Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The South Carolina Shooting

I need to say something about Saturday's shooting in N Charleston, SC, in white a white police officer, Michael Slager, shot a 50-year-old black man, Walter Scott to death as Scott was running away. The video, taken by a bystander, shows the shooting although it does not show the entire confrontation.

The facts appear to be as follows: Slager stopped Scott's vehicle for a busted tail light. At some point, a physical struggle ensued and Slager tasered Scott. The video picks up where Scott is breaking away from Slager, runs away, and is shot. There doesn't appear to be anything in Scott's hands. Slager has reported claimed that Scott tried to get his taser gun.

While we want to know exactly what happened before the video starts, this certainly appears to be a bad shooting. The law says that you cannot use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect-even a felon- unless he presents an imminent danger of great bodily harm or death to the cop or someone else. We don't have that here. In short, unless something completely unforeseen arises here, we don't have a Michael Brown situation because Scott was not fighting with the cop or charging him when shot. Nor was it a Treyvon Martin situation as George Zimmerman described it. Nor was it an Eric Garner situation because in that case there was no intent to use deadly force.

Slager has been charged with murder and already fired. The FBI is also investigating as to civil rights charges. Without trying to rush to judgment, Mr Slager is in very serious trouble.

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