After Officer Michael T. Slager was charged with murder for the killing of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina earlier today, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said he believes the case will bring validation to the many victims of police killings because “nobody wants another Ferguson.”
Speaking at the National Action Network’s annual conference in New York, Crump stated the stigma of officers “fearing for the lives” has been questioned greatly after footage of the shooting showed no struggle between Slager and Scott. Since the footage release, Slager has been charged with murder and fired from the North Charleston Police Department.
“We’re challenging the police narrative,” he told NewsOne. “This narrative that [police] use, ‘I felt threatened,’ or ‘they reached for my weapon’ and that’s how they justified killing him and now that it’s been exposed, this case will help change all that.”
The footage shot by a bystander through a fence has been viewed by people all over the country. While the same could be said for the chokehold death of Eric Garner and even photos from the Michael Brown case, Crump believes Scott’s incident will change how officers should be reprimanded and set a new tone for the state of African-Americans killed by police officers. With social media bringing light to the tragedy in Ferguson, Crump believes the police force in South Carolina is trying to stay clear of becoming the next Ferguson.
“Video helps because after it was revealed, lawmakers moved so quickly,” he said. “Nobody wants a Ferguson in their town. These mayors and the police chiefs are fully aware that if you don’t do something, [the] people will not stand idly by. I think that is the biggest message, the video tells the story. You see a police officer planting evidence next to a man he shot at least five times in the back. I pray that the system is going to work and that [Officer Michael T. Slager] is held accountable for this horrible act.”
Since the shooting, Mayor Keith Summey has ordered an additional 150 body cameras for officers, making it a requirement for them to wear at all times. Police Chief Eddie Driggers told reporters earlier today he was sickened by Slager’s actions.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty