Friday Roundtable: Lessons after police shootings from across the country

Funeral Held For Police Shooting Victim
Eddie Bryan waits to enter the April 11 funeral of Walter Scott, who was fatally shot by a North Charleston, S.C., police officer days earlier.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Jamar Clark's fatal shooting by Minneapolis police led to nearly three weeks of passionate protests and cries for justice. Now that the police have removed demonstrators' campsites outside the police department's 4th Precinct building, what's next?

Protesters demonstrate in Baltimore
Protesters demonstrate as a curfew, imposed in the aftermath of riots after Freddie Gray's death, went into effect May 1 in Baltimore.
David Goldman | AP

Baltimore, 2015: A rough van ride brings fatal injury, then riots

Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, made eye contact with a police officer the morning of April 12 and ran. He soon surrendered and was handcuffed. Gray requested an inhaler because he said he couldn't breathe, but police didn't give him one.

The officers drove Gray to the police station in handcuffs and wearing leg restraints, but no seatbelt, the state attorney said. By the end of the ride, Gray wasn't breathing. He died a week later.

Gray's arrest and death set off days of protests and riots in Baltimore, shutting down schools and spurring a citywide curfew. Gray's death was ruled a homicide. Six police officers are facing charges, the most serious of which is second-degree depraved-heart murder. Trials began last month.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.

Roundtable guest: Dan Rodricks, a Baltimore Sun columnist and the host of "Roughly Speaking," a blog and podcast

Activists Hold Rally Protesting Police Shooting
Demonstrators rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8 in North Charleston, S.C.
Richard Ellis | Getty Images

North Charleston, S.C., 2015: A traffic stop ends with a fatal shooting from behind

Police officer Michael Slager pulled over a 50-year-old black man named Walter Scott on April 4 because his brake light wasn't working — during the day. Slager told Scott to stay in his vehicle, but Scott didn't. The police said Scott tried to grab Slager's Taser during a struggle.

A video later posted online shows Scott, apparently unarmed, running away from the officer when he is shot. In a rare move, a grand jury indicted Slager for murder. Slager's trial is ongoing, and Scott's family has received a $6.5 million settlement.

Roundtable guest: Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and current assistant law professor at the University of South Carolina, he joined the conversation from Columbia, South Carolina.

Johannes Mehserle, Oscar Grant
A demonstrator lies on ground during a protest after the November 2010 sentencing of former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, Calif.
Noah Berger | AP

Oakland, Calif., 2009: Years-old shooting garners new attention

In the early hours of New Year's Day 2009, police attempted to arrest an unarmed 22-year-old black man named Oscar Grant after a fight at a Bay Area Rapid Transit train station. The police said Grant was resisting, so a transit police officer, Johannes Mehserle, said he wanted to use his Taser to subdue him.

Mehserle grabbed his gun instead, and shot Grant, whose death was followed by violent protests and racial tension in Oakland.

Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2010. The movie "Fruitvale Station" was based on the incidents that led up to Grant's death, and his shooting has recently seen increased attention, after recent high-profile killings of unarmed black men by the police.

Roundtable guest: Dan Brekke, a news editor at KQED.