Yet Another Police Shooting: Walter Scott

Yet Another Police Shooting: Walter Scott

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What If There Was No Video?  In a video that appears almost too disturbing to be real, a South Carolina Police Officer shoots a fleeing and apparently unarmed Black man in the back eight times.  The victim later died.

The North Charleston Police Officer, Michael Slager, 33, was recorded on video shooting Walter Scott, 50, after walterScott2reportedly stopping Scott for a minor traffic violation.  How the situation escalated is unclear but the start of a video shows there was some sort of altercation before Scott began running away from Slager.

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Slager

As is almost always the case in police involved shootings, Slager reportedly informed superiors he “feared for his life” and that Scott attempted to take his taser from him.  The start of the video of the alleged incident released by the New York Times appears to show that the two had some sort of altercation but then clearly the man identified as Walter Scott is seen running away from Slager when he is shot.

The incident reportedly occurred on Saturday, April 4.  The video was released publicly today, the same day that local elections are taking place in Ferguson, Mo, amidst the issues around the shooting death of teen Michael Brown.  On most police forces, cops are trained that they may only use deadly force for two reasons: 1. To protect someone else’s life, or 2. the officer feared for their life.

The incident is yet another example of how new technology is opening a window on incidents that were only talked about in private.  No one believed many of the victims or their families who made allegations against the police regarding brutality.

Even with video recordings, as in the killings of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford or Kajieme Powell by police, some still continue to argue that police are right no matter what and video reveals.

Unlike any other recent police shooting, authorities in North Charleston have charged Slager with murder and would appear to be indicating that Slager’s actions are wrong.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey at a news conference.

“If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision,” he added.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Twitter: @LVBurke / Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist who analyses politics and justice reform. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke has also been a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears weekly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin. She has also appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Politics Nation with Al Sharpton and Up with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC. She is also a contributing writer for NBCNews.com and TheRoot.com Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail: LBurke007@gmail.com. Instagram: LVB325.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This young man deserved a right to life, and all of the police killings of unarmed Black Men, should be held responsible and accountable. No pick and choose when it comes to justice and the law. The evidence is clear.

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