The Walter Scott Tragedy

Officer Michael Slager has been charged in connection with this incident.

Jacquelyn Northcutt, Writer

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Lately, the news has been swarmed with stories about police brutality. We’ve all heard stories about people being beaten to death or hospitalized after an encounter with a police officer. Most stories show that African-Americans are most at risk from police officers. Recently, there has been one video that’s taken the Internet by storm. In this video, we see one of the most dramatic examples of police brutality that has been seen in a long time.

In North Charleston, South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager pulled over Walter Scott for a broken taillight. Unfortunately, this confrontation ended tragically, and it was all caught on video. The video (shot by witness Feidin Santana) started off a bit shaky, but if you looked closely, you could see what appears to be a struggle between Slager and Scott. When the camera evened out, you saw a small object, which is believed to be the officer’s stun gun, fall to the floor. Scott turned and began to run away from Slager, who pulled out his gun and fired 8 bullets into Scott’s back. As Scott lay dead on the floor, Slager handcuffed him, then picked up the object and dropped it next to Scott’s body. However, as back-up arrived, Slager picked up the item and attached it to his tool belt.

After the video reached authorities, Slager immediately lost his job. He was arrested, and is being charged with murder. The paperwork on the shooting said that the other policemen that arrived on the scene attempted to perform CPR on Scott, but in the video, there was absolutely no evidence that CPR occurred at any time. These cops are now under investigation. Hearing about something like this is scary. The police force is set up to protect us, but after watching a video like this, it’s hard to put our hands in the lives of police. The faith that they will protect us is tested after seeing this happen. Police brutality has increased sharply since the mid-1900’s. There are more reports than ever about police using excessive force, stealing, or having biased opinions. This can scare people, and make them second-guess how much they can rely on the police.

Even though these news stories about dirty cops are terrifying, I beg you to remember that the majority of police officers have our best interests in mind. Think about it: police officers are hired for a reason. They were hired to protect us. Most of them keep up their part. News stories about the minority of police officers that make bad decisions can shake our feeling of security, but realizing that most cops want to keep us safe can help put our fears to rest.

If you want to see the video, check it out on the New York Times’ website by clicking here. Please keep Walter Scott and his family in your thoughts. If you have something you’d like to say about this story, please leave a comment below.