Police Must be Held Accountable for the Murder of Walter Scott
Racial Justice Organization Stands with North Charleston Community to Demand Justice
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, a jury performed a gross miscarriage of justice by failing to convict former North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager for the murder of Walter Scott, a 50-year-old Black father of four on April, 4 2015. Video footage captured by Feidin Santana, a nearby bystander, disproved false statements provided by the North Charleston Police Department. The video clearly showed Slager, a white officer, shooting an unarmed Scott in the back five times as he slowly fled. Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization released the following statement:
“To anyone who cannot comprehend why Black and Brown communities and their allies are marching in the streets screaming ‘Black Lives Matter,’ this is why,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project’s national office. “What is painstakingly clear from the facts of the case is that Walter Scott should still be alive today. His murder epitomizes how a lack of police accountability in the killing of Black people emboldens officers to act as the judge, jury and executioner, handing out death sentences with virtual impunity.
“What Black communities have learned time and time again is that law enforcement has normalized their inhumanity. They have learned that the death of lions and gorillas generates more public outrage than the systemic loss of life in their own neighborhoods. They have learned that even their death at the hands of police is not seen as worthy of the truth,” continued Browne Dianis. Initial statements made by the North Charleston police department erroneously claimed that Scott’s death resulted from a struggle over a taser. Slager has also been indicted on federal charges including depriving Walter Scott of his civil rights. “Through the conviction of Michael Slager, we hope that law enforcement learns that they can either choose to value and respect Black lives or suffer the consequences.
“What we know is that institutional racism still exists in law enforcement and that perceptions of Blackness as a threat or danger continue to surpass the truth. For this reason, the rallying cry for Black Lives Matter grows louder as Black people continue to risk their lives to live freely – provide for their families, educate their children and work on behalf of their communities. We must hold police officers accountable if we want to reduce the horrific levels of state violence committed against Black people every day.
“The failure of the jury to convict a police officer, despite irrefutable video evidence clearly showing the execution, explains why we still need strong federal enforcement to investigate gross miscarriages of justice. We support the prosecution’s intent to retry the case and are hopeful that a jury will unanimously find that Michael Slager inappropriately escalated a routine traffic stop, murdered Walter Scott in cold blood and blatantly lied about killing Scott to avoid the consequences of his actions. We stand with the North Charleston community and demand justice for the Scott family.”
Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.