Thanks For Doing The Right Thing, Mayor Summey

Image Credit: washingtonpost.com
Image Credit: washingtonpost.com
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The question I suspect a lot of black folks are asking today in the wake of the recent murder-by-cop of Walter Scott, is “So do you believe us now?”

The latest case of yet another indefensible killing of a black man by a police officer to grab national headline attention occurred this week when an unarmed black man (again) was killed by an overzealous white police officer (again) who lied about the circumstances that surrounded the shooting (again). But this time, unlike what happened with Michael Brown in Ferguson, the incident was caught on video thanks to a bystander.

Not surprisingly, the story told by the video and the story told by North Charleston, South Carolina Police Officer Michael T. Slager are two completely different stories. So much so that the police officer was fired from his job by North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and is now charged with murder. And that is very surprising. And encouraging. From The New York Times:

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said during the news conference. “And if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”

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Honestly speaking? It’s not the video that made the difference here. All the circumstances leading up to Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri, weren’t caught on tape. That’s true. But Eric Garner being virtually strangled to death by police officers in Staten Island while saying “I can’t breathe,” was all caught live and in living color on tape. That’s how “I can’t breathe” became a global rallying cry against police brutality. And what happened to those police officers? Absolutely nothing. Just like virtually nothing happened to the police officers who beat Rodney King within an inch of his life, which led to the worst race riot in U.S. history. From Time:

“Once the four officers accused in the beating were acquitted a year later by a predominantly white jury in the majority white suburb of Simi Valley, all that rage turned into the worst single episode of urban unrest in American history, which erupted on April 29, 1992, and before they were quelled a few days later, had left 53 people dead and $1 billion in damage.”

Sure, two of the officers later got a 2 1/2 year sentence from a “sympathetic” federal judge who felt sorry for how the poor dears had been brutalized by the “widespread vilification” of their good name, but I’d say the crime far outweighed the punishment in that instance by almost comically gross proportions.

So as neat and tidy as it would be to say that it was the incontrovertible visual evidence that led to the police officer being forced to face the consequences of his actions, the truth is that incontrovertible visual evidence doesn’t mean squat if the powers-that-be chooses to ignore that incontrovertible evidence and stand strong for racism instead. What it takes to defeat this kind of rabid madness is simply the courage to stand up to it.

It’s the willingness of a mayor to stand up and do the right thing. Mayor Summey had no problem seeing that what Officer  Slager had done was blatantly wrong and reckless, so he fired him. Simple. Just like Go Fund Me did the right thing by rejecting the campaign to raise funds to support Officer Slater. This wasn’t sympathy for a wronged cop, this was naked racism, and Go Fund Me told that campaign to go…well…somewhere else.

When racism and injustice show up, just don’t let it breathe.

14 Replies to “Thanks For Doing The Right Thing, Mayor Summey”

  1. The fact that the cop was filmed planting evidence to corroborate his “story” pretty much forced the Mayor’s hand. What I’m wondering is, what was the story told initially by the other officer who was on the scene? How much did he actually see? Was he just going to ignore the fact that his fellow officer just walked up and planted evidence on the victim he just killed?

  2. The question is, how many other evil actions by cops did Mayor Summey and his cohorts turn a blind eye to? The culture and disregard for the lives of people of color goes deep, it’s a heart condition that will, sadly, not be changed because of this one instance.

  3. That was my question too Rick.
    Would the cops have stayed with the story told by the cops involved or would the one cop have told the truth? I know what I’d believe. Cops cover for each OTHER! The story was different until, the video..

  4. Just a thought.
    There was no reason for the Officer to fire any shots at the poor man. The Officer had stopped him already asked (I assume for Id). As the man ran(In fear) this Officer had the mans I’d and the car. He could have picked him up any time he wished.

  5. A very good reason to believe the change, is only because of the video.
    Another good reason for every person of the black family a(to carry a phone able to video)None of these acts by the police would have ever been made public, without…the video. Protection? YES!!!

  6. Don’t ever expect one cop to rat out another cop. From the time they join the police academy, they are taught “brotherhood” and the dire necessity to count on and support each other in ALL cases. If one of them were to tell a different story of what happened, his/her life wouldn’t be worth a pinch of salt while on duty with a partner and backup.
    This sense of depending on your brothers to keep you alive is not a bad thing, except when it is……

  7. Good for the mayor for doing what was right. Shame on the Police department for running with the officer’s tall tale from the get go instead of “not commenting on an ongoing investigation”.

    I think that it may be time to dust off Errol Morris’ “Thin Blue Line”.

  8. If it’s not racial, why do these type of shootings and killings only happen to Black people?

    With or without video.

    Open season on Blacks by police has been there all along for anyone honest enough to admit to the sad truth.

  9. Yeah yeah, it’s all nice and all that he steps up NOW- when incontrovertible evidence is presented.

    But what about all of the previous incidents.
    Yeah sure he’s gonna insure that cops carry videos, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be turned on, or ‘accidentally’ broken…

    Seems that we all need to be carrying video cameras in a spitting into the wind/gale that is Police-state Fascism.

  10. Question: Why are police shootings of this nature, of Caucasian folks, VERY rare or practically non-existent by Black cops? What goes here? Or, Black Cops wantonly shooting black kids or people without justification? Why? Are Black cops more tolerant? Wiser? More professional? Level headed? Non-racists?
    Good question.

  11. Based on articles I’ve read, black cops are often punished for using even the slightest amount of force on white assailants. Even more ridiculous is the case where a black cop was punished for breaking up a fight between two white guys and then driving one of the assailants home as opposed to arresting them both. Racism, and conversely, tolerance, play key roles. North Charleston, S.C. (where Walter Scott was killed) is a town of 100,000. It’s population is 47% black and 37% white but 80% of the police force is white. That creates a mindset among cops that they are soldiers combatting an enemy force in ‘occupied territory’ as opposed to public servants dedicated to keeping the peace.

  12. A ‘good’ cop who tolerates a bad cop in the department is not a good cop. i don’t buy into that spoiling the barrel. If there are bad cops it is because the good cops want/allow them on the force.

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