Michael Slager. That is the name of the man who murdered Walter Scott. And if we can learn anything from the fact that Michael Slager is not currently in prison, it is that Colin Kaepernick is right to take a knee–No one has any business honoring a country that cannot bring justice to the murderer of yet another unarmed black man, shot in the back as he ran away from yet another officer whose motto, “To Protect & Serve,” seems less appropriate than “Comply Or Be Killed.” In his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote that “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” And as I write this, Michael Slager is sleeping in his own bed tonight… In a warm house in the state that started the Civil War. I can’t imagine a clearer message that Black Lives DON’T Matter than the fact that this clear-cut murder case could possibly end in a hung jury. In case you don’t already know, here are a few of the facts from the case:
- 37% of the residents of North Charleston are white. 80% of the police force is white.
- Walter Scott was pulled over for a broken taillight… The same traffic violation that led to the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
- When Michael Slager–the officer who murdered an unarmed man by shooting him in the back as he ran away–pulled over Walter Scott, he was ironically listening to the Everlast song “What It’s Like.” The song has lyrics that say, “God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes. ‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues.” It also tells the story of a man who got shot and killed, whose wife and kids “had to wake up to hear the news.” Walter Scott had four children.
- Family members speculated that the reason Walter Scott ran was because he owed nearly $18,000 in back child support and was afraid of going to jail for that… A fact that made him a deadbeat dad, but should NEVER have made him a dead dad.
- Both the murderer and the man who was murdered served in the Coast Guard.
- As 50 year old Walter Scott ran away, officer Slager fired eight shots at him… Hitting him with five. As Walter Scott lay motionless and dying, face-down on the ground, Slager cuffs him, someone yells “Put your hands behind your back!” and the video shows that Officer Slager ran over to where they were standing, picked up the taser off the ground, and planted it next to Walter Scott’s lifeless body.
- Almost immediately, crowdfunding sites were set up to help pay Officer Slager’s legal fees. After GoFundMe shut down their fundraiser, Indiegogo raised over one third of their goal in just three days… Before public pressure caused them to suspend the campaign as well.
- The video of Walter Scott’s murder was not immediately released. Feidin Santana, who recorded the murder on his phone, said that he feared his life would be in danger if he showed anyone the video. He considered just erasing the video and moving away from Charleston.
- The hung jury who created the mistrial in this case consisted of six white men, five white women, and one black man.
- Though there is sure to be a retrial, one thing is for certain: If this murder had not been videoed, there is not a chance in hell that Michael Slager would ever be convicted of the murder that he clearly committed. If you can’t get twelve people to agree with clear video evidence, then you surely aren’t going to get a conviction from something as “flimsy”as eyewitness testimony… Just think of all the HUNDREDS of people who are killed by police every year whose shootings AREN’T videotaped by an eyewitness with a camera on his phone.
The fact that Walter Scott’s killer is not behind bars does not simply hurt North Charleston… The harm is not limited to South Carolina (A state that is preparing for a symbolic atoning scapegoat for its sins with the upcoming sacrifice of the very peacefully-arrested confessed murderer, Dylan Roof, who killed nine black church members as they met for prayer)… The lack of justice here literally hurts the country. And it’s not just because of the truth of Martin Luther King’s words that remind us “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” This injustice injures the fabric of our nation. Here is what former Chief Justice Warren Burger said in a speech to the American Bar Association in 1970:
“A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people, and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society:  that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value;  that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching;  that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.”
If you’re a white liberal (like myself) who is feeling depressed about a lying, misogynistic, narcissistic, racist, fascist, startlingly-unprepared megalomaniac being voted into the highest office in the land, and you’re still in mourning over the realization that this country is not as great as you thought it was–just remember: It could always be worse… You could be black. You could have daily messages sent your way that your life–as well as the lives of so many other People of Color around you–DO NOT matter… Even as a bunch of white “Christians” yelling “All Lives Matter” have just elected a man who called himself the “Law & Order Candidate,” appointed a top Law Enforcement Officer who was declared too racist to be a federal judge, and has called for “Stop & Frisk” to be used in all major cities (not coincidentally, the areas where most of the black folks live). Meanwhile, I’m feeling more and more like the horrified white people on this perfect Saturday Night Live sketch, saying, “Oh my God… I think America is racist.”
When someone says the words “Black Lives Matter,” they are not making a statement of how things ARE… They are making a statement of how things SHOULD BE. All live clearly DON’T matter in this country. This is proven on a daily basis. It is proven every time white men survive encounters with police that black men would never have lived through… Like this man in the video below who murdered his wife, injured his daughter, and led police on a dangerous chase that ended up with cars on fire… Just to leap from a burning car and charge at an officer whose gun was drawn. He was practically begging to be shot, but I guess the officer didn’t feel that threatened by him… Watch.
The fact that all lives DON’T matter is proven when a white man with a history of road rage incidents guns down and murders a former NFL player in the middle of the road in the middle of the day, and then that same man is allowed to go home without charges being brought against him (until the public demanded justice for Joe McKnight’s killing).
The fact that all lives DON’T matter is proven when a retired corrections officer with brown skin ends up in the hospital after officers severely beat him while he was grocery shopping in a supermarket, roughly matching the description of a nondescript black man they were looking for… Watch.
This is the reason it is so messed up when people say “All Lives Matter.” No! They clearly don’t. If ever evidence existed that Black Lives DON’T Matter in this country, everything about this Walter Scott case is it… Where a white man gets caught on video shooting an unarmed black man in the back as he runs away, then gets caught planting evidence next to his body, and STILL justice is delayed. All lives DO NOT matter… and until they do, I join the millions of people who see this systemic injustice for what it is, and I say those same hopeful, angry, powerful, and prophetic words:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
I am sorry for being away for a couple weeks. This election has got me all messed up. If I let myself, I could easily slip into months of feeling beaten and overwhelmed and hopeless and depressed, but the main reason I am writing right now is because of my Patrons. I feel a sense of obligation and responsibility to you folks, and I am genuinely grateful for that. Thank you, honestly, from the bottom of my heart for your support. It means so much to me. I’m going to try to write my way out of this funk I’m in, and hopefully I’m going to take some of you with me. If you’d like to support this blog, you can. By BECOMING A PATRON, by LEAVING A TIP ON PAYPAL, or just by following and sharing on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER. More than ever, we need to Love each other, and protect the Truth, and remind each other of Beauty.