Home News The black victims honoured in Naomi Osaka’s masks

The black victims honoured in Naomi Osaka’s masks


George Floyd maskPicture copyright

Naomi Osaka has been making a press release together with her face coverings whereas competing within the US Open: for each spherical, she wears a brand new masks bearing the identify of a black sufferer of alleged police or racist violence within the US.

The Japanese tennis star made the pledge at first of the event. Now, she’s reached the semi-finals.

The households of a few of these victims have publicly thanked her for sporting the masks, recording video messages which had been performed for her on the set of sports activities broadcaster ESPN.

Osaka mentioned the messages left her “actually grateful and… actually humbled”.

“I used to be simply making an attempt actually arduous to not cry,” she informed a press convention. “It is a bit surreal. It is extraordinarily touching that they might really feel touched by what I am doing. For me, I really feel like what I have been doing is nothing. It is a speck of what I might be doing.”

Osaka has worn masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. These are their tales.

Breonna Taylor

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On 13 March, law enforcement officials in Louisville, Kentucky, used a battering ram to interrupt down the door to Breonna Taylor’s house.

They suspected her flat within the metropolis’s South Finish was getting used to obtain medicine by a gang primarily based at a unique deal with about 10 miles (16km) away.

One of many suspects was an ex-boyfriend of hers, and she or he was certainly one of three folks named on the warrant, native media reported earlier this 12 months. She was not the principle topic of the investigation.

However breaking down her door triggered a chaotic collection of occasions and a barrage of police gunfire that left Ms Taylor – an unarmed, 26-year-old emergency medical technician – fatally shot.

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Breonna Taylor, 26, was a adorned emergency medical technician

Ms Taylor’s identify, and a name to “arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor”, turned a rallying cry for justice on this summer season’s world Black Lives Matter protests.

In June Brett Hankison, certainly one of three officers concerned within the taking pictures, misplaced his badge. Louisville Police interim chief Robert Schroeder mentioned his conduct that night was “a shock to the conscience”, and accused him of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Ms Taylor’s house.

Attorneys for Ms Taylor’s household mentioned on the time that they wished to see the opposite officers – Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove – fired as properly.

“We additionally stay up for these officers being prosecuted for his or her roles in her premature dying,” they mentioned.

Whereas Mr Hankinson misplaced his job, the law enforcement officials concerned within the taking pictures haven’t been arrested or charged.

Elijah McClain

Elijah McClain maskPicture copyright

Elijah McClain was a 23-year-old black man who died in police custody in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado, on 24 August 2019.

He was strolling, unarmed, when he was stopped by three white law enforcement officials. A district lawyer report later mentioned there had been an emergency name a couple of “suspicious particular person” matching his description.

There was a battle because the officers tried to go looking him for a weapon. On physique cam footage, Mr McClain will be heard saying: “I am an introvert, please respect my boundaries that I’m talking.”

One of many officers then says, “he’s going on your gun” – at which level they wrestle him to the bottom and put him in a chokehold.

The report says Mr McClain misplaced consciousness, was launched from the chokehold and started to battle once more.

Elijah McClainPicture copyright
CBS / Mari Newman

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Elijah McClain died after police put him in a chokehold and a medic injected him with ketamine

The officers referred to as for help, with firefighters and an ambulance responding. A hearth medic injected Mr McClain with 500mg of the drug ketamine to sedate him.

Mr McClain was then put in “tender restraints” on a stretcher and put contained in the ambulance. The medic who had administered the drug then observed that Mr McClain’s chest “was not rising by itself, and he didn’t have a pulse”. He was declared mind lifeless on 27 August.

Mr McClain’s household allege that the officers used extreme power for about quarter-hour as Mr McClain vomited, begged for them to cease and repeatedly informed them he couldn’t breathe. The officers additionally threatened to set a police canine on him, the household mentioned.

Instantly after the incident, the three officers concerned had been positioned on paid administrative depart. Three months later, prosecutors introduced that they might not deliver prices in opposition to the officers, and so they then returned to regular responsibility.

In June this 12 months, the officers had been reassigned to “non-enforcement duties”.

Ahmaud Arbery

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Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, on 23 February when he was shot lifeless by two white males – a father and son.

Within the moments earlier than the deadly confrontation, Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis, 34, armed themselves with a pistol and shotgun and pursued Mr Arbery in a pickup truck in Brunswick’s Satilla Shores neighbourhood.

Gregory McMichael later informed police he thought Mr Arbery seemed just like the suspect in a collection of native break-ins.

A 36-second video shot by one other man, William Bryan, leaked on-line on 5 Might, producing a nationwide outcry that was swiftly adopted by homicide prices. Mr Bryan filmed it from his car whereas he was driving behind Mr Arbery.

The clip seems to point out Mr Arbery working down a tree-lined road because the McMichaels wait forward for him of their car.

A tussle follows between the youthful McMichael and Mr Arbery, who then falls to the bottom.

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Media captionJoggers out in solidarity with Ahmaud Arbery

The three defendants weren’t charged till greater than two months after Mr Arbery was killed. It was solely when footage of the killing went viral that state police started investigating.

Travis McMichael, his son Greg, and William Bryan had been indicted by Glynn County’s Grand Jury on prices together with malice and felony homicide. They’ve pleaded not responsible, and are awaiting trial.

In a message to Osaka, Mr Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr, mentioned: “Thanks for the assist of my household and God bless you for what you are doing and also you supporting our household with my son. My household actually, actually appreciates that and God bless you.”

Trayvon Martin

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The killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, in 2012 – and the acquittal of the person who killed him – sparked the beginning of Black Lives Matter.

Trayvon Martin, 17, had simply been to the store to purchase some Skittles and a tender drink when neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman noticed him.

Believing the unarmed teenager was as much as no good, Mr Zimmerman tackled him.

No person witnessed what occurred between them however a neighbour’s name to the emergency providers picked up cries for assist, adopted by the deadly gunshot.

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Getty Pictures

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Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012, on the age of 17

Mr Zimmerman’s lawyer maintained that his consumer had been viciously assaulted by Martin. Gun legal guidelines within the US enable those that personal firearms to shoot any individual in the event that they really feel they’re at risk of being killed or critically injured.

Due to this, Florida police did not arrest Mr Zimmerman for six weeks after the taking pictures, scary mass rallies in Florida and all through the US.

US legislation allowed him to say he shot Trayvon in self-defence however the teenager’s household and associates all the time insisted it was homicide.

Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, mentioned in a message to Osaka: “I simply need to say thanks to Naomi Osaka for representing Trayvon Martin in your custom-made masks, and likewise for Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

“We thanks from the underside of our hearts. Proceed to do properly. Proceed to kick butt on the US Open.”

George Floyd

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The killing of George Floyd reignited the Black Lives Matter motion this 12 months, sparking what’s believed to be essentially the most widespread civil rights protest motion in US historical past.

Mr Floyd, 46, was stopped by police on 25 Might in Minneapolis.

Officers had been investigating the acquisition of cigarettes with counterfeit cash.

Footage, which was later broadly shared on-line, confirmed Mr Floyd’s arrest – throughout which an officer pinned him to the bottom.

A white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Mr Floyd was heard repeatedly pleading with him to cease, saying: “I am unable to breathe.”

He was pronounced lifeless in hospital.

Because the footage unfold globally, protests erupted in Minneapolis – the primary of a summer season of Black Lives Matter demonstrations internationally.

The 4 officers concerned in his arrest had been fired the next day, and later charged over his killing. They’re anticipated to face trial subsequent 12 months.

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Media caption“I keep in mind George Floyd as me”

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