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Another Unarmed Black Man is Shot by Police

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It was like something out of a graphic film, the kind of attrocity for which there are simply no words. In a cell phone video captured by a passerby and obtained by the New York Times, a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina is shown to draw his gun after an African American suspect takes off running away from him. The unbelievable part is when, rather than issue any verbal warnings or chase after him, he simply unloads eights bullets into the clearly unarmed man's back, ensuring no possibility of survival for the suspect. Here is the video the Times posted, and we warn you in advance, it contains graphic violence and language.

It is extremely difficult for us to comprehend this unspeakable crime. The officer, Michael T. Slager, is now under arrest and has already been fired from the force, but questions remain as to what prompted the excessive use of force. According to Slager's account, the suspect, 50-year-old Walter L. Scott, had taken his taser gun and he feared for his life. However, the video shows a completely different account, as the taser gun wires appeared to still be in Scott's back as he runs away. For more reference, the crime for which Slager pulled over Scott was a broken taillight. The scuffle began after Slager became aware that there was a family-issued warrant out for Scott's detainment. In other words, Scott was simply guilty of neglecting a court order to pay child support, and nothing near as violent a crime as what would warrant such a vicious attack. Even if the officer manages to be indicted on murder charges, it will be little comfort for the Scott family.

Unfortunately, they are just one family of many to face such injustices at the hands of the very officers who are sworn to protect them from harm. This is the latest event in a series of increasingly violent and unjust attacks with startling racial motives (whether on purpose or not). In almost every case that has been publicized recently, the officer enacting the violence was white and the victim was black. In the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York, the officers have not been indicted on any charges (as of yet). Though more and more cases are being caught on camera, there is still much to be fixed with regards to the country's police system and the racist mentality that appears to be plaguing it in a profound way. These cases will only contribute to the growing fear in the country on both sides. After all, it is important to note that North Charleston has a 47 percent black population, while in contrast roughly 80 percent of the police force is white. 

The fact of the matter is that as long as people of color in America continue to fear walking the streets of their own homes and fear any sort of interaction with law enforcement, we cannot stand by and let this systematic corruption continue. We must continue to advocate for basic human rights in all situations, for it is the basis of the legal system that a person is always innocent until proven guilty. If Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, co-conspirator in the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013, was allowed a fair trial to deduce his guilt, why weren't any of these men given the same right?


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