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S.C. cop killing shows police wield immense power over life and freedom

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Unread 04.08.15, 05:15 PM
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S.C. cop killing shows police wield immense power over life and freedom

04.08.15 11:18 AM

Pretty much anyone with access to an American media source is aware, by now, of the video showing the moment when a 50-year-old man took his last steps on Earth — shortly after encountering a local cop during a routine traffic stop in South Carolina.

Walter Scott was the intended target of at least eight shots allegedly fired by Michael Slager, a 33-year-old North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer. Scott, who allegedly attempted to flee the officer on foot after being stopped for a tail light violation, had already been zapped by a stun gun and showed no signs of surrendering. The video appears to show that Scott was far more interested in escaping custody than in doing harm to the cop attempting to apprehend him.

Either way, Scott was hit by the gunfire and he died. Whatever gunshots landed on Scott’s body, they were fired from behind him as he ran away from the officer. It’s more than fair to say he was defenseless against the use of deadly force.

The cop is white; Scott is black. And mainstream news outlets are predictably excited over a new, tragic piece of fodder to feed their appetite for race-baiting stories of titillating and violent inequalities. In this case, blaming race may be a right call; then again, maybe it’s not. No one knows what’s in the head of Slager, the alleged shooter. He’s been charged with murder; and if he’s indicted, much more of what motivated him to allegedly kill Scott will come to light.

But unless and until that information comes forth, there’s a far more immediate concern that everyone, no matter their color, can share: The cultural and systemic status quo in 2015 almost shrugs at the fact that routine law enforcement actions can rapidly become coroner calls. In the U.S., law enforcement — even regulation enforcement — is implicitly endowed with a state sanction to use deadly force.

“[R]unning from an officer doesn’t result in the death penalty,” Scott family attorney Chris Stewart told CNN, perhaps speaking of the world that should be — instead of the world that is.

Picking up on a story in The New York Times that brings racial identity into its lead sentence, PJ Media’s Michael Walsh observed:
Leave it to the New York Times to instantly racialize the incident; after all, the Narrative must be advanced at every opportunity. But this story is larger than that. Because, in this era of militarized, trigger-happy police, what officer Slager [allegedly] did to poor Walter Scott could happen to any of us

… How? Simple. Give the police near-total immunity for their behavior as “public servants,” instruct them to bring in money by just about any means necessary, rely on the conservatives to support almost any excess, enjoy the blessing of the state and federal courts, and provide them with enough weapons — not just guns, but tasers, nightsticks, huge flashlights, etc. — to take down and out anyone who resists. We can sort out guilt or innocence later, possibly posthumously. Joseph K. had a better chance at justice in Frank Kafka’s The Trial.

Too often in the U.S., victims of police violence never get anywhere near a trial — either the officer’s or their own.

The post S.C. cop killing shows police wield immense power over life and freedom appeared first on Personal Liberty.

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