Stolen Lives: Homeless woman placed on list of police killings

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 23 Jul 1999 20:46:45 -0700 (PDT)


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/1999/06/14/state2133ED
T0119.DTL&type=printable
FWD  Associated Press - Monday, June 14, 1999

HOMELESS WOMAN PLACED ON GROUP'S LIST OF LAW ENFORCEMENT KILLINGS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A homeless woman who was fatally shot by police after
she allegedly lunged at them with a screwdriver was inducted into the
Stolen Lives Project, a list that documents killings by peace officers.

Margaret Mitchell, 54, was pulling a shopping cart containing her
belongings May 21 when two officers on bicycles asked her if the cart was
stolen.

Police say Mitchell was uncooperative and lunged at them with a
screwdriver, prompting one officer to shoot her in defense.

The Coalition to Stop Police Brutality placed Mitchell's name on its Stolen
Lives Project at a ceremony Monday near the spot where she died.

``She is not alone. All over our country ... black and brown people are
being murdered by the police and nothing is happening to prosecute them or
bring them to justice for their murders,'' said the Rev. Richard Byrd, who
spoke at the event.

The Stolen Lives Project has documented nearly 2,000 killings nationwide by
police officers.

The shooting is under investigation by police, the FBI and the U.S.
attorney's office.

At least two witnesses say Mitchell posed no threat to officers and was
walking away from them when she was shot.

Police Chief Bernard Parks has insisted that the woman was shot in
self-defense.

The department has come under sharp criticism from some who believe the
shooting was racially motivated. Mitchell was black. One officer is
Hispanic and the other is Asian-American and Hispanic.

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