Yet Another Unarmed Black Man Has Been Shot by Yet Another White Police Officer

Source: Florida Today
Source: Florida Today

He even had his hands up this time, according to witnesses.

Less than a week after protesters clogged the streets of New York following a Staten Island grand jury's decision in the death of Eric Garner, a white police officer in Florida faces a criminal investigation following the shooting of an unarmed black man.

Cedric Bartee is in critical condition after being shot by Sgt. Robert McCarthy in the parking lot of an Orlando apartment complex. McCarthy had been responding to a report of a stolen car when he encountered Bartee in the vehicle on Monday night. According to witnesses, Bartee had his hands in the air and was complying with McCarthy's orders before he was shot.

This latest shooting comes on the heels of weeks of protests and unrest following the failure of two separate grand juries to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, sparking protests against police brutality and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

"I've asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct a criminal investigation into the actions of my deputies involved earlier this morning," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at a press conference on Monday. Demings, who is black, surrounded himself with six religious leaders from the black community, likely as an attempt to head off the unrest that followed the decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island.

Source: YouTube

"It's concerning to me [how the public might react]," he said. The Orange County Sheriff's office says that McCarthy spotted Bartee in a stolen car and felt "threatened." The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. 

This is just the latest instance of excessive police force. On Nov. 22, it took a police officer less than two seconds after exiting his squad car to shoot and kill 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was carrying a pellet gun on a playground. On Friday, prosecutors in Seattle declined to file charges against a police officer who punched a handcuffed woman so hard in the face that he broke her cheekbone. On Monday, video of a police officer shoving a teenage girl's face into the ground while she screamed "I can't breathe" was described as "handled in a standard way."

While the federal government doesn't collect comprehensive data on the number of people shot and killed by police officers in the United States, much less collect data on the race or alleged crimes of those killed, the Facebook page Killed by Police contends that since May 1, 2013, police officers have been responsible for more than 1,450 deaths. 

That works out to about three per day, or 1,100 a year.

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Scott Bixby

Scott is a senior correspondent at Mic, covering the Republican presidential campaign and LGBT issues. He is based in New York and can be reached at scott@mic.com.

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