With another seemingly open-and-shut-case gone left, we are again left to wonder what justice looks like.
I’m sure you, like myself, can remember the first time you watched the video of Charleston (SC) police officer, Michael Slager, gave up chase on Walter Scott and fatally shot him…in the back…multiple times. And for good measure, Slager, who was approximately 15-20 feet away from the fleeing Scott at the time of the shooting, walked over and placed his taser near Scott’s body solely for the appearance of being “afraid for my life”. All of this, climaxing with a man’s life taken following a daytime traffic stop for a non-functioning brake light.
I’m sure you, as I, thought, “Well, there’s no way he’ll get off for this”, especially after Slager was swiftly fired from his position and subsequently charged with murder.
Well, in the immortal words of Lee Corso…NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND!
A judge declared a mistrial Monday afternoon in the fatal shooting of an Walter Scott, at the hands of a Michael Slager, after the jury said they could not come to a unanimous verdict.
The feelings I got in the pit of my stomach, as I watched that video (anger, emptiness, numbness) all made an encore when the announcement of a mistrial was made. At this point, many of us are perpetually in search of “what will it take?”. What will it take for someone to be held accountable for the outright murder of another human being.
It’s instances like these, and countless before, that make for the ultimate head-scratcher. I, as I’m sure you, have been recited several times, the justifications of police officers killing unarmed civilians. I’ve heard them so much, I lip-sync along as the rhetoric spews. I always find it hilarious that the the same people who dismiss and find excuse to a man being killed video, can be induced into all-out, foaming-at-the-mouth lunacy when their favorite football team’s quarterback’s fumble is upheld on instant replay. Maybe if the referee were permitted unholster his weapon to shoot the quarterback for said fumble, would they grasp the totality of the issue. But for now, the vocal initiative will be to ridicule the quarterback for kneeling during a song that holds zero weight in many communities in America.
It’s repeated instances like these that lead to uprising, protest and even riot. It’s coldly fair to ask how much longer can we continue to ask, beg and please for equality…only to be repeatedly scolded for daring to request such a thing? Black people have been shouting for freedom, integration, civil rights, voting rights, equal pay, education, equal housing (damn I’m tired) since since before this stolen land was a country.
When a collective of people who built this country are turned away from humane treatment, what else do you expect. Eventually, doors will be kicked in, screams will be heard and fires will be spread. When that happens, people are told to “get over it”, “you’re making this stuff up” or “you’re going about it the wrong way”.
History, old and recent, has shown us that this will NOT be the last time we discuss this. This cycle is as American as treason and apple pie. So, until we meet again… stay safe, love yourself and each other.