Skip to main content

Originally published on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2015 at 8:00 AM


Edward Anderson, 28, was a well-known resident of the Central District who lived in Seattle most of his life. He was an unarmed Black man who was killed on January 15, 1996 when SPD officer William Edwards pointed a gun 12 inches from his Adam’s apple and shot him “accidentally."

Welton Armstead, 17, a member of the Black Panther Party, was shot by SPD officer Erling J. Buttedahl on October 5, 1968. Fellow BPP members attended the inquest and protested his murder. Eleven days after he was killed, the inquest jury ruled Armstead’s death “justifiable”. Armstead was survived by his mother and sister, who were arrested at the scene of his death for “interfering” with officers.

Erdman Bascom, 42, was a Black man who was killed on February 17, 1988. SPD officers startled Bascom inside of his nephew’s apartment, where he was watching television. SPD Officer Robert Lisoski fired on Bascom, claiming that the TV remote in Bascom’s hand appeared to be a gun. Neighbors testified at an inquest hearing that the police gave no warning before they broke down Bascom’s door at midnight. The inquest jury ruled the death “justifiable”. Bascom’s older brother, Paul Bascom, filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the City of Seattle, Officer Lisoski and the Police Chief.

Leslie Allen Black, 21, was a young Black man who died on March 21, 1971 after a high-speed car chase in the Central District. He was shot by SPD officer Robert Ellmore, whose actions were deemed “unjustified” by an inquest on April 26, 1971. In response to the murder, nearly 200 protesters marched from Garfield High School to the downtown Municipal Building and occupied the City Council chambers for three hours. While awaiting a response from the Mayor, organizers played instruments, discussed Black community issues, and prepared for arrest.

Kenneth Maurice Boyd, 24, a young Black man, was a loving father, partner, brother, and son. He had a large extended family and was well known for putting family and friends first. His hobbies included playing basketball and football. On January 4, 1999, Boyd was fatally shot by Tacoma police officer John Bair. He was survived by father, Anthony Boyd; sister, Bryanna Boyd; wife, Allyson Waller; and daughter, Ki-ondra Boyd.

Stanley Chambers, 17, was a Black-Native teenager who was shot in the back of the head by Tacoma Police officer Paul Strozewski. Chambers was survived by his mother, Judy Matz and seven siblings.

DeOntrel Davis, 17, was a Black teenager who was killed by SPD officer Jeff Geoghagan on December 12, 2002 in Fremont. Davis was fleeing officers and was shot in the back of the head. Geoghagan claimed that Davis was armed and posed an imminent threat to him and the safety of Fremont. The weapon was later determined to be a chrome-painted paint-sprayer nozzle.

Lonnie Cedric Davis, 21, a Black man who grew up in the Rainier Valley neighborhood of Seattle, was known by Deaconess Reba Fleeks of Mount Zion Baptist Church as “a very nice, quiet boy who played with [her] grandson.” Davis was killed by King County deputy Don Ellis on May 28, 1999 after a stand-off with police. Despite family members’ concerns that police did not thoroughly attempt other options before shooting Davis, a court inquest found the shooting “justified”.

Michael R. Ealy, 34, a Black man, died while being restrained by Seattle police inside an ambulance on December 29, 1998, who would not say how they subdued him. Ealy was reportedly being driven to the hospital because he was attempting to stop cars and ask for help on Dexter Avenue North near downtown Seattle. Autopsy reports did not determine an official cause of death, but stated “evidence of neck and chest compression”. Ealy was survived by his mother, Ophelia Ealy. His death was ruled “justifiable” by an inquest hearing.

Oscar Perez-Giron, 23, was shot three times in the stomach on June 30th, 2014 at the Sodo Light Rail station in Seattle by Sheriff’s Deputy Malcolm Elliott who was responding to a call from transit security following transit non-payment. Perez-Giron died on the transit station shelter cement from the gunshot wounds. Oscar was accompanied by two friends who were handcuffed and taken to jail, one of whom was falsely charged with assaulting a police officer.

Robert “Junior” Guy, Jr., 19, was a young Black man from Yakima, Washington and member of a loving family. He was killed on December 29, 1997 by eight to 12 King County Jail guards. According to inquest testimony, Guy was denied CPR for at least eight minutes after his pulse and breathing stopped. He was eventually revived, but lapsed into a coma and later died. His family was not notified for 16 hours, and when they were allowed to see him, they saw that he was badly beaten. In November of 1998, an inquest jury cleared all the guards of wrongdoing.