By Brittney Cooper
The most recent coldblooded police slaughter of an unarmed Black man is not the story of “one bad apple.” I refuse to narrate this story as another “isolated incident.”
On Saturday morning, Michael Thomas Slager, a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, shot and killed Walter Scott, after pulling Scott over for a broken tail light. Slager initially claimed that he used his taser on Scott after Scott ran during the traffic stop. He then claimed that Scott tried to take his taser. Therefore, Slager was forced to use his gun.
But video shot by an anonymous bystander shows a very different, chilling version of events: As the video begins, the two men’s hands are interlocked. It’s unclear what is happening. But a second or so later, Scott breaks free and runs at a fairly slow pace away from the officer. Slager calmly pulls out his gun, aims and fires eight times at Scott’s retreating back. He then walks over to Scott’s now prone and bullet-ridden body, and handcuffs him, without offering him any medical assistance. Another officer, a Black man, arrives on the scene and also fails to administer any aid to the victim. Meanwhile, Slager, retraces his steps a few feet, picks up a dark object, widely believed to be the taser, casually saunters back over and tosses the object near the victim’s body. The nonchalance, the lack of urgency, is almost as unsettling as the murder itself. The casual way that Slager aims, fires and snuffs out Walter Scott’s life is devastating.