Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Extra-Judicial Lynchings: White Officer Charged with Murder in Killing of Walter Scott – North Charleston, South Carolina

Many people have now heard about the killing of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday. He was shot and killed by Officer Michael Slager while running away from the officer after a traffic stop on Saturday morning. The officer fired eight shots while watching him run away, striking Scott five times - four of those five shots hitting Scott's back, with one of those hitting his heart.

The initial reports of this shooting repeated the same story line we always hear - suspect turns and begins confrontation with officer; officer fears for safety or life; officer shoots suspect; suspect dies. Fortunately in this case, a video surfaced by a bystander who was mindful enough to record what was happening. The video was shared with the attorney representing the family of Walter Scott, who then turned it over to law enforcement officials.

While we hope this incident ends in some level of justice for the officer, there is no undoing the tragic killing of Walter Scott. We need all officers who consider themselves to be good and community-supporting officers to stand up and stand against the culture that produces this kind of incident. It's clear to me from watching the video - and listening to the usual story line that followed - that this officer felt extremely comfortable shooting and then trying to get away with this. Given the usual outcome of these situations, and the typical way the media rallies around the officer, we can assume that he felt emboldened in his behavior.

The video can be seen online.

The front page of today's local paper, The Post and Courier, appears below.
SC Post and Courier - April 8 2015