A black man, Walter Scott, was shot eight times in North Charleston, South Carolina. Officer Michael Slager, a Caucasian male, stopped Scott for a broken brake light. And according to Scott’s brother, at the time of the incident, he had been making his way to the auto shop to have the light fixed. The interaction between the two went from a routine stop to a murder. When stopped, Scott became frightened and decided to run away from the Slager. Slager promptly chased him to a slightly wooded area, pulled out his gun, and proceeded to shoot Scott eight times in the back.
Unfortunately, this instance is not an isolated occurrence. Across the country, there have been instances just like this. However, what makes this case so groundbreaking is the fact that when questioned, Slager reported something completely different from what had actually occurred between him and Scott. He claimed in his report that he was acting in self-defense as Scott had managed to take Slager’s taser. This was taken as truth until a witness came forth and handed in a video that showed the exact opposite. Slager had fired his taser at Scott,but when Scott managed to about twenty feet away, Slager resorted to firing shots.
This is not the first offense Slager has been accused of. On multiple accounts, he has been accused of tasering people for no reason and in January of 2015, an African American woman called the police because her children were being harassed, and he never filed a report. With concern to the Walter Scott case, the video shot by the bystander is not the only testament to Slager’s questionable actions. In a voice recording of the event, Slager can clearly be heard with a senior officer, laughing over the adrenaline rush he felt after killing a man. In his own words: “It’s pumping.” Last Tuesday, Slager was charged with murder and rightly so.
The message here: Police officers lie. Many people who hear police testimony seem to forget or ignore this fact. Slager is not the first police officer to lie about a confrontation that ended with a person of color dead, and it won’t be the last. If not for the bystander who had recorded the incidence on his phone, Slager would have gotten away with what he did. Police brutality and racial discrimination is something that is very apparent in our society, and it needs to end. When Scott had been stopped, there should have been a simple exchange “Your tail light is broken, get it fixed”, that’s it. Instead, Walter was ordered out of his car. This case and the resulting prosecution, in one step of many that need to be taken to rid our nation of this hateful and unnecessary injustice.