Tuesday, April 7, 2015

While You Were Sleeping: Walter Lamar Scott Murder

Warning: this contains an image of a dying man. Nothing gory. But its there. One of the problems with actively not watching the news is that you miss out on important news like the fact that Black guys are still being hunted down by police. Before I begin please allow me to reiterate that body cameras do not stop people from being killed, beaten, or attacked. They just allow us to see it happen. The most recent case of someone being shot and killed when it really didn't need to happen is the killing of 50 year old Walter Lamar Scott by 33 year old officer Michael Slager last Saturday in South Carolina.

A passerby recorded what happened right before the shooting and its aftermath. Scott was pulled over for a broken tail light, a slight scuffle ensued, something flew to the ground, and Slager shot at Scott hitting him eight times as he ran. Did Scott try to grab his gun (the go to response for killing nowadays)? Did Scott punch him repeatedly while they wrestled on the ground? Did Scott himself have a gun or reach for one? The answer to all of these is “No.” Scott slapped a Taser from Slager and got pumped with bullets until he collapsed on the ground and died.

As he lay dying and dead Slager walked back to pick up his Taser while Scott lay face down on the ground after another officer showed up. Slager did not look like a man that was bothered by the fact that he just took another human beings life. He literally dusted his hands off and checked Scott's pulse. The FBI as well as the U.S Justice Department announced that they are probing the case. Slager has been charged with murder in this case. North Charleston mayor Keith Summey had this to say at a news conference. “When you're wrong, you're wrong. If you make a bad decision, I don't care if you're behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”

A lawyer for Scott's family, Justin Bamberg spoke saying “What's done in the dark typically comes to the light, and this is an example of what can happen when people are willing to step up and do the right thing for the right reasons. Essentially, this officer gunned down an unarmed man who was not a threat to the officer or anyone else, that is what it appears in the video.”

Here is a little back-story on Scott. Former Coast Guard member. He was a father of four. He had been arrested over ten times primarily for not paying child support and failing to show up in court. He was wanted on a warrant by family court. In 1987 he was arrested for assault and battery and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon. He was engaged and working.

Slager was accused of excessive force in 2013 and cleared in an investigation when he responded to a burglary call and used his Taser on someone that lived in the home as well as slamming and dragging him. Slager told the person to come outside or he would use his Taser and when he did used it anyway. In this current case Slager said that he “felt threatened” by Scott. He was threatened by a 50 year old man that was running away from him. Before footage came out Slager said that Scott took the Taser from him but the video, which I have watched and where I got these images from, show Scott slapping it out of his hand and running. He is then shot in the back and dies face down on the ground in the park in broad daylight.

In every story covering this it is being said “White officer kills Black man.” The Black man part I am concerned with because I happen to be one. But the bigger issue is the fact that police are killing people so often. Beatings I've known about since I was a kid. N.W.A wasn't making that shit up. The fact that police are no longer using minimal force to subdue someone they suspect of a crime is horrifying. Its literally shoot first ask questions later. This is not how human beings should treat one another, particularly when one of them is paid to serve and protect.

Our justice system needs a complete overhaul. Its not right. Its not close to right. There is a quota that needs to be kept in order to keep prisons open and police employed. This isn't conspiracy nonsense or me just pulling something out of the air. Police are learning that when someone resists arrest that they need to be beaten or killed. Not handcuffed. Not tripped with a baton as they run away. But shot and killed. They are being trained to believe that a uniform and a badge is a license to kill. Its not. Its so fucking not. This guy, Slager, killed a man for running away from him. Not quickly. Scott was not darting away fast. He was a 50 year old father of four that had a busted taillight and didn't want to be arrested for skipping out on child support payments. None of those things are worth being shot in the back for. None of them.

Click here for previous While You Were Sleeping.  

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