Police officers are given the right to apply force in a given situation, even if it results in a person dying. But, there is a procedure and a protocol that must be followed by each police officer before one can shoot his or her weapon or apply force to a potential suspect. When an officer fails to do this, it is considered a crime in and of itself, and that officer should reap the consequences they deserve for the crime they have committed. Unfortunately, many walk free, never having to look back at the malicious act they committed. But, it is time for change and time for officers of the law who apply excessive force to serve the consequences they deserve.
In this article, we are focusing on the case involving former North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager. He is one of the many officers who has had to take the stand in a courtroom and submit a plea as to whether or not he committed a crime. Slager has been accused of applying excessive force after killing Walter Scott, 50, who was fleeing from a traffic stop. According to Slager, he felt his life was in danger when Scott reached for his stun gun, however, the entire incident was recorded on a bystander’s cellphone, and he saw something far different from the story Slager has provided.
According to Feidin Santana who captured the disturbing act, he testified and stated that “he never saw Scott try to assault Slager, charge at him or reach for his stun gun,” as highlighted by Reuters. While prosecutors have collected the evidence they needed, including this witness statement, they believe Slager’s actions constitute as second-degree murder which is punishable by life in prison. Slager’s defense attorneys felt his underlying offense was voluntary manslaughter, which is punishable by 10 to 13 years in prison.
While Slager admits that he was fearful for his life, this sounds more like a case of police brutality, which may have been driven by racism. Given that Scott was fleeing, which means his back was already towards the officer, why was he shot at eight times? Scott was found with five shots in the back, not to mention he was unarmed. While prosecutors did agree to drop other federal charges and a pending state murder charge, the state trial last fall ended with a hung jury. Now, a judge is expected to weigh in on the sentence.
“Convictions of U.S. police officers charged in on-duty fatal shootings are rare.”
Reuters also pointed this out in their recent publication and it only brings more attention to that fact that officers of the law should be treated as any other citizen would when they commit a crime of their own. But, the only way to do this is to continue to push for more harsher penalties and for those affected by police misconduct to bring their case forward.
If you were recently mistreated by a law enforcement officer, USAttorneys.com wants to help you locate a nearby police brutality attorney who can represent you and help initiate a case so that the department or the officer themselves doesn’t just walk away.