Like many Black Americans, I was filled with anger while watching a graphic video of a white South Carolina police officer shooting an unarmed black man in the back eight times while the man was running away. His crime: A broken taillight.
The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, a police officer with the North Charleston, South Carolina Police Department, has been fired and charged with murder. Slager said he ‘feared for his life’ and that’s why he shot Walter Scott, 50, dead on April 4.
“He was running for his life,” Walter’s brother, Anthony, told CNN. Slager’s questionable self-defense claim is outrageous because the video tells a totally different story.
“I have watched the video and I was sickened by what I saw,” Eddie Driggers, the North Charleston police chief who fired Slager, told reporters Wednesday. “And I have not watched it since.”
Without the video, I doubt if Slager would be charged with murder. Without the video, we wouldn’t see Slager possibly planting evidence near Scott’s body in a sloppy attempt to cover up the cold-blooded murder. Without the video, we wouldn’t see Slager handcuffing Scott while Scott was face-down and dying even though Slager claims cops administered CPR in an effort to save Scott’s life. Without the video, we wouldn’t see Slager fire eight shots at Scott, pause, and then shoot Scott again. Without the video, Slager could go free.
CNN reports that police officers in South Carolina have never been convicted of shootings involving black citizens – or any citizens.
“It would have never come to light,” Walter Scott Sr., the father of the victim, said on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday. “They would have swept it under the rug, like they did with many others.”
Black lives – particularly the lives of Black males — don’t matter to some white police officers. Certainly, there are too many white cops who see a Black man and decide to shoot first and claim self-defense later. Where is the humanity among some white police officers who are sworn to serve and protect the community they serve? Where is the compassion for Black citizens in this country? When is the last time a white police officer has shot a white man to death during a confrontation?
I have written far too many of these columns over the years; stories about young Black men whose lives are snuffed out by callous men who are fast on the trigger. I’m exhausted watching press conferences where police stand before the cameras and call for increased sensitivity training for their departments. But I grieve, too, for the families.
The call for justice is more crucial than ever because Black men and women are dying on our streets at an alarming rate and under questionable circumstances. This is a crisis of historic proportions and I’m tired of racial bomb throwers like Rudy Giuliani blaming unarmed Black victims for getting shot to death by police.
“When a Black man is stopped for a broken tail light and ends up being shot multiple times in the back, it is yet another reminder that we need a national strategy to implement real and meaningful police reform now,” Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement Wednesday. “We simply can’t rely on citizens with video cameras to make sure justice is served.”
A Charge In Walter Scott Police Shooting – But Will A Conviction Follow? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com