Friday, April 10, 2015

The Murder of Walter Scott

Art often imitates life.

A few weeks ago there was a controversial episode of "Scandal" in which Olivia Pope was called in to fix up a mess in the metro police department. The mess was the death of a young African-American teenager who was shot dead on the streets of his Washington D.C. neighborhood (very close to his home), by a white police officer. The young boy's father knowing that his son was killed for no reason other than the color of his skin and the negative perceptions associated with said skin color, decided to take a seat (in a lawn chair) and guard his son's body with a loaded shot gun in his hands. The officer claimed that the young boy matched the description of someone who had robbed a nearby mobile phone store. The young man was stopped by the officer with a mobile device in his hands (one he had just purchased and had a receipt for). When the young man attempted to reach into his coat to pull out the receipt to show the officer, the officer shot him dead. The officer then repeated the line we continuously hear in these situations, "I feared for my life, the victim was reaching for a weapon."

In a final scene, after the gladiators solve the case and figure out that the officer had hidden evidence, planted a weapon on the kid, lied and had fellow officers lie for him, the officer proceeds to go on a a heart stopping rant. This rant in my opinion sums up what law enforcement officers really think about African-Americans that they come in contact with.


Now we fast forward and step into real life. No television show, no actors, no fake justice, no script -- just another innocent black man dead at the hands of the people whom are supposed to protect and serve him. By now I'm sure you've seen this video or heard about the death of Walter Scott.

Here is the recently released dash cam:

From The New York Times:

The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled. The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening. 

The shooting came on the heels of high-profile instances of police officers’ using lethal force in New York, Cleveland, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere. The deaths have set off a national debate over whether the police are too quick to use force, particularly in cases involving black men. If a cop shoots someone and that cop is not in immediate danger, shouldn't paramedics be called to treat the victim, not just more cops? Shouldn't that be the priority, ensuring that life is saved? 

A White House task force has recommended a host of changes to the nation’s police policies, and President Obama sent Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to cities around the country to try to improve police relations with minority neighborhoods.

This entire situation reads like the episode of Scandal. It's sickening that we continue to see these incidents taking place. Thank god for the bravery and courage of this young man to pull out his phone and record this and then turn it over as evidence. If this video did not come to light, Officer Slager would have gotten away with murder and he would have gone on to probably do this again.

Granted this is a horrific situation, I have a small sense of relief that an arrest was made and now Officer  Slager will have to face a jury just like any other citizen would if they committed a crime. We watched Eric Garner be murdered on video and nothing was done. Hopefully, this small act gives Mr. Scott's family some comfort.

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