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I don’t even want to write a blog about this… I am sick of this “same story” playing out again and again in the USA: A random, innocent black man shot to death by police.
Thankfully, in this case, a civilian’s camera was running.
The footage speaks for itself:
Here is the Anderson Cooper discussion on the shooting:
The citizens of the USA are weary of unjustified shootings, beating, arrests, and murders of individuals by police. It happens to individuals of all ethnicities. Yet, it happens disproportionately to African Americans. Much of that situation is carried on the back of a failed “Drug War.” Though, as in the shooting at hand, you never know when being pulled over even for a taillight infraction that you will survive the interaction with cops. To the good cops out there, my hats off to you. This isn’t about you. It is about the vicious, malevolent, and inhumane officers among you who take advantage of and hurt those who they have sworn to protect.
What is the answer? I’ll give you my opinion on what is the fastest way to make progress. I assert the the first major step is an immediate Executive Order by President Obama that all officers, unless undercover, must wear a functional body cam while on duty. Also, that a no tolerance clause for “my cam wasn’t working” be added. If an officer’s body cam “isn’t working” during a questionable situation or any situation where a citizen is injured, he/she will be put on appropriate leave and the situation investigated. If a 2nd situation happens, unpaid leave. If a 3rd, termination. Though, if any investigations lead to charges, then the law should run its course in those cases. Of course, in my perfect world scenario, it would still take time for police departments to order body cams and train officers to use them. Due to that, a reasonable time limit would need to be included in the Order.
I am not a huge fan of Executive Orders. But, we are in a position where the red-tape must be sliced through post haste for the protection of the populace at large from its “protectors.” Executive Orders have been used for all kinds of things. Obama might as well use one in the best interest of the American people during their immediate time of need. Are body cams a total, 100% solution? No. Still, mandatory body cams are a hell of a step in the right direction.
I also call for town, county, and state governments to create citizen boards, voted in by the public and who are NOT, nor have EVER BEEN members or law enforcement, for the oversight of law enforcement in said jurisdiction. They must have enough power to handle situations and recommend the dismissal and/or charges brought upon corrupt or abusive officers of the law.
The only positive, and I use that term in the loosest possible way, is that the shooter, North Charleston Officer Michael Slager of South Carolina, has been charged with murder. Unfortunately, a 50-year-old black man, Walter L. Scott, is now dead over a broken tail light.
I have only two more things to say: 1. To the family of Walter L. Scott, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. It is my sincere hope that you are able to get as much justice as is possible for your murdered family member. 2. To the citizen who recorded the video of the shooting, the USA is forever in your debt for bringing the truth of this shooting to light. Thank you for your courage.
Jon Stewart covered basically everything I was going to say about the Garner killing, so I’ll just watch his dissertation and shake my head. It is hard to write when I’m frustrated…
All I will add in general is that, if this type of thing cannot be dealt with by the respective local, county, or state governments, the federal government is going to have to step in. I call this killing an unjustifiable homicide and the officers involved MUST be brought to trial, as in the plethora of similar cases currently in the news (and not in the news). The American people have lost faith in their own law enforcement. We do not trust cops. We fear that in any run-in with police we may be hurt, have our rights violated, or be killed. This situation cannot go on as it is. It is reaching a dangerous boiling point and it makes us look to the rest of the world like a nation policed by barbaric, treacherous oppressors.
For more information on the case, check out this video by The Young Turks (includes original video of killing):
And another on the frequency of citizens being killed by cops in the USA vs other nations: