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Monday, December 11, 2017

Columns

Verdict on South Carolina police shooting honors unaccountability


Another black man is murdered in the streets.

Walter Scott’s killer, Michael Slager, is a former police officer who pulled him over for a broken taillight on April 4, 2015. Scott then tried to flee and that led to a tussle. Slager said that he feared for his life and had to shoot Scott before he could do anything.

The jury, after much deliberation, could not come to a unanimous decision. The judge had to declare a mistrial.

A cellphone video showed Scott running away from Slager before he was fatally shot. I can’t believe this continues to happen to minorities in the U.S. These deaths will continue if we keep letting officers who take the law into their own hands walk free.

Slager’s attorneys’ pathetic defense was an attempt to cover the tracks of a rogue police officer who killed Scott in cold blood. The legal team claimed that Slager feared for his life after Scott got control of his stun gun.

The cellphone video painted a different picture.

It was Scott who seemed to be running for his life as Slager fired his handgun at Scott from at least 17 feet away. Later, Slager can be seen setting his Taser next to Scott for reasons he could not explain during the trial.

Slager fired upon a man with his back turned, killed him and then tried to plant evidence to corroborate his story. Still, one of the jurors couldn’t consciously find him guilty? How is it that the police have become so powerful?

Many people forget that we, the citizens, are the ones they are supposed to protect and serve. They work for us, but they are still killing people of color and getting away with it. Slager was a public servant who failed in his duties on the day he killed Scott.

Scott could have been guilty of a hundred crimes and still should have gone through the justice system. Instead, a cop who denied everything and claimed to not remember anything gunned him down.

If Scott was of any other race, this would matter just as much. Since he is black, however, we must acknowledge the racial implications here, and realize that the problem exists on the streets and in courtrooms.

Slager is free due to the way our judicial system is set up. Being a police officer probably helped him in the eyes of the jurors.

Will this prompt those who refuse to believe that there is no pattern of police violence against minorities to see otherwise? I hope so. This real issue will live on regardless who notices.

We must stop clouding this discussion with hyperbole and realize that, just like in any profession, there are unsavory cops on the force. Calling them out for who they are and purging them from the force do not equal disrespect to all police officers.

Being an officer, especially within our country’s current climate, is one of the bravest things anyone can do. Only a coward would treat minorities like criminals by profiling and killing unarmed men because of the color of their skin.

Stop labeling everyone who wants to see change as cop-haters or people who don’t respect authority. This issue concerns the value of a human life.

Be it black, white, yellow or brown, we all deserve to live without being murdered on the street.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and may be reached at [email protected] 

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  • Mohammed bin Zayed Jones

    I’m still amazed that TDC refuses to address the Ohio State terrorist attack.

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