Walter Scott’s death at the hands of a cop captured on video is a nightmarish combination of the killings of other black men by white police from Ferguson to Staten Island and beyond.
Like Eric Garner, who was choked to death for selling illegal cigarettes, Scott’s fatal encounter with Patrolman Michael Slager came as a result of a petty offense: a dead brake light on Scott’s car.
Like Michael Brown, Scott was unarmed and was dozens of feet away from the police officer when he was shot to death.
Like the cops in almost every “officer-involved shooting,” Slager said he feared for his life.
Unlike all of those incidents, there is a video that undeniably shows a man who did nothing to warrant the eight shots in the back he took from Slager’s gun.
Unlike all of those incidents, the police officer this time was immediately charged with a crime: murder.
Scott and Slager tussle in the beginning before Scott unevenly, slowly breaks away, just beyond the reach of the officer’s taser darts. Slager rips his gun from his holster and fires shots so fast they’re almost indistinguishable.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.
Scott drops to the ground in a stomach-turning lump and Slager gets on his radio.
“Shots fired and the subject is down,” Slager said on Saturday, according to the incident report. “He took my Taser.”
Except he didn’t, or at least he didn’t have it in his cold dead hands.
With another officer on the scene, Slager comes up to Scott and tells the dying man to put his hands behind his back. The video is shaky and blurred in this moment, but it doesn’t appear Scott is able to follow this command very well, given the eight slugs in his body. After Scott is cuffed, Slager jogs back to where his Taser lies in the dirt, picks it up, carries it over, and drops it next to Scott’s body.
This apparent planting of a weapon on Scott is exactly what many blacks say, without evidence, happens after one of their own is killed by a cop.
“Oh, shit,” the anonymous cameraman says, seeing the apparent frame-up.
A black cop puts on latex gloves as he works over Scott’s body.
“Fucking abuse, man.”
The wind howls into the phone’s microphone, muffling the officers’ conversation.
“Shit, they shot him,” the bystander says to no one but soon to the entire world.
The cameraman’s heavy breathing is one of the last things we hear, and by this point we’re breathing just like he is, hardly believing what we just watched.
The video stops and then starts back up, now with more officers kneeling near Scott’s body. One runs to the dying or dead man with a first aid kit. A motorcycle roars in the background. Two officers—including the black cop in the latex gloves—work on Scott. Slager and another officer talk nearby.
The wind continues to howl.