Dreamer's World April 9 2015 - Mayor, police chief visit family of man slain by cop in South Carolina
Mayor, police chief visit family of man slain by cop in South Carolina
The mayor and police chief of this Southern city visited the family of a black man shot to death by a white police officer as demonstrators protested the latest in a series of deadly confrontations around the nation between cops and civilians.
Why is this visit even necessary? Shouldn't the mayor and police chief be expected to run a professional police force that does NOT act as Judge, Jury and Executioner in cases like this?
As many as 50 people protested at City Hall, carrying signs including “Back turned, don't shoot,” “Black lives matter” and “Stop racist police terror,” according to images from the scene. The protest was led by the group Black Lives Matter, which rose to prominence after a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo.
Sadly, issues like this are not limited to Ferguson. They happen all over the country. Ferguson is simply a rallying point because the response to the problem gained momentum there first. This is a national problem and has to be addressed on a national level. Black Lives Matter has done, and is doing, a wonderful job of bringing the issue of police misconduct to the attention of the public, and I applaud them.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers visited and prayed with the Scott family on Thursday, a family spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
“There were tears on both sides, a real conversation between mayor and police chief and the family,” the spokesperson said. “They offered condolences, a chaplain led a prayer. It was a friendly conversation that last about half an hour for the family which was heartbroken."
Of course the family was "heartbroken". It is sad that a segment of the population can on longer be expcted to have any confidence in the police departments that are supposed to be there to serve and protect.
Officer Michael Slager was arrested Tuesday on murder charges in connection with the North Charleston incident, the latest in a series of deadly confrontations between white police officers and African Americans.
Earlier, the family of Walter Lamar Scott praised the video with its painful images of the man's death.
Without the video, the shooting “would have never come to light. They would have swept it under the rug, like they did with many others,” Walter Scott Sr. said on Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show. “When I saw it ... my heart was broken.
“The way [Slager] was shooting that gun, it looked like he was trying to kill a deer. ... I don't know whether it was racial, or it was something wrong with his head,” Scott said.
Obviously, this is another example of how some police officers view human life.
Judy Scott, the slain man’s mother, called the video “the most horrible thing I've ever seen.”
“I almost couldn't look at it to see my son running defenselessly, being shot. It just tore my heart to pieces,” she said on ABC's “Good Morning America.”
Slager, a five-year veteran of the city police force, had originally told authorities that he feared for his life during a confrontation with Scott after a traffic stop on Saturday over a faulty brake light. Scott had taken the officer’s stun gun, officials said they were told by the 33-year-old officer.
The video, however, shows the officer firing as Scott, 50, flees. When the officer fires, Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and he falls after the last of eight shots. Some of the shots hit him in the back, the family’s lawyer said.
The officer then runs to where the original confrontation takes place and picks up something off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Scott’s body, the video shows.
Mayor Summey announced the charge at a news conference Tuesday.
“When you're wrong, you're wrong,” Summey told reporters. “When you make a bad decision, don't care if you're behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision.”
Summey and Police Chief Driggers went to the Scott family home Wednesday morning to offer their condolences.
The Rev. Al Sharpton on Wednesday praised the police chief and mayor.
This is not a use of force issue, silly LA Times. It is a murder. Let's not insult the intelligence of comon people and at the same time insult all police officers by calling this case a use of force issue. This is a murder.
"Who would believe a police chief in the Deep South would show more honesty and transparency than some of the big city police chiefs?" Sharpton said as he opened a convention of his National Action Network.
Sharpton also said the incident underscored the need for a national policy on policing that would ensure among other things that police encounters with citizens are captured on video.
"Not until the video came out yesterday did police believe" an account other than the officer's, Sharpton said.
Slager made his first court appearance on Tuesday and was denied bond. If convicted, he could face 30 years to life in prison.
Slager's former attorney, David Aylor, had released a statement Monday saying the officer felt threatened and that Scott was trying to grab Slager's stun gun.
North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city, with a population of about 100,000. African Americans make up about half of the residents with whites about a little over a third. The police department is about 80% white, according to the Justice Department in 2007.
The FBI is also investigating the incident, the Justice Department announced. Also investigating is the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state’s criminal investigative body.
Scott had been arrested about 10 times, mostly for failing to pay child support or show up for court hearings, according to the Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston. He was arrested in 1987 on an assault and battery charge and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon, the newspaper reported.
The South Carolina incident comes amid increased attention to the role of police in African American communities. The shooting of Michael Brown last year in Ferguson, Mo., led to weeks of sometimes violent protests. The death of Eric Garner on Staten Island sparked protest across New York and the nation.
Grand juries in Missouri and Staten Island decided not to charge the white officers involved in those incidents. The Staten Island case was also captured on video.
In January, prosecutors in Albuquerque, N.M., charged two police officers with murder in the shooting of a homeless man in a confrontation that was captured by an officer’s body camera. A video taken in Cleveland shows the police shooting a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was carrying a toy gun while playing in a park.
A White House policing panel recently recommended that police departments put more video cameras on their officers.
Zucchino reported from North Charleston and Muskal from Los Angeles. Staff writer Tina Susman contributed from New York.