Newly Released Dash Cam Video Shows Moments Before Walter Scott Was Shot
Last Saturday, Officer Michael T. Slager of North Charleston, SC, shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed African American male.
The incident was captured on a graphic and disturbing video in which Slager shoots eight bullets into Scott as he's attempting to flee.
On Tuesday, Slager was arrested and charged with murder. He is being held without bail, faces life in prison and has been fired from his job.
On top of all this, it recently came to light that Slager may have planted a weapon on Scott's body after he shot him.
The unsettling encounter was initiated by a routine traffic stop, which was somewhat confusing at first given there's no vehicle visible in the video of the shooting.
Much of this was cleared up after a new video emerged on Thursday evening with footage from Slager's dash cam. It provides insight into what happened when Scott was pulled over not long before the shooting.
In the video, Slager approaches Scott's vehicle, and he reportedly explained to the officer he doesn't have insurance and is still in the process of paying for the car.
A few seconds later, Scott attempts to get out of the car to say something to Slager and is promptly told to remain in the vehicle.
Moments later, Scott bolts from the car and out of view of the dash cam. Slager can be heard screaming "Taser" and "get on the ground." All the while, Everlast's song "What It's Like" plays in the background.
The fact this particular song is playing is quite ominous, as it tells a tale of individuals who are unjustifiably condemned by society.
As details surrounding this fatal incident continue to emerge, many might be quick to argue Scott wouldn't have gotten shot had he not run away.
But while fleeing from police is certainly imprudent, it doesn't merit getting shot eight times, nor does it justify a police officer planting a weapon after a violent encounter.
We must also acknowledge the unfortunate fact that we live in a country where police are far more likely to use deadly force against minorities. It's sad, but African Americans have a right to fear police in the US.
And the problem seems to be getting worse. In March alone, there were 111 police killings nationwide. That's 36 more than there were in February.
Walter Scott was a veteran, a father and, most importantly, a human being. He didn't deserve to be gunned down in the streets; that's not justice.
Like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and so many others, Walter Scott reminds us we still have a long way to go when it comes to conversations surrounding policing and, especially, racism.
In "What It's Like," Everlast sings,
God forbid, you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes. ...God forbid, you ever had to wake up to hear the news.
For anyone attempting to condemn Walter Scott, try to imagine why so many minorities are afraid of the police.
Citations: South Carolina police release Walter Scott dash cam video (BBC News), Heres the Data That Shows Cops Kill Black People at a Higher Rate Than White People (Mother Jones), Police Killed More Than 100 People In March (Think Progress), Yes Black America Fears The Police Heres Why (Huffington Post), Slager can be heard yelling Taser (Dash cam video from Walter Scott shooting released)