We are all somewhat guilty of bias. Those who look like us, were raised like us, or work with us usually will gain our sympathy and support faster than others. And though this is a human trait, it is not an excuse for the overlooking of crime and injustice, especially in the case of law enforcement. This seems to be strongly hinted at in the case of the officer who shot a man in the back. There seems to be a bad case of “look the other way” going on in their police department.
Dash cam video of a traffic stop provided the world with another piece of evidence Thursday in a fatal police shooting. It showed no indication of any physical or verbal threats before the driver bolts and the officer chases after him.
Though every news agency touted this as breaking news, it has shed scant light on the events that led to Officer Michael Slager shooting Walter Lamar Scott. No threats or physical abuse occurred to frighten Scott into running. Also, we still do not see any threat to Slager’s life that would have justified him shooting Scott five times in the back. But there is a growing concern that there is an air of abuse in the North Charleston PD.
As a steady crowd left flowers, stuffed animals, notes and protest signs Thursday in the empty lot where Scott was gunned down, many said police in South Carolina’s third-largest city routinely dismiss complaints of petty brutality and harassment, even when eyewitnesses can attest to police misbehavior. The result, they say, is that officers are regarded with a mixture of distrust and fear.
Now, we have to take into consideration that there are always these kinds of reports after such shootings. I also want to caution against cop bashing. We as citizens find it very easy to bash, slander, and mistrust the people we pay to protect us. We can in an offhand way dismiss the times in our stead these men and woman face danger. But if there is a system of authority in place at this or any other police department, that condones or ignores abuse, then it must be rooted out and exposed.
The accusation against Slager was dismissed and now many are saying that it was not handled correctly.
Slager’s file includes a single excessive use-of-force complaint, from 2013: A man said Slager used his stun gun against him without reason. But Slager was exonerated and the case closed, even though witnesses told The Associated Press that investigators never followed up with them.
Like it or not, police like preachers are held to a higher standard. These men and woman must have as their chief goal to see justice done. If it is simply a job or a power trip, then these kinds of things will continue to happen.