For months, weekly rallies and marches were staged in downtown Riverside protesting the death of Tyisha Miller. The 19-year-old black woman was killed by four white Riverside police officers on Dec. 28, 1998. Responding to a call for medical aid, the officers found her unresponsive in her parked, locked car. They said they shot her after they broke a car window and she reached for a gun that rested on her lap.
The Riverside County district attorney's office concluded that although the officers showed poor judgment, the shooting was justified because they feared for their safety. The officers were subsequently fired by Riverside Police Chief Jerry Carroll, but that would not end the controversy.
In the wake of claims by police critics that the department was institutionally racist, the FBI and the Justice Department launched investigations into whether Miller's civil rights were violated. Miller's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.