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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

New interactive map tracks police violence at peaceful protests nationwide, including in Orlando

Posted By and on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 11:40 AM

click to enlarge Orlando Police officers use tear gas on a protester - SCREENSHOT VIA 846POLICEBRUTALITY.COM
  • Screenshot via 846policebrutality.com
  • Orlando Police officers use tear gas on a protester

Since the recent protests began, reports of law enforcement officers using excessive force have been reported across the country, and now a new interactive map shows how bad it is both nationally and here in Orlando.

The crowdsourced map — created from a megathread on the subreddit /r/2020PoliceBrutality before making it into a GitHub repository — allows users to contribute any known evidence of police brutality since the start of the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests.

“We will document examples of the use of excessive force, as well as other misconduct, by law enforcement officers during the 2020 protests sparked by the death of George Floyd,” the project’s mission statement reads. “Our goal in doing this is to assist journalists, politicians, prosecutors, activists and concerned citizens who can use the evidence accumulated here for political campaigns, news reporting, public education and prosecution of criminal police officers.”

Nationally, as of publication, there are 574 recorded use of force incidents shown on the interactive site. Each of the map’s recorded events consist of either social media evidence, video and or media sources. The six total Orlando incidents currently listed are in the form of one or more videos posted to Twitter. They include:

  • June 1, 2020: Police use excessive force during an arrest (source)
  • May 31, 2020: Police tackle & pepper spray peaceful protestors (source)
  • June 1, 2020: Police tackle injured man leaving protest (source, source)
  • June 1, 2020: Police shove protestors with bikes (source, source)
  • June 1, 2020: Police fire on protesters outside city hall ("with teargas, flash-bangs, and what sounds like rubber bullets") (source)
  • June 2, 2020: Woman stopped by police while leaving protest; police break her car window (source and at Orlando Weekly)
click to enlarge SCREENSHOT VIA 846POLICEBRUTALITY.COM
  • Screenshot via 846policebrutality.com
A full thread of the Orlando events, with sources, can be seen here. You can also view a full timeline of nationwide events dating back to March here.

Statewide, the map also shows that there have been seven recorded events in Tampa, two in Miami, three in Fort Lauderdale and one in Jacksonville.

Four of the Tampa incidents were shared on Twitter by T. Greg Doucette, a criminal defense lawyer who created a Twitter thread on May 30 to track instances of police brutality during nationwide protests.

It is important to note that the numbers on the map represent only a fraction of the use-of-force incidents reported in the Orlando area since the beginning of the recent protests, as they are not generated from official records.

During Orlando's protests, marchers witnessed as Orlando Police "gassed, maced, corralled, cornered, chased and tased Orlandoans" — despite ample evidence that tear gas is more dangerous than police admit, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the incidents on the map links to the bodycam of an Orange County Sheriff's deputy smashing a woman's car window near City Hall on June 2.

Issues of police violence and racism existed in Orlando before the protests began, of course. In 2018, all four complaints of excessive force against Orlando Police involved Black males. One Orlando cop was censured in 2018 for using a taser on a 19-year-old bicyclist. In January, a former Orlando Police "patrol officer of the year" was reprimanded for racism and attempting to provoke teens.

All the while, Florida's largest police union is fighting to keep officers' identities in report incidents a secret. Users of the map continue to add new cases and citations daily.

A version of this story originally appeared in our sister paper Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
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