Posted by Paityn Langley
A 33 year-old white cop, Michael Slager, was charged with murder for shooting and killing a black man, Walter Scott. After being pulled over for a broken tale light and confronted, Scott ran away from Slager. It was then that Slager shot and killed Scott.
A bystander, Feidin Santana, captured Scott’s last moments on film, which he then provided to Scott’s immediate family. The family’s lawyer, Chris Stewart, having had confirmation from the family, provided the video to the New York Times where it was published.
Many debate whether or not the publishing of the video was entirely necessary. Given the recent increase in cases of this nature, it is said by many journalism professionals that the video needed to be published to ensure overall transparency.
In an attempt to do right by Scott and his family, Mayor of North Charleston, Keith Summey, announced that all police officials, from this point forward, will be required to wear body cameras to record their interactions with the public. While 101 body cameras were approved as a part of a grant, Summey confirmed that 150 more will need to be obtained “so that every officer who is on the street will have a body camera.”
After cases such as Michael Brown and Trayvonn Martin, many individuals are relieved that steps are being made to incarcerate Slager and bring justice to Scott and his family. Needless to say, it is deeply saddening to me that it took up until this point for actions to be taken.
Many believe that we are currently living in a post-racial society, though endless events have suggested otherwise. Open discussions about actions driven by racial profiling will, indeed, help to resolve the high resentment that these opposing communities, law officials versus racial minorities, feel towards one another. But, after years of distrust, dishonestly, and disrespect, conversations are only the beginning to a long and challenging, yet necessary, social reform. We must work on developing the ideals of these conversations into normative practices.
It is direly important to remember that, despite color of skin, we are all human. It is about time we should treat each other as such.
What are your thoughts on this case? Should Slager be convicted of murder? Will body cameras help to decrease racial tension between police officials and racial minorities? What does this say about us, as a community, that it takes something as extreme as wiring all officials with body cameras to ensure justice to all members?