Do Police Tactics need reform?

I saw this video today from the New York Times.

This South Carolina Police Officer will be charged with Murder, as he should be. This video shows the white police officer shooting and killing the black man as he was running away UNARMED.

It is being reported that the officer, Michael Slager, said that he feared his life was in danger because his stun gun was taken during a scuffle following a traffic stop. However, in this video we can clearly see the officer fire eight shots as Walter Scott, ran away. The officer is about 30, and Mr. Scott was about 50. I would assume, that without firing at him, the officer could have eventually caught him.

I do understand there was the recent case in Ferguson, Missouri. While that was another case of a white officer shooting a black man; Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, because he felt threatened and Brown was not running away. There is strong evidence that there was an altercation and Brown tried to reach for the Officer’s gun. And this is the reason why he feared for his life. Now lets get to my point, police may be too quick to use force, specifically in cases which involve black men.

In this case, the shooting had begun to unfold after Officer Slager had pulled over Mr. Scott for a broken taillight on his Mercedes-Benz, according to report from police. Mr. Scott then ran away, and was chased by Officer Slager into a grassy lot. Slager fired his Taser, or stun gun, but this did not seem to stop Mr. Scott. After the struggle, Officer Slager had reported “Shots Fired, the subject is down. He took my Taser”. This was according to the report from police.

The video paints a very different picture. At the start of the video, we can see they are in a vacant lot, and appears to be just after the Taser was fired. As Mr. Scott turns to run, there appears to be wires coming from his body. I watched the video a couple of times, but it looks like something is knocked to the ground behind the two guys. Officer Slager then whips out his gun and fires at Mr. Scott, who is now probably 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls to the ground after eight shots have been fired at him.

What I don’t understand is the “cover-up” that happens next. The officer then goes back to where the scuffle had started and picks something up. You later see him drop an object near Mr. Scott’s body.

The Supreme Court says that an officer is able to use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that the suspect “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

The video shows that for several minutes after the shooting, Mr. Scott lay face down with cuffs on. A second officer arrives, with blue medical gloves, but not seen performing CPR. Then, sirens are heard and another officer arrives, who also does not try to perform CPR. This all while the police reports say that officers performed CPR and performed first aid to Mr. Scott.

After hearing about from his mother, Mr. Scott’s Brother went to the scene of the shooting, and was told that his brother was dead but could not explain why. Anthony Scott said, and I agree, “This just doesn’t sound right. How do you lose your life at a traffic stop?”

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