Dr. Dawg

American hunters and their prey

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It should have been a good day for Officer Michael Thomas Slager, out on patrol in the urban jungle of North Charleston. Hey, there’s one now—busted tail-light. I’ll just pull him over. Maybe I’ll Taser him, get him to run a little. Give him a fair start—a few seconds. Then I’ll bring him down.

One…two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight. Got him!

Now to put the handcuffs on him and plant a weapon. Hey, I was in fear for my life.

But Officer Slager had a problem—in fact, two.

First, some brave soul captured the whole thing on his cell phone. The police story shortly after the event differed so widely from what we can see with our own lying eyes that a meta-story was born.

The police account, in fact, was lie piled upon lie. The killer and his two buddies in blue who showed up afterwards even claimed they had performed CPR on Slager’s bullet-riddled prey, Walter Scott. Nope.

Notably, after the video surfaced, the officer’s lawyer, who had spoken confidently as they all do about how the cop would be exonerated when the full story came out, is no longer representing him.

Which brings us to the second problem faced by the hunter: thanks to continuing on-the-ground protests across the country and the huge lens-cum-spotlight of the social media, police forces and politicians are having to take public notice of these outrages, perhaps in spite of themselves. Maybe Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the child Tamir Rice—to name but three unarmed Black souls gunned down by white cops in the recent past—didn’t die in vain. Maybe #BlackLivesMatter after all, or are starting to.

Patrolman First Class Michael Thomas Slager has been charged with murder. And summarily fired. No “administrative duties” for him. No massive fundraising on his behalf—as yet, anyway—by white supremacists. The police chief, the mayor and the governor of the state have publicly expressed their dismay.

But we should keep holding our breaths. This Tweeter put it starkly: “America, where a cop shoots a guy in the back and plants a weapon on him on video and we’re like ‘Is he gonna get convicted….?’”

Already the mainstream media are digging into the prey’s past to gin up the usual “thug” image. There have been other recent cases where video didn’t bring justice to the killers in blue: in fact, they weren’t even charged. And of course, most of these killings are not recorded on video at all, so there is little to counter perjured police accounts.

Has a corner been turned, then—or does the US remain a game preserve, where police still stalk and kill their prey with impunity? Let’s await the Slager verdict: it could prove to be a watershed moment.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 8, 2015 10:45 AM.

Politically sidelined, Part 3: Silos and Enclaves (3) was the previous entry in this blog.

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