Michael T. Slager, 33
A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him fatally shooting an apparently unarmed black man in the back while the man ran away.
The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he feared for his life because the man took his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man — Walter L. Scott, 50 — fled. The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening.
The shooting comes on the heels of high-profile instances of police officers using lethal force in New York; Cleveland; Ferguson, Mo; and elsewhere. The deaths have set off a national debate over whether police are too quick to use force, particularly in cases involving black men.
North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city, with a population of about 100,000. Blacks make up about 47 percent of residents, and whites account for about 37 percent. The city’s police department is about 80 percent white, according to data collected by the Justice Department in 2007, the most recent period available.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said during the news conference. “And if you make a bad decision — don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street — you have to live by that decision.”
Moments after the struggle, Slager reported on his radio, “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.
But the video, which was taken by a bystander and provided to The New York Times by the Scott family’s lawyer, presents a different account. The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Scott turns to run.
MEANWHILE IN CLEVELAND IT'S OPEN SEASON FOR BLACK ON WHITE CRIMES:
....On it, large groups of black people are seen attacking white people at a bus stop. When the police arrived, the predators scattered. When police left, predators returned within 90 seconds to resume their assault on the downtown tourists, students and office workers.
At least six people were attacked for what the local reporter said happened for “no apparent reason.”
But three weeks after the black on white beatings, the Plain-Dealer revealed -- acknowledged is probably a better word -- that “years of unchecked beatings on and around Public Square following the city's St. Patrick's Day parades” is a regular event.
And the black on white part? The part where going downtown to beat up white people is a sport event for some black people in Cleveland?
That was buried in the final four paragraphs of the story.
Now city officials are promising next St. Patrick’s Day will be different. Downtown will be safe from roving bands of black people looking for soft, white and Asian targets.
But some locals are wondering what the city is going to do about the other 364 days in the year, when black mob violence and black on white crime is just as frequent.
A few days after St. Patrick’s Day in the Cleveland suburb of Garfield Heights, The Plain Dealer reported a “man was walking down the street when the group of teenagers approached him from behind. Two of the teenagers pushed him to the ground, causing him to hit his face on the pavement, according to a police report. The entire group then began punching and kicking him. “
The “teenagers” were black. The victim, white. But several readers in the comments section of the news story rushed to assure the locals that race had nothing to do with that attack. Or many others just like it.
On January 2 at the Valley View Cinemark in a suburb of Cleveland, a massive disturbance from black people forced managers to stop the showing of ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death’300’ and ask everyone to leave. Soon after, “some of the juveniles were climbing over the food service counters in the theater lobby; theater security and management threw them out and locked the doors,” said the local Fox affiliate.
But the party was just beginning: “Once the juveniles were outside, police said numerous fights broke out in the parking lot and near two restaurants -- Oak Barrel and Quaker Steak & Lube -- right near the theater. According to Chief March, the “fights were very widespread (with) a lot of pushing, shoving, screaming and shouting.”
Police told restaurants to lock their doors to keep the horde of hundreds of black people out. For the neighboring Oak Barrel restaurant, it was already too late. “They came into the restaurant itself and a lot of customers were kind of scared,” one restaurant employee told Fox 8 news in Cleveland. “They were threatening employees, they were threatening me and some customers.”
In February 2014, also near the Public Square, a black mob attacked a disabled army veteran. They first saw him on a bus, then followed him when he left it. They kicked him, punched him, and knocked him down -- all the while saying ‘Knock that boy out! White boy. Cracker. Knock that white boy out.’
One TV reporter at Channel 19 said thugs and “teen mobs” do that a lot in Cleveland near Public Square, but curiously, a search of his station’s web site failed to turn up even one report on it.
Black mob violence has also marred for several years the Fourth of July celebrations in the Cleveland suburb of Bedford. Almost none of which made its way to the local media. But the city council heard an earful from local residents following 2012’s holiday violence.
They reported that 50 to 80 black people were hitting people in the face and disrupting the festival and surrounding areas. “Police officers used pepper ball pellets and a taser,” said city council minutes from a Special Meeting in August 2012. “Even the Wal-Mart and Get-Go store had to be closed for three hours.”
Closing the Wal-Mart is DefCon 5.
“The Mayor was shocked by what he had witnessed,” said the minutes. The mayor assured the audience that Bedford was “not the only city that had these types of problems.” People were “traveling from city to city just causing problems.”
It was no problem for the local press: They just ignored it.
Lots of those cities and holiday riots are documented in that scintillating best-seller Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry.
Because Bedford no longer has a daily newspaper, the city sent out a “Code Red” message warning residents of the violence and lawlessness that was “out of control” at their event. Three surrounding police agencies were called in to quell the violence.
The fire chief said his people were not armed or trained for this kind of activity.
Some of the residents complained of “political correctness” that prevented them from talking about what really happened. City manager Henry Angelo did not deny that black mobs were responsible for the violence. But he did say it was contemptuous that anyone would notice.
Such as your humble correspondent. I get that a lot. I do not care.
Another Cleveland suburb, Shaker Heights, also cancelled the Fourth of July fireworks: "There have been problems in maintaining order and dealing with huge numbers of young people who have shown up through social media at the fireworks and who have been disruptive,” said Mayor Earl Leiken to the Shaker Heights Patch.
This is a long list: Black mob violence in Cleveland schools? Plenty of it.
Black mob violence against gay people in Cleveland? Plenty of that too, though the gay press is loath to say so.
Councilman Reed is not the first black city councilman in Cleveland to call for greater action against black mob violence. That honor goes to former Councilman Eugene Miller when, in June, 2013, the councilman dialed 911 because 100 to 200 “sorry ass” black people were rioting in front of his house. “I’m sick of this,” he told the emergency dispatcher in a series of increasingly irate phone calls. “I need the police over here immediately,” he said. “People are going to have to go to jail tonight. I got about 100 sorry ass black kids out here acting the fool. In front of my damn house and I’m sick of this.”
“Nobody should have to live through this shit.”
Colin Flaherty is author of Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry, which documents how Cleveland, as bad as it is, is just about average for black on white crime.