What We Need Now: Everything Authorities Said Before S.C. Shooting Video Emerged (Opinion)

If you haven’t see the video yet, you need to.

Everything is recorded. A North Charleston, S.C., police officer chases a man after a traffic stop scuffle and shoots him in the back, eight times. Then he calmly walks over to the body and places an object — some say a taser gun — next to the body.

To the police department’s credit, authorities move quickly and seek outside investigators to review the case. In just days, patrolman Michael T. Slager, 33, is arrested Tuesday for the murder of the man, Walter Scott, 50.

Having the video makes this shooting dramatically different from that of so many unarmed black men over the last few years, shootings that have lead to nationwide protests over the excessive use of force by police officers. For example, the Aug. 9, 2014, tussle between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Miss., is at the crux of the very emotional debate between Brown and Wilson supporters. Was Wilson acting reasonably? How did Brown react? How did Wilson shoot Brown? In the end, the issue has always been, “we’ll never know.”

But the North Charleston incident is very different. The shooting is all on tape. No grand jury needed.

And, no matter what happened right before the shooting, the U.S. legal system never condones an officer repeatedly shooting a person in the back to kill.

So, at this point, I have different questions and I think others who are concerned about police brutality, race relations and how black males are treated by law enforcement should have them, too.

I want to reconstuct everything that was said about this incident before the video surfaced. I want to see everything the officer said. I want to learn how the powers that be in this community portrayed this incident. I want a copy of every television, print and talk radio dialogue about this incident.


Because the overarching issue in all of these cases is trust.

Right now, trust is broken between police and their supporters and black males who claim to be unfairly treated by police and their supporters. And, many in this society truly do not believe some police officers treat human beings in this dehumanizing way Officer Slager clearly treats Mr. Scott, in this clear-as-day cellphone video.

No, not all police officers are bad people. But those who are abuse their power to the point of cold-blooding killings like this.

This is what the protestors have been trying to tell them all along.

So. Tell us what they said before the video.

Time to turn the mirror on supporters of these bad cops.

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