A panel of 11 white people and one African-American could not find it in themselves to hold Slager accountable for this summary execution, could not bring themselves to say that this black life mattered.
The white South Carolina police officer whose shooting of a fleeing, unarmed black man was captured in a chilling cellphone video has been indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury.
The United States locks up a larger proportion of its citizens than any other nation in the world. Mass incarceration has exacted a terrible cost — on state budgets, on black neighborhoods, on economic and social justice.
As Martin Luther King noted after young people in Memphis broke windows and looted stores during the last march he ever led, violence has a way of changing the subject.
The violent encounter was only the latest in a series of incidents that critics say demonstrates a pattern of police brutality and racism across the United States.
“Another isolated incident” is how the police killing of Walter Scott will play in conservative enclaves where the notion of systemic racism is regarded as absurd.
There’s a precedent for the use of video in the Walter Scott murder and it involves a white officer shooting an unarmed black man in South Carolina.
For decades, African-Americans, including those in North Charleston, have complained that police shoot black men with little provocation and then falsely claim the officers did so out of fear for their lives. This time there was video.
This is the week that the Confederacy, and slavery, suffered permanent defeat. Yet these two stories are reminders of both the nation’s original sin and the prejudices, pathologies, and policy failures that continue to haunt us.
The police characterized the shooting as a ‘traffic stop gone wrong’, but the video (predictably) tells a different story.