Monday, April 13, 2015
South Carolina Police Shooting: Murder Charge Examimed
With the shooting in South Carolina, there was a rush to avoid a public outrage, considering the video evidence seen. The normal procedure of:
Suspension, or desk duty
was by-passed, and the shooter was charged with "murder" and arrested. The family of the victim publicly insisted that Al Sharpton "stay away", which helped diffuse tension. Sharpton uses words to enflame and endanger and is pathological in his deception, willing to fabricate and destroy.
The family of Walter Scott did what was best for their community in keeping the race baiter away.
Diffusion of rage came with the charge and arrest for "murder."
Will a "murder" conviction come back from a jury?
Or, will the prosecution be forced to adjust or even change its charges?
The police have released the dash cam video, and the video, itself, has been enhanced. The video, therefore, can be "stitched together" beyond the short cell phone video initially released. This increases the length of time and may show that the subject grabbed the officer's taser.
If the subject grabbed a police officer's weapon and ran, is it accepted practice to shoot a fleeing suspect, if specifically armed?
This is where the rush to charge may run into complications.
The questioning of charges filed, and the time period in which this was done, is not a justification of the shooting. It is a question to be added to the equation. We have not seen any evidence that links the officer to racism, thus far.
The statement initially made by the officer's attorney:
"When confronted, Officer Slager reached for his Taser, as trained by the Department, and then a struggle ensued. The driver tried to overpower Officer Slager in an effort to take his Taser."
The audio of the police officer:
"Shots fired. The subject is down. He grabbed my Taser."
The short sentences are expected. "He grabbed my Taser" is very straight forward language, and, on its own, very likely to be truthful.
The chief, before seeing the video, said, "This is part of the job that no one likes and wishes would never happen. This type of situation is unfortunate and difficult for everyone."
He went on the premise of an altercation.
We do not have the officer's report as filed.
The video released was shocking and caused immediate reaction, especially given the racial animosity that has risen dramatically in our nation the last few years.
Here is the video from police and the witness, taken together.
Does it change anything?
Will it impact the "murder" charge?
If the suspect had the Taser, is it 'live'?
For law enforcement: if you believe a suspect is armed and fleeing, are you to employ deadly force?
Was the rush to murder charge wise?
Would officials have been wiser to risk public backlash and suspend and investigate before charging?
Is justice being served?
Or, is there no change?
The folly of running from police isn't debated. There are other issues, however, that will need to be addressed, beyond justice in this case.
With racial animosity where it currently is, can black neighborhoods be kept safe? Will non black officers fear to use force when necessitated? Will black police officers thus feel the same with white suspects?