On Tuesday, police officer Michael T Slager was charged with murder after a video surfaced showing him shooting an unarmed black man, Walter Scott.
The South Carolina officer initially claimed that he shot and killed Scott because his life was in danger; Scott had allegedly nabbed his stun gun in a scuffle, and he was going to use it unless the officer acted fast.
However, a video has recently surfaced that shows Slager shooting eight times as Scott fled. A bystander recorded the video and gave it to the Scott family’s lawyer.
The incident started out simply. Officer Slager stopped Scott, whose Mercedes-Benz had a broken taillight. According to police reports, Scott immediately fled and ran into a grassy lot.
On the video, we see Scott and Slagger struggling on the grassy lot, taser wires extending from Scott’s body. Scott then turns and runs. Something is tossed down behind Slager, who then draws his weapon, aims it at the fleeing black man, and shoots eight times.
Scott collapses on the eighth shot. Slager picks up the thing that had dropped, goes to the unmoving Scott and drops it near Scott’s body. Five of the officer’s shots struck Scott, with three in his ear, one in his buttocks and three in his back–at least one penetrated his heart.
North Charleston has a population of around 100,000 people. Of these, whites make up 37% while blacks make up 47%. Despite this, over 80% of the city’s Police Department is white. And, it seems, racial profiling is in their job description.
Walter Scott does have a criminal record, but it’s not what you might think. He has been arrested 10 times, most of which were for not showing up for court hearings and for not paying child support. He has four children and is engaged. When confronted by Officer Slager, he probably panicked because he was behind on child support payments.
There have been so many recent instances of police officers murdering unarmed black males that it’s now beyond shocking. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, a criminal or a civillian; if you’re a black male, the US is a very dangerous place to live in right now.
Officer Michael Slager deserved to be locked up for life, or worse. It’s clear that the murder was cold-blooded, and the American police need to get the message that it’s not okay to just kill people because they look suspicious. If he doesn’t get the maximum sentencing, there’s something very wrong with the system.