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Police shootings continue to occupy public and media attention.

On February 9, 2017, Portland, Oregon, police officer Andrew Hearst shot and killed Quanice Hayes, a suspect in an earlier robbery and attempted carjacking, while the 17-year-old knelt in a flowerbed with his hands up.Maxine Bernstein, “Portland Officer Said He Fired AR-15 rifle at Quanice Hayes to Defend Himself, Other Officers,” Oregonian, March 27, 2017 (updated March 29, 2017). Although Hearst admitted he never saw Hayes with a weapon, officers reported recovering “a replica tan and black air pistol . . . about two feet from Hayes's body.”Maxine Bernstein, “Portland Officer Said He Fired AR-15 rifle at Quanice Hayes to Defend Himself, Other Officers,” Oregonian, March 27, 2017 (updated March 29, 2017). The fake gun resembled the description of the weapon used in the earlier robbery.Maxine Bernstein, “Portland Officer Said He Fired AR-15 rifle at Quanice Hayes to Defend Himself, Other Officers,” Oregonian, March 27, 2017 (updated March 29, 2017).  The incident increased tension in the already-charged relationship between Portland police and the local black community, especially after a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing.Maxine Bernstein, “Portland Officer Said He Fired AR-15 rifle at Quanice Hayes to Defend Himself, Other Officers,” Oregonian, March 27, 2017 (updated March 29, 2017).

In June 2017, Seattle police officers responding to a 911 call shot and killed the woman who had made the call.Lynn Thompson, “Seattle Police Fatally Shoot Black Seattle Mother; Family Demands Answers,” Seattle Times, June 18, 2017 (updated June 20, 2017).  Officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew reported that the pregnant mother of three brandished a knife in the confrontation; in a previous similar encounter, she had threatened officers with a pair of scissors.Christine Clarridge, “Autopsy Shows Charleena Lyles Was Shot 7 Times by Police,” Seattle Times, August 30, 2017. During that earlier incident, officers successfully de-escalated the conflict and calmed Lyles, whom her family described as a small black woman with a known history of mental illness.Christine Clarridge, “Autopsy Shows Charleena Lyles Was Shot 7 Times by Police,” Seattle Times, August 30, 2017. Anderson and McNew shot Lyles seven times, including the shot that penetrated her abdomen and fetus.Christine Clarridge, “Autopsy Shows Charleena Lyles Was Shot 7 Times by Police,” Seattle Times, August 30, 2017. In December, the Seattle Police Force Review Board determined that the officers’ actions were “consistent with policy.”Lauren Gill, “Seattle Police Who Shot Pregnant Black Woman Charleena Lyles Did Nothing Wrong, Review Finds,” Newsweek, December 11, 2017; and Seattle Police Department, Force Review Board Officer Involved Shooting, 2017-219301 (2017FIT-0011).

Also in June, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in 2016 was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.Ralph Ellis and Bill Kirkos, “Officer Who Shot Philando Castile Found Not Guilty on All Counts,” CNN, June 16, 2017.

In July 2017, Australian immigrant Justine Damond was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer after she called 911.Madison Park, Emanuella Grinberg, and Holly Yan, “Minneapolis Woman Killed By Police: What We Know And Don't Know,” CNN, updated July 19, 2017. Damond was described by her family’s lawyer as “the most innocent victim” of a police shooting, a statement that sparked debate around double standards in the characterization of black and white victims of police violence.Monique Judge, “Attorney: Justine Damond is ‘the Most Innocent Victim’ of a Police Shooting He Has Ever Seen,” The Root, July 20, 2017. Although the Minneapolis police union had previously been quick to defend officers accused of inappropriate force, representatives were noticeably silent in the days immediately following Damond’s death.Libor Jany, “Minneapolis Police Union Silent after Justine Damond Shooting,” Star Tribune, July 20, 2017. Critics claim this was because the officer was a black Somali-American and the victim was a white woman.German Lopez, “When a Police Shooting Victim is a White Woman,” Vox, June 24, 2017. Meanwhile, the Washington Post continued its Pulitzer-winning database of fatal contact with police officers, and estimated that 987 people were shot and killed by police in 2017.“Fatal Force,” Washington Post (2017).