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In a surprising departure from the usual script, a police shooting of an unarmed black man has resulted in the police officer being charged with murder. Michael Slager, 33, a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, was fired from the police department and charged with the murder of Walter L. Scott, 50, after pulling Scott over for a broken brake light.


Slager had originally claimed he shot Scott in fear for his life after Scott tried to grab his taser. You know how black men are when shot to death by police -- it seems they all just automatically grab for the cop's gun or taser, at least as the cops remember it in their reports. But in this case, cell phone video taken by a passerby instead shows Slager firing eight shots at Scott as he tries to flee. After handcuffing Scott's lifeless arms, Slager can then be seen walking back a short distance, picking up what appears to be the taser, and dropping it next to Scott's body as a second officer arrives on the scene.

The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.

Something -- it is not clear whether it is the stun gun -- is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men, and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.

The officer then runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something up off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Mr. Scott’s body, the video shows.

No doubt Slager had a very good reason for doing this, possibly out of a deeply felt need to tidy things up. Some people are just a little anal that way. Or they're just assholes.

Good on Mayor Keith Summey for owning up to the evidence immediately and not trying to protect a cop who was clearly in the wrong. At his news conference Tuesday, Summey said:

When you’re wrong, you’re wrong [...] 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.

So far, there hasn't yet been much of an attempt from the Usual Media Suspects to turn Slager into the victim and Scott into a criminal thug who needed to be put down, although New Stupidest Man on the Internet and Award-Winning Journalist Chuck C. Johnson was doing everything he could to find a justification for Scott's murder, noting Scott's extensive criminal past:

And it's true -- Scott did have an arrest for assault and battery. In 1987, when he was 22 years old. Clearly a career malefactor. And if we're shooting people for unpaid child support, then former Congressslug Joe Walsh had better make sure he's not driving around with a busted taillight. Johnson also hinted that the video is misleadingly edited. He found it suspicious that "the cameraman [was] in such a great position to capture the #WalterScott shooting," and, of course, complains, "How convenient that we don't see the moments leading up to the tussle."

Hmm. You know, if cops were required to wear body cameras at all times, that might be a solution, but apparently that's just liberal craziness. Still, instead of rushing to judgment based solely on a video of a cop shooting the guy eight times in the back, maybe we should find out more about why the victim deserved to die:

We'll bet that there's some dark secret there, in addition to the unpaid child support. Did he floss every day, or skip sometimes? It's probably only a matter of time until some wingnuts start renaming the victim "Deadbeat dad Walter Scott." And yes, not paying child support is a bad thing. Just not a capital crime, the last time we checked.

In the meantime, Johnson's already predicting a full exoneration for Slager, because of that arrest 28 years ago:

With Chuck C. Johnson, boy journalist, in his corner, we're fairly sure that former officer Slager is up a creek. It's almost as bad as having William Kristol predict you'll win the presidency.

[NYT / Twitter]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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