Allen Baker III

Sunnyvale, California

1992-2015

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M Y     A M E R I C A 

Police shooting autopsy  report.  

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Robert Adams writes on the first page of his book Why We Photograph, “There is still time - in the lee, in the quiet, in the extraordinary light.” 


I have come back to this line so many times as I travel across these United States – drawing from its wisdom and wondering if in fact I am on the right path.


Each morning I rise early in a different motel room and implicate myself into an hour of exercise and meditation – something I am not as disciplined about at home. I seem to need the physical and psychic strength to produce this work. I make my way down the stairs or elevator to the motel cafe.


Sometimes I dream about these breakfast rooms at night. They meld into each other: bright garish colours on the carpet and chairs, the smell of waffles and American drip coffee; families having come together across this vast continent for a wedding; reserve military officers on annual training; businessmen and women in blue suits; retired couples sitting silently across one another; and occasionally couples so obviously in love.


Almost always, even in the most humble of motels, there is a large television - depending on the region the morning news is broadcast by Fox or CNN or MSNBC – muted to silent but it’s globe of light illuminates the breakfast room, ensuring everyone is sharing something. People speak easily with each other while waiting in line for their waffles and don’t hesitate to enter into conversation with the table next to them. 



I wonder if they are lonely, but in time come to the conclusion that they feel part of one extended tribe. 


I gather up my things, pack them in the trunk and I am on the road again. “There is still time - in the lee, in the quiet, in the extraordinary light.”


After living abroad for more than 17 years, I have come back to my country to photograph. I am not making pictures at random, although as I drive these back roads, highways and city streets, I often wish I were. I am photo-graphing at sites where US law enforcement officers have killed citizens.


After being away for so long everything I encounter here seems visually captivating. It surprises me that I know these people, and this land, and this architecture in a way I didn’t even know I knew. 


I realize as I drive how much I care about what happens to this country and the people that inhabit it. I care about what they do for each other - and to each other - in ways I couldn't possibly feel anywhere else. 


Each year more than 1000 people are killed by oficers of the law in America. Each of the photographs in this body of work marks the 

official address where the killings took place. 


James Baldwin told us "I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her."


These images are my cirticism, my love. I am home. In my America. 

Philipp Watkins

San Jose, California

1992-2015

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Joseph Weber

Sunnyvale, California

1987-2015

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Eddie Tapia

Downey, California

1974-2015

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John O’Keefe

Albuquerque, New Mexico

1981-2015

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Gary Jones

Dallas, Texas

1980-2015

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Marquintan Sandlin

Los Angeles, California

1984-2016

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Norma Guzman

Los Angeles, California

1978-2015

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Michael Le Mon

Lake Isabella, California

1958-2015

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Anthony Garcia

Dallas, Texas

1992-2016 

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Clemente Nejera

Lake Elsinore, California

1978-2016

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Oscar Romero

Whittier, California

1968-2015

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Unknown Female

Santa Nella, California

Unknown-2015

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Elias Portillo

Dallas, Texas

1980-2016

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Nicholas Johnson

San Bernardino, California

1983-2015

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Kenny Watkins

Los Angeles, California

1998-2016

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Adrian Solis

Wilmington, California

1980-2015

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Monique Deckard

Anaheim, California

1972-2015

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Randall Waddel

Weatherford, Texas

1966-2015

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Luis Wenceslao

Ontario, California

1983-2015 

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Michael Brown

Saginaw, Texas

1991-2016 

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Sully Lanier

Springtown, Texas

1979-2015

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Raymond Garcia

Albuquerque, New Mexico

1970-2011

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Jesse Romero

Los Angeles, California

2002-2016

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Michael Mallett

Byron, California

1966-2015

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Jason Davies

Los Angeles, California

1974-2015

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Jose Mendez

Los Angeles, California

2000-2016

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Terrence Crutcher

Tulsa, Oklahoma

1976-2016

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Jose Rodriguez

Albuquerque, New Mexico

1996-2015

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Joe Cody

Dallas, Texas 

1956-2015

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Joseph Jaramillo

Albuquerque, New Mexico

1984-2015 

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Charles Petit Jr.

Midwest City, Oklahoma

1997-2015 

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Marvin Maestas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

1985-2015 

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Ian King

Ponca, Oklahoma

1985-2016

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Nancy Friedrich

Fort Worth, Texas

1981-2016

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Michael Peacor

San Bernardino, California

1960-2016 

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Moses Ruben

Ennis, Texas

1980-2016

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Michael Ramsey Jr.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

1973-2015 

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Jonathan Pena

West Hollywood, California

1988-2015

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On average three people are killed each day by law enforcement officers in the United States.



America has the highest rate of officer involved lethal force of any industrialized nation.



Traditionally there has been no national body that collects a tally of where and when a person has been killed by a law enforcement officer. The FBI’s account is voluntary and reliant upon police departments to submit figures about any officer-involved shooting or killing.



Independent orginazions including the Washington Post, The Guardian, and Killed by Police.net, have collected data on more than 3300 people who have been killed by a member of one of the many law enforcement agencies in America since 2016. Of those, 673 were unarmed. 





Between 25 and 30 percent of people killed by law enforcement officers in America are mentally ill. The risk of being killed during an encounter with the police is 16 times higher for individuals with untreated mental illness than it is for other civilians.



Often a family member calls the police for help and their loved one is killed.


From 1950 to the present day the number of psychiatric beds available for in patient care went down by 90 percent. Studies show that across the country between 10 and 20 percent of all calls to law enforcement agencies involves some kind of mental health issue. 





Per capita Native Americans are more likely to be killed by law enforcement than people of other races or ethnicities.



If both age and population are taken into account, African American males aged 15 -34 are nine times as likely to be killed by law enforcement than other Americans and four times as likely as white men in the same age range. Roughly 1 in 65 deaths of black males in America is at the hands of the police. African Americans killed by police are twice as likely to be unarmed as white Americans.


Geography impacts the racial makeup of numbers killed across America. In California year on year 41 percent of citizens killed by police are Latino. In Chicago 90 percent of people killed by police are African American. Overall - year on year - 52 percent of people killed in America by police are white, while the white population is 63 percent.


Over the past three years fatal police shootings of black, white, hispanic, asian and pacific islander Americans all went down yet the rate for Native Americans doubled. 





Per capita more lethal police encounters occur in rural and suburban areas than in cities.



Municipalities with a low tax base statistically are more likely to have a higher rate of lethal police violence due to not having the funding for training. In many cases departments hire officers that have already been trained even though they have been previously fired for inappropriate behavior and use of excessive force.


In municipalities that have instituted de-escalation into their police-training program, formal complaints of police brutality have gone down by 70 percent.


Across America there is no correlation between the crime level of a municipality and the rate of lethal police violence. 





Law enforcement officers killed 1155 people in the United States in 2016. Public prosecutors brought forward 13 charges against the police. There have been no convictions.



Police kill approximately 1000 civilians each year in the United States.


Over a period of 12 years 80 officers have been arrested on murder or manslaughter charges. Of those 28 have been convicted. 





There are approximately 323 million people living in the United States. 


There are 265 million guns owned in the United States.

Americans own 50 per cent of the world’s guns.

Americans make up 5 per cent of the world’s population.

There are approximately 800,000 law enforcement officers serving in America.


There are 284 law enforcement officers per million residents.

This is one of the lowest rates in the world. 





These photographs were taken in 2016,  2017, and 2018. They are some of the over 350 photographs I have made in America at sites of lethal police violence. 


I spent over 6 months researching the events that occured at each of these sites. 


Ultimately, however, the places I photograph are from addresses I have obtained from police reports, or data bases that rely on official police reports. 


Each photograph shows the legal site of death. The information is one sided as I have no first hand knowledge from the deceased as to whether the site, is in fact, where they passed. I have had to rely on information from the institutions that represent the police and not the deceased. 


For this reason I believe these photographs should be viewed in terms of a representation of the event. 


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