The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray -- all killed within a nine-month span -- have brought to the fore the outsized rate at which American law enforcement officers exercise excessive and deadly force against black men. But a bicoastal group of loosely organized activists and academics is also highlighting the frequency with which black women are inappropriately targeted, arrested, sexually assaulted and killed during interactions with police -- something that has not been a feature of the growing national conversation about policing.
In an attempt to circumvent what the group claims is a cultural inclination to ignore black women’s experiences, protesters affiliated with the BlackOUT Collective gathered in the San Francisco financial district Thursday and took off their shirts.
Their logic: In America, no topless woman will ever be ignored. (Click here for more images from the protest.)
Also this week, the African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University, and Andrea Ritchie, a Soros Justice Fellow, also released #SayHerName: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, a report highlighting a litany of cases in states across the country in which black women were injured, sexually assaulted or killed by police. The report argues that injuries and deaths caused by police, as agents of the state, merit particular scrutiny.