50 Black women have been killed by the police since 2015. Most of the officers who shot them didn’t face consequences.

Women

For years, activists and researchers have called out how often people overlook Black women killed by the police in the United States.

“Violence towards Black girls and women has always received far too little
coverage, leaving the loved ones of countless victims of state-sanctioned
murder without justice,” said Arisha Hatch, the vice president and chief
of campaigns at Color Of Change, a nonprofit civil-rights group.

From February 2015 to March 2021, the police shot and killed at least 50
Black women, identified in police reports and by news outlets. The true
number might be higher. Several of these women had a mental illness, their
families said.

Researchers who study institutionalized racism have widely documented
that Black women are among the
most invisible groups in the country.

Insider created this database to document the Black women killed by the
police since 2015. The data provides a snapshot of the disproportionate
favor given to officers over victims of police violence.

A year after the launch of the #SayHerName campaign— founded in 2014 to bring attention to Black women harmed by police
violence— officers in California shot Yuvette Henderson several times in
the head and back with an AR-15. They had suspected her of shoplifting at
a Home Depot and alleged that she had pointed a gun at them. While
protesters closed the store and demanded surveillance footage of the fatal
shooting, national news organizations, including Insider, barely covered
Henderson’s death.

#SayHerName has become an integral part of the Black Lives Matter movement
and mobilized grassroots operations nationwide to acknowledge the lives of
Black women, girls, and femmes lost to police violence. Names like
Atatiana Jefferson and Breonna Taylor entered the national conversation as
organizers leveraged the campaign “to change the popular narrative about
police violence in the wake of the killings of Black women,” said Karissa
Lewis and Charlene Carruthers, activists with the Movement for Black
Lives.

“In 2015, this work led to the first national day of action calling for an
end to state-sanctioned violence against all Black women and girls,” Lewis
and Carruthers told Insider. “Over a dozen cities held actions, leading us
to campaign work that shapes our movement today. That work plays a large
role in more people and communities seeing themselves being valued for the
first time in a mass movement for liberation.”

Insider tracked 100 officers involved in the killings of these Black
women. Through research, conversations with activists, court documents,
and records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, we found that
most of the officers involved did not face any consequences. Insider
identified 14 of those 100 officers who had been fired or
charged. One officer — Scott Kadien, who killed Sandy Guardiola in 2017 — resigned,
though it wasn’t clear whether he did so because of the shooting. No officer
has been convicted.

Activists pushing for racial justice are hopeful these conversations and
actions will spur change.

“The majority of Americans are now comfortable publicly stating that
racial justice is an important marker of the well-being of our society,
and they are now demanding that people in power address it,” Hatch of
Color Of Change said.

“Now it’s about turning this energy and expectation into a governing
majority, addressing not only police reform to stop the bloodshed but
legislation that uplifts and empowers our communities,” Hatch added. “From
economic justice to ensuring that mainstream media no longer disregard
Black lives, this ultimately means creating equal access to tools that
demand responsiveness and accountability.”

Editing: Kadia Tubman, Emma LeGault, Rebecca Harrington

Design and development: Taylor Tyson, Skye Gould, Sawyer Click

Reporting: Yelena Dzhanova, Taylor Ardrey, Ellen Cranley, Hannah Beckler, Bre’Anna Grant