Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Murder of Walter Scott in Charleston SC

Walter Scott was murdered by police officer Michael Slager in Charleston, South Carolina. Like so many sad killings we've had this year, this is another white cop shooting a black man.

And he might have gotten away with it "Scott Free" if not for one brave soul, a young man named Feidin Santana, originally from the Dominican Republic, who stood filming with his camera while the policeman first tazed Scott on the ground, then shot him multiple times in the back as he fled.

In an interview Santana said he had considered deleting the video, fearful for his own life, then he decided to take it to the police. But when he got there and the police told him to wait while he went to get more officers, he got nervous and left to find a lawyer. After that, the video was released to the family and the media.

There are gruesome details gleaned from the video - the original police report said that CPR was given to Scott after the shooting, but the video showed none given by Slager or the assisting officer who arrives moments later. The taser was moved by Slager from where it was originally used and then thrown down beside the body, probably to justify the shooting. And the worst - Slager put handcuffs on Scott as he lay on the ground, probably after he died. Why do cops do that? I call that abuse of a dead body!

(Note: Cops in St. Louis also put cuffs on the dead body of Kajieme Powell.)

The only good thing out of this is that local Charleston officials immediately arrested Slager, then fired him. His own lawyer quit in the middle of the day. Good and good. Then tonight, the website GoFundMe shut down Slager's defense fund. Good for them too!

From the New York Times
The shooting unfolded after Officer Slager stopped the driver of a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, according to police reports. Mr. Scott ran away, and Officer Slager chased him into a grassy lot that abuts a muffler shop. He fired his Taser, an electronic stun gun, but it did not stop Mr. Scott, according to police reports.

Moments after the struggle, Officer Slager reported on his radio: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.

But the video, which was taken by a bystander and provided to The New York Times by the Scott family’s lawyer, presents a different account. The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.

Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men, and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.

The officer then runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something up off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Mr. Scott’s body, the video shows.

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