Black Lives Matter activists were among those who used social media on Friday and Saturday to call attention to the case of Daniel Shaver, a 26-year-old man who was shot to death by a police officer in Mesa, Arizona in January 2016.
A disturbing, graphic video of the shooting was released shortly after the officer who killed Shaver, who was white, was acquitted of second-degree murder.
The video shows Shaver following the officer's instructions to crawl toward him and begging him not to shoot.
The officer had come to Shaver's hotel room after another guest reported that Shaver was pointing a rifle out of his window; he was actually showing a pellet gun he owned to a friend.
Prominent Black Lives Matter supporters including Shaun King and DeRay McKesson, as well as others who have drawn attention to police killings of black Americans, posted on Twitter about the case.
The Brutal Police Execution of Daniel Shaver
Sadly I've studied 100s of videos of American police executing non-violent, unarmed people. This is one of the worst I've ever witnessed.
This happened in January of 2016, but the judge just released the video.
A grave injustice. pic.twitter.com/O3UjLb3mZJ
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) December 8, 2017
#DanielShaver should be alive today.
— deray (@deray) December 8, 2017
There is no excuse for this pattern of police brutality--how many videos of unarmed people being gunned down by cops do we need to see before policies change? #DanielShaver and his family deserve justice. https://t.co/yneLzMcLqJ
— Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson) December 8, 2017
the American criminal justice system, as currently constructed, is not designed to indict or convict on-duty police officers who shoot and kill people -- no matter the circumstances of the shooting #DanielShaver https://t.co/DLjAdXePtP
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) December 9, 2017
The Black Lives Matter movement has fought to bring attention to cases of unarmed African-Americans who have been killed by police officers, and to advocate for law enforcement reforms that would reduce police killings. Black men are nearly three times as likely to be killed by an officer than white men. In addition to drawing attention to this serious issue, the movement has argued that police reforms would keep all Americans safer from police violence.
Through their platform Campaign Zero, released in 2015, Black Lives Matter has urged comprehensive reforms including the establishment of disciplinary police commissions and civilian complaint offices, strengthening of use of force policies, and investment in rigorous and sustained training for police officers on engaging with the public.
At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf argued that the case of Daniel Shaver should serve as a rallying call for Americans who have previously viewed Black Lives Matter as divisive.
"If you're horrified by Daniel Shaver’s untimely death, yet against Black Lives Matter, consider that Shaver might well be alive if only the Mesa police department had long ago adopted reforms of the sort that Black Lives Matter suggests," he wrote.
Meanwhile, others on social media noted that groups which might be expected to jump to Daniel Shaver's defense—the NRA, which supports Arizona's open-carry laws that allowed Shaver to have a firearm and the "All Lives Matter" movement which ostensibly hopes to draw attention to the killings of white Americans—have been silent about Shaver's death.
The insanely heavy-handed police response to Daniel Shaver came after someone reported seeing him with a rifle. (it was a pellet gun).
Arizona is open carry, including for long guns.
So the NRA will denounce this verdict and demand better training for Mesa police, right?
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) December 8, 2017
#DanielShaver was killed in cold blood by a trigger happy cop.
His death was completely avoidable and should be protested. Plus, the cop was found not guilty. As usual.
But where are the #AllLivesMatter hashtags?
— #BulletzGotBeatz (@100Bulletz) December 8, 2017
— Black Wolverine (@WolveyJohnson) December 9, 2017