Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2015, April 8: More on the case of accused killer cop Michael Slager

Yesterday I wrote about the arrest of white police officer Michael Slager in South Carolina on charges of bravely killing an unarmed black man in the back when the guy ran from a traffic stop after being electrocuted (tased), "when I first saw this was, since the accused is white and had on a police uniform when he allegedly bravely shot the guy in the back, he can and likely will collect a small fortune in online donations from white supremacists across the country."

Spocko reports that a fundraising site has gone up (Fundraisers for Officer Slager Go Live, Go Down, Pop Up Again Hullabaloo 04/08/2015):

At first I thought that the existence of the video would make a difference in the fund raising for Slager, but then I read the reasons they give for setting it up, "It's about being innocent until proven guilty." That's smart.

It's very important for the fundraisers to make it clear who is the real victim. Also, some people need an excuse to cover their support of racism, bad policing and out of control individual police officers. On the other hand, some people relish the chance to express their real opinions. Often they make the comment right in the donor page.

I see this new trend like buying a bumper sticker you know will piss off people you don't like.
On the fundraising site, see also: Christopher Zara, Michael Slager, Indiegogo Backlash: Site Says ‘We Don’t Judge’ Amid Criticism Of Fundraiser For Walter Scott’s Shooter International Business Times 04/08/2015. Zara reports:

... the same campaign was removed from GoFundMe, a competing crowdfunding site, which said it violated its terms of service. Last year, GoFundMe came under similar criticism when it allowed campaign organizers to raise more than $400,000 in support of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot Michael Brown. Wilson, unlike Slager, was not charged with a crime.
Charlie Pierce also weighs in on the charges against accused killer cop Slager (A Death In South Carolina: No Video, No Crime Esquire Politics Blog 04/08/2015):

The country has to decide what the function of its police forces actually is. Is it their function to protect and to serve all citizens, or is it to respond with overwhelming deadly force to placate the fears that one sector of the population nurses toward The Other? Are our police custodians of ordered liberty or some sort of Praetorian Guard of established privilege? I'm sympathetic enough to the average officer to believe that many of them want to be the former, but are trained too thoroughly in the techniques of the latter. I hope the villain of this piece doesn't turn out to be the guy who took the video, but I'm not sure that won't be the case. There shouldn't have to be video, is what I'm saying.
Judd Legum informs us in Everything The Police Said About Walter Scott’s Death Before A Video Showed What Really Happened Think Progress 04/07-08/2015 of how Slager's police department was approaching this murder case before the video surfaced.

But getting him convicted by a South Carolina court and jury may be a tough goal to accomplish. David Slade reports for The Post and Courier (Shocking video of killing, but criminal case more complicated, analysts say 04/08/2015):

“You’ve got eight shots fired at a guy who’s running away,” said Charleston School of Law Professor Miller W. Shealy Jr., a former prosecutor. “It is horrific footage and very difficult to watch, and there doesn’t appear to be any excuses.”

But despite the video, said Shealy, “Based on my experience I wouldn’t say any case is easy, or a slam dunk.”

If the case goes to trial, questions will likely be raised about what happened before the start of the video, he said.

“We don’t see the stop, we don’t see the car,” said Shealy. “For the prosecution, it’s a strong case based just on the video, unless some strange things happened before the video started.”
See also: Andrew Knapp, Day after officer’s arrest, video of shooting death sparks protests, more action The Post and Courier 04/07-08/2015. The shooting victim Walter Scott, "a Coast Guard veteran and father of four" also had legal issues in his life, which accused killer cop Slager's admirers will use to justify Slager's bravely and nobly shooting the 50-year-old Scott in the back:

At the time [of his being shot to death in the back by Slager], [Scott] was wanted for arrest on a Family Court warrant, Charleston County sheriff’s Maj. Eric Watson said Tuesday.

He had a history of arrests related to contempt of court charges for failing to pay child support. The only accusation of violence against Scott during his lifetime came through an assault and battery charge in 1987.
Knapp recounts the killing as it appears on the video:

The three-minute clip of Saturday morning’s shooting starts shaky, but it steadies as Slager and Scott appear to be grabbing at each other’s hands.

Slager has said through his attorney that Scott had wrested his Taser from him during a struggle.

The video appears to show Scott slapping at the officer’s hands as several objects fall to the ground. It’s not clear what the objects are.

Scott starts running away. Wires from Slager’s Taser stretch from Scott’s clothing to the officer’s hands.

With Scott more than 10 feet from Slager, the officer draws his pistol and fires seven times in rapid succession. After a brief pause, the officer fires one last time. Scott’s back bows, and he falls face first to the ground near a tree.

After the gunfire, Slager glances at the person taking the video, then talks into his radio.

The cameraman curses, and Slager yells at Scott as sirens wail.

“Put your hands behind your back,” the officer shouts before he handcuffs Scott as another lawman runs to Scott’s side.

Scott died there.

Slager soon jogs back to where he fired his gun and picks up something from the ground. He walks back to Scott’s body and drops the object.

Through the entire footage, it’s not clear whether Scott ever had control of the Taser.

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