news Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 05:30

Arun Kumar (IANS)

Washington: As the family of the latest victim of a white cop shooting dead a black person planned his burial, protesters wondered what would have happened if a bystander had not shot a video of the horrific incident.

"Where would we be without that video?" asked Justin Bamberg, the attorney of the family of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man in the United States who was shot eight times in the back by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

"The answer to that question is important," said the Times magazine as it listed 14 controversial encounters from 17-yearold Trayvon Martin being fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Feb 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida to the April 4 shooting of Scott.

"Before the video emerged, the killing of Walter Scott had occupied the same contested territory in which hundreds of other cases have languished and festered."

These included "famous cases, like the killings of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and other cases that barely register in the police blotter," it said.

"The routine encounter that gets out of hand, the abrupt escalation from questions to gunfire-the themes are so common that it's hard to avoid two conclusions, which sit uncomfortably together in the American mind," the magazine said.

"First, that it must be scary to be a police officer in such circumstances. And second, that it is even more frightening-with an overlay of humiliation-to be the black man in the picture," Time said hitting the nail on the head.

Yet, it was "impossible to know," the fate of Slager who is being held without bail on charges of murder after the video surfaced, Time said as "it remains difficult to convict a police officer in many jurisdictions."

A recent analysis by the State newspaper, it noted had found that officers in South Carolina fired their weapons at 209 suspects from 2010 to 2015, but the handful of cops who were charged with illegal shootings were eventually exonerated.

The Slate citing the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, reported that Scott's death marks the 11th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina since the beginning of this year.

Nationwide, on average, the story of a white officer shooting a black man emerges about twice a week, the New Yorker said citing a USA Today report that about 96 African-Americans were fatally shot by police every year from 2006 to 2012.

Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the incident in which Scott was shot while fleeing from Slager after being pulled over for a broken taillight.

A dash cam video footage of the incident shows Slager talking calmly to Scott during the traffic stop.

Scott apparently says he has no insurance on the vehicle, and Slager returns to his car to do paperwork, according to CNN.

Moments later, Scott gets out of his car and bolts. A foot chase ensues.

Scott never reappears on the dash cam video, but a witness later took video of the officer shooting Scott several times in the back as he is running away.

"Nothing in this video demonstrates that the officer's life or the life of another was threatened," National Urban League President Marc Morial was quoted as saying. "The question here is whether the use of force was excessive."

SLED has stated that its investigators found troubling inconsistencies from the very start. "The cell phone video shot by a bystander confirmed our initial suspicions."

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