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7 black women killed by police (6 of them unarmed)

Rekia Boyd, 22, was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police detective on March 21, 2012.

Rekia Boyd, 22, was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police detective on March 21, 2012.

(Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune)

As deaths of unarmed black males spur demands for change in law enforcement tactics, activists say black women and girls who suffer the same fate are ignored. Here are a few of the cases that the African American Policy Forum, a New York research group, says should be noted in public debates on the future of policing.

-- Margaret LaVerne Mitchell, a 54-year-old woman who suffered from mental illness, was shot to death on May 21, 1999, in Los Angeles. Mitchell, who was homeless, reportedly lunged at an officer with a screwdriver after two police officers stopped her while she pushed a shopping cart down La Brea Avenue. Some witnesses disputed statements that Mitchell lunged at one of the officers.

-- LaTanya Haggerty, 26, was a passenger in a car pulled over by Chicago police on June 4, 1999. An officer shot Haggerty, thinking she was holding a gun, but Haggerty, who was talking on her cellphone, was unarmed.

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-- Kendra James, 21, was shot in the head by a police officer in Portland, Ore., on May 5, 2003, after the car she was a passenger in was pulled over. A police officer said he fired in self-defense during a struggle with James, who moved into the driver’s seat after the driver was arrested. James was unarmed.

-- Natasha McKenna, 37, died after being shocked four times with a stun gun while her hands were cuffed and her legs shackled. McKenna, who suffered from mental illness, was in custody in the Fairfax County, Va., jail on Feb. 3, 2015, when a deputy used the stun gun on her. She died Feb. 8.

-- Rekia Boyd, 22, was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police detective on March 21, 2012, as she stood in an alley with a group of friends. A man in the group exchanged words with the detective, who fired five shots into the alley, hitting Boyd in the back of her head. No weapon was found in the alley.

-- Yvette Smith, a 47-year-old mother of two, was fatally shot on the front porch of her home on Feb. 16, 2014, by a deputy in Bastrop County, Texas. The sheriff’s office first said Smith was armed. Later, they retracted that statement.

-- Shereese Francis, 29, a mentally ill woman who had gone off her medication, died during a struggle with police who had been called to her home in Queens, N.Y., on March 15, 2012. Francis, who was unarmed, died of suffocation as officers tried to handcuff her.


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