Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Observations on the Walter Scott Shooting

By now, nearly everyone has heard of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager who has been charged with murder for shooting Walter Scott who was fleeing a traffic stop.  I would like to add my own observations:

  • At first I felt that Slager is guilty and that the case should be open and shut.  The trouble is, there does seem to be some credibility to Slager’s claim that Scott had grabbed his Taser.  A close inspection of the video shows a wire coming from Slager’s leg and appears to be going to Scott as he is fleeing.
  • Even if the Taser was on Scott at the time of the shooting, I don’t think that justifies lethal force.  A Taser does not disable someone completely.  Yes, while it is being used on someone, they feel immense pain, but you can recover quickly from it.
  • All police officers should face a public grand jury hearing when they are involved in any kind of fatality while working as an officer.  I am surprised that a murder charge was brought to Slager in this case.  Usually there is an internal investigation that will clear the officer of all wrongdoing.
  • More people have been killed by police officers than US soldiers in the Second Iraq War since said war began.  This is happening precisely because prosecutors refuse to properly investigate these killings like they would had it not been a police officer.  I know that police officers are more likely to find themselves in a violent situation than regular people.  At the same time, that doesn’t mean that they should be given the benefit of the doubt just because they have a badge.
  • Race is a factor in this case, whether we want it to be or not.  I don’t care much for the race baiters and the Social Justice Warriors who view this as a white police officer killing a middle aged black man.  At the same time, we have to recognize the tribalism that goes on in the black community and the lack of it being recognized in the white community.
  • Regardless of race, we need to recognize that human life is sacred.  Our culture by and large does not, regardless of your stances on abortion, euthanasia, or police brutality.  Instead we lift up animals higher than human life, which is suicidal culture-wise.  Part of recognizing that human life is sacred involves treating every fatality in law enforcement as a serious offense which requires investigation and a trial.
  • The overlooked story in this case is that Walter Scott fled primarily because he was going to go back to prison for back child support.  A 50-year-old man still owed child support and the draconian laws in South Carolina required that he go to prison until he pays it off.  That makes perfect sense, right?  If it wasn’t for feminism and their white knights, Scott may not have fled in the first place.
  • If the trial ends with a not guilty verdict, than people need to accept it.  Unfortunately, many people will not.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t shun Slager, who used lethal force is what was probably a non-lethal situation, but at the same time, our justice system was designed to ensure that only the definitely guilty get punished.  Did you know that conviction rates in colonial times was about 40%?  This was because they believed in the principle of innocent until proven guilty.
  • I suspect that Slager will try and get a plea deal arranged, probably try to get one with probation and no prison time.  The evidence is stacked against him, regardless of the Taser wire in the video, so I suppose it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to plea out.

I know that this is a heated issue, especially with the Michael Brown shooting (which was justified) and the choking death of Eric Garner (which was not justified).  I doubt real justice will come about, regardless of the final outcome of the trial.

I will say this though: Slager’s career as a police officer is more than likely done.  At least there is that.