There is a former policeman in South Carolina and he currently has no friends.  I’m not arguing on his behalf but I offer perhaps a rational explanation for a video that has shocked the country.  You can get more details here.

North Charleston P.D., Courtesy, flickr.com

This morning I was reading some of the comments from the man who actually videotaped the encounter.  He explains he was fumbling for his camera after seeing Walter Scott, the now dead man, wrestling with policeman Michael Slager.  The two were wrestling on the ground, which as any law enforcer will explain, is a really dangerous place to be.  From what we understand, Scott grabbed for a taser being used by Slager.  If Slager had set out for work that morning looking for a black man to shoot dead than what’s the use of the taser?  Oh, it could cause a handful of people to fall over from a heart attack but bullets would surely be more precise.  Slager only resorted to his service pistol after using the taser.

So let’s remove any racial element from this.  The policeman is facing a murder charge and possibly execution if convicted.  No one in mainstream media is condemning capital punishment, at least right now, for Slager.  At the same time the Boston Globe is begging the life of the “Boston Bomber” be spared.  The little bastard placed a bomb on a street right next to an even smaller innocent little boy.  The terrorist piece of flotsam planned the attack for weeks.

Officer Slager didn’t plan the killing of Walter Scott and while I’m not justifying the shooting it’s clear the policeman fired out of frustration and perhaps rage.  At best it’s a manslaughter conviction.  “Heat of passion” was a definition when I was taking some pre-law courses 35 years ago.  We sometimes do bad things in a split second but without a series of premeditated malicious thoughts.  The cameraman didn’t take pictures of the wrestling match because he was nervously juggling his mobile device.  I guess I would’ve also been all butter fingers.  In fact my reaction with a camera in this situation may have been as confused and bungled as Officer Slager with his gun.

Police in the United States are far too over-militarized, however.  Slager didn’t run over Scott with a halftrack.  He shot him with his service pistol, a device cops have been carrying for a very, very long time.  To put this in a narrative packaged with a bow for Al Sharpton is also a travesty.  This is no war on black people.  This is an isolated moment where a policeman lost his cool and somebody else tragically died.