It was big news the other day when authorities released the dash cam footage showing the initial traffic stop that ended with four bullets in Walter Scott’s back.
What we don’t have and probably won’t ever have is what happened in between the traffic stop and where the bystander video began. The dash cam footage gives us a bigger picture of what happened, but it still doesn’t make the cop’s case any better. Authorities think that Scott may have bolted because there was a warrant out for his arrest. The cop would have checked for any outstanding warrants and would have arrested him there.
The bystander who recorded the encounter said that before he started recording, Slager and Scott were struggling on the ground. A Taser may have been involved, and Scott may have tried to avoid being tasered by knocking the device out of Slager’s hands. But so far, there’s been no good reason given that would explain why Slager shot Scott in the back several times as he trotted away.
Because the cop is white and the suspect was black, the FBI is investigating the shooting, according to The Post and Courier:
A protest outside City Hall remained peaceful Wednesday morning, but demonstrators drowned out Mayor Keith Summey during an afternoon news conference with chants demanding justice and questioning the city’s struggle to hire minority police officers. The department is about 18 percent black in a city that is 45 percent black.
While the FBI has opened a civil rights probe into the shooting, Summey vowed to discuss with residents whether the city’s policing tactics and policies should be changed. He also announced that the city Wednesday bought 150 body-worn cameras in light of Scott’s death that will complement the 101 cameras it had already ordered through a state grant. He didn’t say when the city would get the shipment of 251 cameras that will outfit every uniformed patrol officer.
As I’ve argued in the past, I don’t believe this is a racial discrimination problem necessarily. There are plenty of these sorts of cases involving white cops and white victims as well as black cops and black victims. Having more black cops isn’t necessarily going to make things better for black residents.
Excessive and unjustified force is not something that only white cops are guilty of using on black citizens. Cops of all races and backgrounds are guilty of using excessive force on citizens/suspects of all races and backgrounds. If the FBI wants to investigate this for “civil rights” violations just because the cop is white, and the suspect was black, that’s not okay. I don’t even think the feds should be involved at all. I think they’re just trying to prevent more riots by showing the black community that they “care.”
But if they’re going to get involved in this case, they should also investigate the death of Georgia resident David Hooks, who was shot face down in his back by police at his home. They won’t investigate that case, because Hooks was white.