Before reproducing it here, I think it is important to be clear about what the North Charleston police department had to say about this incident, when they didn't know the video existed. They claimed that the officer felt a threat to his life, and that the victim had taken his taser away from him and was trying to use it on him. And please remember, this all involves a police stop of a 50 year old man for a broken tail light on his Mercedes- not even a misdemeanor; at most a citation, and normally a warning if this is the first time he was stopped for it. I leave it to you to determine how likely it is that a police officer would actually feel in fear for his life from, and use a taser on, a 50 year old man stopped for a broken tail light.
Of course, then the video showed up, and here it is:
As can be seen, the victim did not take the taser. At most, he tried to knock it away, as, given the circumstances, he had every right in the world to do, as no policeman has a right to use a taser on a person for a broken tail light. You can then see a black object, presumably the taser, fall to the ground. The victim then runs away, correctly perceiving the threat to his life from this evil policeman, at which point, the policeman fires numerous shots into him, when he clearly was no threat at all to the policeman, and who then proceeds to pick up the taser and place it by the victim's body; his first thought being to manufacture evidence for the story he already intended to tell. Neither he nor another cop who appears in the video seem to be interested in doing anything at all to aid the victim.
What we have here is deliberate, first degree murder, with callous indifference to the welfare of the victim, combined with an immediate attempt to fabricate evidence. And all of this would have been totally successful if it had not been for this video.
In the last month, one hundred Americans have been killed by police, who are always, it would seem, "in fear for their lives." How many of those deaths would, if we had similar videos to this one, prove to be cold blooded murder? And how many of the perpetrators would, like Darren Wilson in Ferguson MO, be aided by their fellow policemen and corrupt prosecutors to escape punishment?
Well, here is what I am suggesting: When a police officer kills someone with the weapons which we allow him to carry around in public, it is not enough that he claims to be "in fear for his life;" like any other citizen, he had damned well be prepared to prove that the threat to his life was real. If he can't live with this, then he needs to get another job that doesn't involve being licensed to carry a firearm. And secondly, when a police officer kills someone, we can no longer afford to grant his story any more credence than we would to any other murder suspect. Haven't we seen clearly by now how often people are killed, beaten, harassed by out of control police officers? Isn't it time that, for our own safety, they must be stripped of the benefit of the doubt about their behavior?
And furthermore, if any case calls for the death penalty, this is it. If this man is given any lesser punishment, in a State that loves the death penalty, it will be one more travesty of justice in favor of the authorities (and, of course, in favor of a white man's right to kill a black man without consequences.)
And I repeat, Mr. neighborhood cop: if you can't live with this, get another job.
Update: Well, it sure hasn't taken Southern States long to figure out the appropriate reaction to incidents like this. From Crooks and Liars:
"New Texas Bill Would Prevent Bystanders From Recording Cops"
Well, that'll solve the problem. There is absolutely no way to exaggerate the cynicism and contempt for human decency that exists in these States today.
But Wait, There's More! I have just read that the car Mr. Scott was driving was a brand new Mercedes Benz that he had purchased only three days before. What are the odds that a new Mercedes Benz would have a broken tail light? Will someone even check to see if this part of the officer's story was true, or as is far more likely, Mr. Scott was pulled over and murdered for the crime of being a black person in possession of a Mercedes in North Charleston, SC, where such things are patently not allowed?
Notice: Just for the record, I worked on a TV series in Charleston, during which we filmed a lot in North Charleston, often no more than a mile from the site of this shooting. So I am pretty familiar with the area. If you are ever around there, DO NOT MISS an opportunity to eat at Bertha's Kitchen, the home of the best pork chops you will ever eat.