Police brutality is an epidemic in the United States. Unfortunately, its victims are typically young men of color. In 2017, a staggering 1,129 people were shot dead by police officers. To put its scale into context, that’s more than the number of US soldiers killed in action last year.

This violence stems from a number of factors, but perhaps the most shocking fact of all is that it is completely legal for officers in the US to use deadly force if they perceive any kind of threat from an individual, and this has led to the deaths of countless innocent people.

The video below provides a shocking insight into police brutality: 

These deaths have inspired rallies and protests around the country, however, few of them have led to the officers in question being charged with murder. In an attempt to shed light on this problem, journalist Shirin Barghi compiled a poignant list of victims’ last words.

1. Christian Taylor 

Officers were called when Taylor was caught robbing a car dealership. Despite being unarmed at the time, the African American man was shot dead by Arlington PD officer Brad Miller, who was later cleared of any wrongdoing in court. Taylor was shot four times in the dealership.

2. Freddie Gray

Arrested while in possession of a suspected illegal knife, Freddie Gray was an African American man who died in police custody. He fell into a coma while being transported in a police van, and it is believed that undue brutality was used against him. The officers involved were not charged.

3. Kendrec McDade

Shot for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kendrec McDade’s mother had previously warned him that he could be singled out by authorities for being an African American man. Even though he had committed no crime, the officers involved were never charged.