Video Shows Cop Murdering Black Man

Ken AshfordRacial Homicides2 Comments

On Saturday, Water Scott, 50, was shot and killed by Officer Michael T. Slager of the North Charleston, South Carolina, police department, after a traffic stop.

According to Slager’s initial report, Scott tried to take his Taser, and in the struggle, Slager had to fire in self-defense.

Yesterday, a video surfaced from an anonymous witness.  In contradiction of Slager’s account, Scott is seen turning to run away; Slager then appears to fire eight shots, and Scott falls to the ground.  Most importantly, it appears that Slager retrieves his Taser from the ground about twenty feet from Scott, and he places it next to Scott’s body.

See for yourself (WARNING: it’s graphic)

Without the video, Scott’s death never would have been questioned, and certainly we would have been in a familiar position of “not enough evidence to warrant a trial”.  The story would have been that Officer Slager A) used his Taser first and somehow missed, or wasn’t able to put Scott down,  B) was then attacked by Walter Scott, who “struggled with him over control of the Taser”, and C) was then forced to shoot Scott multiple times during the struggle.

Slager has been charged with murder, which is kind of rare.  (Of the 21 publicized cases from 1994 through 2009 in which a police officer killed an unarmed black person, only seven cases resulted in an indictment—for criminally negligent homicide, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, or violation of civil rights—and only three officers were found guilty.)

If nothing else, this video is Exhibit A why we need to repeal laws in various states that have criminalized videotaping police. I believe Maryland and Illinois are two of those states. Apparently, South Carolina where this shooting took place does not have such a law.

UPDATE:  Some right wing sites are desperately trying to make this look like it might be justifiable with the old “we don’t know the facts yet” and “don’t believe what you’re eyes can plainly see” and “here are some irrelevant facts that have no bearing on whether this was justifiable or not” dance.