “a person has the right, has the absolute unmitigated right to protect his or her castle or family while on their property,” the McCloskeys’ attorney Albert Watkins claimed. “And in this particular fact situation, you have individuals who are acting on private property, trespassing as lawbreakers onto private property, damaging and destroying private property and acting in a threatening and hostile fashion, such as to give rise to what any human being would consider to be placing them in a position of abject horror and certainly in a position of feeling in fear of imminent harm.”

Based upon the information, police noted the occurrence as a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation.

Watkins stated the McCloskeys have actually been practicing law for greater than thirty years and “their practices have included, on an ongoing basis, representing individuals in pursuit of protection of their civil rights.”

“I do civil rights cases. Right now, I’m representing a young man who was assaulted by the police who is sitting in prison right now for being involved in a car accident after which the police came in and assaulted him. It’s on video,” Mr. McCloskey claimed. “I mean, I have on the wall of my conference room, I’ve got an anti-slavery broadsheet, the abolitionist broadsheet from 1832. It’s been there as long as I’ve owned this building.”

Saturday, July 4

Independence Day was likewise a day of protest in Minneapolis. “We’re the free people of America, and we’re here to try to really change the country,” Royce White, a 10K Foundation associate, specified. Lots of individuals took part in “The Black 4th.” They assembled on bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades to call for reforms with the country’s immigration plan and also change following Floyd’s death.


“A large focus of today is on the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” said one person named Pryih. “With what’s going on, particularly at the border and in the concentration camps, and how we feel how that fundamentally goes against basic human rights.” 

Now What?

The George Floyd demonstrations are familiar to preceding demonstrations. By the third week, protests spread to around 650 cities across America.

The demonstrations are development for those requiring justice for Floyd, police reform, yet an overhaul of the justice system in America.

Racial views have mixed over the last 4 years, and also the New York Times records: According to a new study from Monmouth University, 57% of Americans believe that police are using excessive force against African Americans, compared to just 34% of registered voters in 2016 after the police shooting of Alton Sterling.

According to research, individuals of any kind of color are most likely to be eliminated by police, with black men, American Indians, as well as Latinos the most in danger.

It is reasonably very early to describe what takes place next. Racism requires policy changes, from real estate as well as transport to food security, which some claim remains low on the concerns of the USA. The current momentum prolongs hope that perhaps this age will be different.

The physical, emotional, economic, as well as legal effects of police brutality can be staggering. We put much trust on the authorities, and a betrayal of that trust should not go unrecognized or un-pursued. Our police brutality lawyers will not allow that.

At The Cochran Firm, we will be there for you. Our lawyers will listen to your story and advise you on how best to proceed with your claim.

The Cochran Firm built its reputation on the back of its civil rights and police brutality cases. Our founder, Johnnie L. Cochran, made his name in Louisiana and Los Angeles, representing those mistreated and wronged by the police. He believed in serving those wronged, no matter who they were and where they came from. As his status grew, his principles remained the same – stay humble, work fervently, and help those in need. Long after our founder’s passing, his principles live on in the Firm he built.

If you have been mistreated or wronged, a lawyer can help. Please call The Cochran Firm’s 24/7 call center today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (673-1555) or send us a message on our website.

The History of American Police Brutality

The Start of Policing


In the U.S., the evolution of police followed England. Early colony patrolling functioned in two formal and communal styles, known as the “Watch” system, or private-for-profit policing, named “The Big Stick.” The watch system involved area volunteers whose primary engagement was to report a crisis. Boston established a night watch in 1636, New York in 1658, and Philadelphia in 1700. Still, this was not an efficient means of crime control. Watchmen commonly drank or slept on the job. Many “volunteers” tried to evade military service, were commanded by draft into duty by their town, or operated watch services as a sort of discipline. In 1833, Philadelphia built the first day watch. Then in 1844, New York began a day watch as an extension to its new police unit. The developing watch system was a practice of official law enforcement officers, constables, typically backed by the fee system for warrants.

Constables had numerous non-law enforcement roles to perform, such as assisting as land surveyors and validating the correctness of weights and capacities. In multiple cities, they held the charge of commanding the activities of the night watch. These means of policing served much after the American Revolution. In the 1830s, the first notion of a centralized community police department appeared. Boston authorized the original American police force in 1838. New York City accompanied this in 1845, Albany, NY and Chicago in 1851, New Orleans and Cincinnati in 1853, Philadelphia in 1855, and Newark, NJ and Baltimore in 1857. All vital American centers possessed local police divisions by the 1880s. These newest police systems yielded similar styles:

  1. Bureaucratic
  2. Backed by the public
  3. Full-time, constant employees
  4. Set systems and practices
  5. Subject to necessary governmental authority

New United States police organizations had two principal elements: they were reputably corrupt and blatantly cruel. Local politicians continued with the authority of the police. In most regions, the home political party ward lead selected the police official to control the ward leader’s community. The ward leader usually was the neighborhood tavern keeper, occasionally the area vendor for gambling and prostitution, and generally the governing power over the area’s juvenile gangs who were employed to threaten adversary party balloters. With poor habits, political crime, and coordinated frenzy, it was known that the policemen were wicked. Police typically accepted payoffs to support illegal drinking, hustling, and gambling. They organized master criminals such as robbers and pickpockets to grant protection in trade for news or bribes. They also actively engaged in vote-buying and ballot-box-stuffing. Genuine political operatives displaced to police officers with zero qualifications and limited training. Police department advances were not won. Instead, they were bought. Police drank alcohol while watching, defended vice actions, and were keen to employ oppressive authority. These modern U.S. police units met three controversies:

  1. Should they dress in uniform?
  2. Should they carry guns?
  3. How much power could they apply?

Neighborhood traders and industry people spurred the advancement of community policing and favored uniformed police. The thought was for clear distinguishment by individuals seeking aid, and apparent police occupancy on neighborhood streets. Some police denied wearing a uniform, considering that it would provoke ridicule and display themselves as clearly identifiable targets for violence. Police officers started bearing sidearms, notwithstanding the public’s concern that doing such gave significant power to the police and state. Departments formally armed their police authorities after officers had informally brandished firearms themselves.

In the 1830s and 1840s, use-of-force in apprehension was as controversial as it is today. Because officers were mainly involved in implementing public order laws upon drunkenness and gambling, irritating labor organizers, and surveilling liberated slaves and immigrants, the public’s view supported limitations on use-of-force. However, the advantage of an armed presence allowed to apply deadly force followed the interests of economic elites who fancied established police departments. The troops were believed crucial because the “organizations intervened between the propertied elites and propertyless masses who were regarded as politically dangerous as a class.” From the derivation, police in the United States have been confined to the economy’s desires and demands.

As for the modern-day, it emerges probable that new weight on technology and science, expressly regarding scrutiny of citizens, and on neighborhood appeasement through policing in communities, will replay the downfalls of history as the ways of the future. Today’s stories of police harshness are not a modern phenomenon.


Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963, said, “There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied?” This message continues to reverberate in modern times after a lengthy past of brutal encounters between black Americans and police. “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”

“This idea of police brutality was very much on people’s minds in 1963, following on the years, decades really, of police abuse of power and then centuries of oppression of African-Americans,” says William Pretzer, Smithsonian museum senior history curator.

Social media and live streams have progressed police brutality incidents beyond the black population and mainstream interpretations. “Modern technology allows, indeed insists, that the white community take notice of these kinds of situations and incidents,” Pretzer says.

As technology has evolved, so has the means of law enforcement. Departments with substantial militant equipment are presented as standard in U.S. neighborhoods. “What we see is a continuation of an unequal relationship that has been exacerbated, made worse if you will, by the militarization and the increase in fire power of police forces around the country,” Pretzer claims. According to the curator, the answers lie in correcting troubled police-community relations and crushing social inequalities.

If you’ve been the victim of police brutality, a personal injury lawyer can help. Please call The Cochran Firm’s 24/7 call center today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (673-1555) or send us a message on our website.

Daily News Egypt


Deaths by police officers are progressively prominent as a political issue. After examining records from the Chicago Police Department from the 1870s to the 1920s, historian Jeffrey S. Adler found that these killings are not new incidents. During the times records cover, police in Chicago killed 307 individuals, factoring one in eighteen killings in the city.

Throughout the late nineteenth century, police officers’ responsibilities in Chicago were to preserve order, serve alongside reputably corrupt officials, and set down the labor crisis. Officers managed leeway on how to achieve these expectations. In Illinois, criminal law warranted using deadly force in self-defense, to prevent riots that endanger officers, or to deter suspects from fleeing.

However, during the first dates of Adler’s examinations, police cruelty was mainly limited to the overflowing use of clubs. Chicago Police Department officers exterminated around 49 people from 1875 to 1900. This number grew to 65 during the first decade of the 20th century. In the 1910s, it rose to 153. An escalation in violent crime serves to explain the increase in police brutality. Chicago’s homicide percentage almost doubled from 1890 to 1920.

Additionally, the nature of cruelty changed. Through the 1870s and ’80s, most murders resulted from drunken arguments. By 1900, homicides were more inclined to result from robberies concerning numerous middle-class victims. 3% of Chicago’s community and 21% of death by police victims within 1910 and 1920 were Black Americans.

Adler registers that among political stress to exert force on criminals and officers’ answers to “a racially different and seemingly more alien, dangerous class of criminals,” the police often discharged weapons at suspects to hinder escape. This was the single explanation that the police presented for shooting weapons in 41% of police murders from 1890 to 1920. They shot loiterers, thieves, and purse-snatchers. Police also slew bystanders by firing their guns into crowds or confusing the suspect’s identity, which accounted for 1 in 10 slayings by police.

A police officer murdered a child by shooting him in 1910 after mistaking his identity. The police chief unveiled that the boy “probably was large for his age.” This response is analogous to those we receive today.


During the 1950s and 60s, the civil rights action confronted police cruelty and further racial discrimination and segregation, alongside the opposition to the Jim Crow systems in the South. In Detroit, black Americans endured unfairness through a segregated housing market and free schools, discriminatory hiring practices, and racist policing.

Wayne State University

Brutality fixed on black Americans by police officers in Detroit and additional places in the Jim Crow North was rooted in progressive police of racial power. Sometimes, the Detroit Police Department operated illegally, such as unlawful investigative arrests, racial profiling, and actively resisted civil rights requests for a civilian review board to review police cruelty. The department additionally and illegally put labor and civil rights organizations, like the NAACP, beneath political monitoring through the “‘Red Squad,’ a parallel to the Jim Crow South that has received insufficient attention.”

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. “We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people,” was covered within the ten points in the 1966 Black Panther Party Platform.


In 1973, Robert Hoyt rear-ended Raymond Peterson on a highway in Detroit, Michigan. Hoyt allegedly fell asleep while driving home after a late night at work. Peterson, a police officer in an unmarked vehicle, considered the crash was a planned action. Gary Prochorow, Peterson’s partner, witnessed the collision while operating his own unmarked car.

Prochorow also believed the event was intended. After sounding out of his vehicle for Hoyt to pull over, Prochorow fired at Hoyt from his car. Hoyt left the highway in a panic, with the officers trailing closely behind. Eventually, he was left with no alternative but to surrender following an exit ramp. Peterson exited his car and assumed Hoyt reached for a firearm under his seat. “My reaction was instinctive, sharp like a scalpel,” Peterson claimed. “Boom. He went down.”

However, Hoyt was unarmed. Peterson cut his jacket with a knife, cleaned it of fingerprints, and flung it near the crime scene. Hoyt was shot in the abdomen and later pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In a 1971 Detroit Free Press profile, Peterson was defined as seeming “more like a radical college professor or folk singer than what he is—a Detroit policeman who has probably been part of more violence in recent months than any other cop in the country.” Hoyt was the 10th gun death that Peterson issued across two years.

STRESS, as the police system became noted, unveiled to be an excessive and lawless authority. In 1961, Peterson became a Detroit Police Department officer at 25 years old. During his first years, he was accountable for six injuries and gained 41 citations and commendations. Peterson was chosen in 1971 to enroll in an elite, deeply undercover unit within the agency. The organization fought crime on city roads, but grew wicked in distinguished Detroit’s communities, resembling a killer team. As knowledge about Peterson’s murders broadcasted, he was denounced by some of the city’s occupants and backed by his associates.


In March of 1991, four officers were caught on videotape beating Rodney King after tracking him through Los Angeles, California. The video and results that followed frightened the city and moved the nation. This footage of police cruelty was one of the first of its kind and enduringly altered discussion about race and policing in the United States.

King sped while intoxicated and strived to elude LAPD officers. Numerous units, including a helicopter, trailed him, ultimately forcing the man to cease his retreat. The video filmed by George Holliday reveals the officers applying tasers while kicking and beating the man with batons more than 50 times.

Hammer Museum

“King claims, and several witnesses support him, that he never resisted,” Jerry Bowen, CBS News correspondent, declared. “Twenty-five-year-old Rodney King showed his injuries to reporters — the bruises, broken leg, and the scar from the stun gun which jolted him with 50,000 bolt shocks.”

In April of 1992, officers Timothy Wind, Laurence Powell, Stacey Koon, and Theodore Briseno went to trial and were acquitted by a mostly Caucasian jury. The following days in Los Angeles were loaded with arson, looting, riots, and extreme violence. In a press conference carried out by Rodney King, he begged, “can we all get along?” By the conclusion of the riots, there were over two thousand injuries and 55 deaths.

President George Bush declared the officers’ actions “sickening” and faced violent riots, describing rioters as “revolting.” King settled for $3.8 million and encountered several disputes with police as the years progressed. In 2011, he was detected driving while under the influence. King died in the pool in his backyard in 2012 with evidence of marijuana, PCP, cocaine, and alcohol in his system.


In 2011, St. Louis officer Jason Stockley shot Anthony Lamar Smith after he fled. Stockley considered the man was dealing drugs. After Stockley was reported announcing he was “going to kill this motherf—er,” he was charged in 2016. In 2017, he was acquitted of first-degree murder. Stockley announced he saw a gun prior to shooting, which was considered legally justified.

Stockley’s acquittal sparked riots in St. Louis that launched police units dressed in riot gear following rioters throwing rocks and breaking windows. Protesters proceeded to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s residence but were halted by officers. The authorities resorted to rubber bullets fired at the crowd and securing hundreds of arrests.

Al Jazeera

In 2013, the department completed a lawsuit for wrongful death with the family of Smith for $900,000. However, Stockley never got jail time. A judge in 2018 allowed the lawyer for Smith’s family to resume discovery in the case after learning the defendants had stored evidence of DNA that conferred Stockley had planted a firearm in Smith’s car. The family was awarded an additional $500,000 a year later.


In Baton Rouge, two officers took Alton Sterling to the ground after responding to an anonymous call reporting Sterling for loitering outside a store to sell CDs. After sounding that Sterling had a gun, officer Salamoni shot him dead. The officers contended Sterling was a threat, concluding that he reached for his firearm. However, the video reveals Sterling motionless before being killed. Protests arose in Baton Rouge following Sterling’s murder, where multiple demonstrators were arrested. The Department Of Justice instated an investigation of civil rights into the occurrence. Salamoni was laid off, but none of the officers were charged.



In Minnesota, police responded to a call of resident George Floyd using counterfeit money. Derek Chauvin and three other police officers escalated the disturbance in an attempt to apprehend Floyd. With Chauvin pinning Floyd down, footage from bystanders shook the nation. Before his death, Floyd repeatedly sounded that he could not breathe. An autopsy later showed “asphyxiation from sustained pressure.” Another report associated heart disease to his death. All involved officers were fired and charged. Protests, violent riots, looting, murders, and arson developed instantly across the U.S., growing into a public revolution over police cruelty.


What About Now?

Most police officers are committed and ethical. They work a difficult, life-threatening job, and their days are extraordinarily stressful. However, police officers also exercise a great deal of control over the lives of the people they interact with, and an abuse of this power is particularly egregious. The personal injury lawyers at The Cochran Firm have experience helping the innocent victims of police brutality pursue justice and compensation.

The physical, emotional, financial, and legal consequences of police brutality can be staggering. We place a lot of trust in the police, and a betrayal of that trust should not go unacknowledged or un-pursued. Our police brutality lawyers will not allow that.

At The Cochran Firm, we will be there for you. Our police brutality lawyers will listen to your story and advise you on how best to proceed with your claim.

If you’ve been the victim of police brutality, a personal injury lawyer can help. Please call The Cochran Firm’s 24/7 call center today at 1-800-THE-FIRM (673-1555) or send us a message on our website.

Zimmerman Trial with the NTL’s Geragos & O’Mara

You can follow the CNN commentary of the Zimmerman trial from our President Elect Mark Geragos and Top 100 Member Mark O’Mara.

CNN Anderson Cooper – with Mark Geragos

CNN Anderson Cooper- with Mark O’ Mara

Zimmerman’s lead attorney also getting time in national spotlight

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American Cancer Society Issues Controversial Guideline To Try To Reduce Lung Cancer Deaths

Despite the long-standing debate and controversy on the topic, the American Cancer Society just issued a new guideline which supports use of annual low-dose CT scans to screen for lung cancer in older smokers.  The guideline utilizes specific criteria for the cancer screening by CT scan, including screening patients who are between 55 and 74 years old, who have at least a 30 pack year smoking history.

The guideline relies heavily upon the evidence generated by the National Lung Screening Trial.  The study found an impressive reduction in lung cancer death of 20% in high risk patients who underwent low-dose CT scan on an annual basis rather than plain chest x-ray screening.

Many studies have been done on the utility of CT scanning for lung cancer, and a lot of controversy still exists among the experts.  However, with the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial and other important medical research, cancer experts now seem to concur that there is sufficient information available to support screening for lung cancer by CT scanning.  Given the clout of the American Cancer Society’s endorsement, more CT scanning may be undertaken in the future to address this serious health issue.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death in this country and in the world, among men and women.  In this country, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths than breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Virginia Buchanan is a shareholder at Levin, Papantonio.  She has served on the Board of Directions of the Florida Bar Foundation and has been Treasurer of ABOTA, Chairperson of the Civil Process Server Grievance Committee and has been a member of the Chief Judge’s Council on Children. She currently is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Florida Justice Association.

Growing Controversy Over Safety of New Oral Anticoagulant Pradaxa

Pradaxa is a novel oral anticoagulant designed to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. From the day it was approved for sale in the United States an unprecedented number of serious adverse events and deaths attributed to the drug that were reported to the FDA. In response, the FDA launched an investigation into the safety of Pradaxa announcing that “the FDA is working to determine whether the reports of bleeding in patients taking Pradaxa are occurring more commonly than would be expected…” Less than a year later, in November 2012, the FDA concluded that “bleeding rates associated with new use of Pradaxa do not appear to be higher than bleeding rates associated with new use of warfarin.” The FDA based their conclusion on an analysis of data from FDA’s Mini-Sentinel pilot of the Sentinel Initiative. The approach utilized by the FDA was immediately criticized by health care professionals as “problematic” and described the conclusions reached by the FDA as “tantamount to a guess.” It appears the FDA did nothing more than ineffectively attempt to provide itself political cover for approving such an unsafe drug.

The problem with Pradaxa, and its hasty approval, lies in the fact that, unlike warfarin – the drug it is compared to in both its clinical trials and television advertisements – is that it cannot be reversed. Or to put another way, it has no antidote. When a warfarin patient experiences a bleeding event or is in need of emergency surgery, health care providers have a host of options available to them to reverse the blood thinning effects of warfarin and stop or slow the bleeding event or allow for safe surgical invention. Pradaxa has no such reversal agent or antidote. What does this mean in the real world use of Pradaxa? Are more Pradaxa patients bleeding to death than warfarin patients as a result of this lack of antidote? If you look to the pivotal clinical trial, the Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy (“RE-LY”) you won’t find the answer. It’s a pretty simple question. Did more patients bleed to death on Pradaxa than they did on warfarin?

More than five years since the RE-LY trial was completed and more than two years since Pradaxa was approved, we are only just now beginning to answer this question. Rather than provide an answer to this important question in the original analysis and publication of RE-LY, the makers of Pradaxa waited until December 2012, after hundreds of lawsuits had been filed on behalf of Pradaxa patients who suffered a major or fatal bleed, and released data at a medical conference in a poster abstract. Amazingly, their “new” analysis of five-year-old data showed that Pradaxa patients were 44% less likely to die as a result of a major bleed than warfarin patients. Amazing in that if this were true, why not include it in the original analysis and publication? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that poster abstracts are not peer-reviewed or subjected to scientific or regulatory scrutiny.

Less than a month after these “amazing” results were released by the makers of Pradaxa, on January 9, 2013, the Institute for Safe Medication Practice (“ISMP”), an independent research organization, published their own analysis of this very same question: are more patients bleedings to death on Pradaxa than warfarin? Amazingly, the ISMP reached a radically different answer than the makers of Pradaxa. ISMP determined that “reported [Pradaxa] bleeds were about 5 times more likely than warfarin to result in death…” 500% more likely to die as a result of a major bleed if you are on Pradaxa instead of warfarin. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise based on what we know about the availability of a reversal agent for these two drugs. What is surprising is the total disconnect between these two studies that reportedly addressed the same question.

Simply put: One of these two new studies got it wrong. Way wrong. Is this a matter of sloppy science or perhaps is this a deliberate effort by someone, for whatever rea$on, to mislead prescribers and users of Pradaxa? Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Florida Court Refuses To Dismiss Claim For Pregnant Woman’s Death

An appellate court in Florida refused  today to dismiss a claim for the wrongful death of a young pregnant woman while she was in the care of a mental health facility known as Park Place.  The Defendant, Osceola Mental Health, Inc., sought to have the case thrown out because the woman’s family did not sue under the Florida Medical Malpractice laws.

The patient, 25 year old Farrah Krystle Jean, went to the hospital with complaints of pain.  While there, she was transferred involuntarily to Park Place.  The involuntary commitment was done under Florida’s Baker Act, a law that allows patients to be held against their will when a court, police officer or healthcare provider believes the patient poses a serious risk of imminent harm to herself or others.

Jean complained of severe abdominal pain and other problems over the two days following her confinement. Tragically, she died at the beginning of the third day.  The family filed suit against the facility, alleging that the acts and omissions of the staff caused the death.  The court rejected the facility’s arguments that the Medical Malpractice laws had to be complied with and ruled that the case could go forward.  The court stated that mental patients have rights under the Baker Act, and the facility was not a healthcare provider as defined under the Medical Malpractice statutes.

Virginia Buchanan is a shareholder at Levin, Papantonio.  She has served on the Board of Directions of the Florida Bar Foundation and has been Treasurer of ABOTA, Chairperson of the Civil Process Server Grievance Committee and has been a member of the Chief Judge’s Council on Children. She currently is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Florida Justice Association.

Wind Tax Credit Avoids Fall Over Fiscal Cliff

The U.S. government has managed to postpone financial calamity for a few months with the passage of a so-called “fiscal cliff” deal.  But hidden within the bill was tax credit that was considered dead on arrival – The wind energy production tax credit.

The credit has been in jeopardy since it was first introduced, with Republicans in Washington threatening to kill the tax credit, citing its estimated cost of $12.1 billion over the next decade as too costly.  However, the credit breaks down to a mere 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of wind energy produced in America, making it one of the cheapest subsidies approved for energy projects.

The extension of the credit comes at the perfect time, as the United Nations recently released a report detailing the ways in which climate change could cause financial disasters across the globe.

Among the more dire warnings in the U.N. report is the threat of water scarcity, which could devastate commodity markets, as agriculture would take a massive hit and crops would be decimated.  So while the United States might have postponed the drop over the fiscal cliff, the threat of the environmental cliff is very real, and very much in need of addressing.

The wind production credit extension will keep the tax credit alive for the year 2013, and its fate after that remains unclear.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer Magazine, a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog, and the producer of Ring of Fire.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

Medical Malpractice: “Never Events” Occur At Least 4000 Times Per Year

“Never Event” is a universally recognized term in the medical profession referring to something that should never happen during surgery, such as a retained-foreign-body (an instrument or sponge left in the body) or a wrong-site, wrong patient, or wrong procedure surgery.

According to a recently released Johns Hopkins’ medical malpractice study, “never events” occur approximately 4000 times per year in the United States:

–  retained-foreign-body occurs 39/week;

–  wrong procedure occurs 20/week; and

–  wrong-site/patient occurs 20/week.

This astonishing number only further substantiates a fact that we all should already know:  physicians, just like the rest of us, are capable of negligence.  And, just like the rest of us, when their negligence causes injuries and damages to others, physicians should be held financially accountable.

From 1990 to 2010, the study, based upon information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), identified 9,744 paid malpractice judgments and claims resulting from “never events” with death reported in 6.6 percent of the patients and permanent injury reported in 32.9 percent of the patients.  The total compensatory payout amount of the 9,744 claims was approximately $1.3 billion.

To think, this data only accounts for “never events”.  It does not even begin to consider and account for medical malpractice claims resulting from the less egregious forms of medical negligence that occur each and every year.  Make no mistake, medical malpractice is a prevalent and unavoidable consequence of medical treatment in our society, and injured patients and their families deserve just compensation.

Cameron Stephenson is a lawyer with the Levin, Papantonio law firm in Pensacola, Florida, and handles medical malpractice and other wrongful death cases.  He has devoted his legal practice to fighting for the rights of Florida’s injured patients.

More information on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Surgical Malpractice Associated With Surgeon’s Inexperience

Although it comes as no surprise that an inexperienced surgeon may be more likely to commit medical negligence in the performance of a surgical procedure, the surprising thing is that it happens at all, given the stringent training, licensing and credentialing requirements for surgeons.  Nonetheless, surgical inexperience continues to be associated with poor patient outcomes.

Researchers have identified a number of factors associated with bad surgical outcomes. In addition to inexperience, they cite low hospital volume for some surgeries, excessive workload, fatigue, lack of optimal technology, poor supervision of staff and trainees, poor communication, emergency circumstances and even the time of day.  Fortunately, these issues can be addressed, as they are “system” problems rather than unavoidable and inherent ones.  Unfortunately, though, we have not yet found a way to require these system issues to be adequately addressed.

Just last week, a claim against a Veteran’s Hospital in Ohio was settled after a 59 year old veteran died following a simple hernia surgery.  The patient’s family discovered that the surgeon had never performed this type of surgery on his own and had only been licensed a few months when the patient had his surgery.  The claim was settled for $500,000.

Virginia Buchanan is a shareholder at Levin, Papantonio.  She has served on the Board of Directions of the Florida Bar Foundation and has been Treasurer of ABOTA, Chairperson of the Civil Process Server Grievance Committee and has been a member of the Chief Judge’s Council on Children. She currently is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Florida Justice Association.

Obama Foregoing Chance To Change Federal Court By Inaction

The President has an opportunity to affect the makeup of the federal judicial branch through his power of appointment, yet he may not be using that power to the fullest.  There are 874 federal judicial slots which are filled upon appointment by the President and confirmation by the Senate.  That number includes all the judges who serve at the district trial court level, the circuit courts of appeal, the Court of International Trade and the nine members of the United States Supreme Court.  According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, there are currently 75 judicial vacancies, which is about 10% of the total federal district and appellate court positions.  The President has nominated people for 32 of those available slots, and they are awaiting Senate confirmation.  However, 43 of the slots are open.  27 of the existing judicial vacancies have presented what has been described as “judicial emergencies.”

Chief Justice John Roberts has expressed concern about the consequences of long term reductions in funding for the judiciary.  In the Chief Justice’s annual report to the President and Congress, he cautioned that the courts need vital resources, including an adequate number of judges, to keep up with pending cases.  He warned that a delay or denial of justice could occur if the court does not have sufficient judges and staff to do its work.

Virginia Buchanan is a shareholder at Levin, Papantonio.  She has served on the Board of Directions of the Florida Bar Foundation and has been Treasurer of ABOTA, Chairperson of the Civil Process Server Grievance Committee and has been a member of the Chief Judge’s Council on Children. She currently is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Florida Justice Association.