Good Cop, Bad Cop.

Michael Slager (left) and Walter Scott (right)  Images courtesy of NCPD and USCG.

Michael Slager (left) and Walter Scott (right) Images courtesy of NCPD and USCG.

Except in relatively rare cases, no one wakes up in the morning thinking that their life will end that day. No one thinks that they will end the life of someone that day either.

Yet last Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott. There is no doubt that Slager killed Scott. There is horrific video of the shooting and the aftermath. There is dashcam video that adds to the narrative as well. A second dash cam has come out now as well.

We are a society in which we are quick to judge that is what is happening here in this case. Many people are using the video of the shooting as another example of cops out of control. Some are claiming this is another example of white cops “executing” black men. Many people are saying that if you run or resist arrest, you should expect to be killed by the police. (For the record, merely running from the police does not allow them to legally shoot you.)

We don’t know what was in the mind of Walter Scott when he ran. We don’t know what was in the mind of Officer Slager as he fired the shots that killed Scott.

From the way it looks now, we have to say that things are bleak for Slager. If what shows on the video(s) is what happened during the incident, Slager should go to jail.

And rightfully so.

On the flip side of the coin, take a look at this video from a dash cam. The video is from 2013 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An officer pulls over a car and asks for identification from the passenger.

Things go downhill from there.

We would bet that when the black officer woke up that morning, he never thought he would be attacked and beaten by a mob.

Does anyone reading this post think the word of that attack didn’t go through the ranks of the Kalamazoo Police Department like lightning? How should the police react the next time they are in that same situation?

Will the police use more force? Be more aggressive?

Can anyone blame them for that attitude?

At the same time, with the Scott shooting, how should people react when they are approached by a cop? Should they be more fearful of their lives? Less friendly? Less cooperative?

We have said before and believe to still hold true that incidents like the once cited above feed into a circular path of force. The police feel they have to be more “on their guard” and will use more force.

Citizens feel they have to be more on guard for fear of their lives when dealing with police so they “push back” as well.

Round and round it goes.

There shouldn’t be “sides” here, but there are. We should all be concerned with living peaceable and having police that follow the law. Yet these types of incidents and confrontations only serve to exacerbate tensions between cops and the public. Until we all pull back from these confrontations, we are heading toward a social, moral and legal abyss that no one should want.

2 Responses to “Good Cop, Bad Cop.”

  1. Not too go too racial, but this is something that police have to deal with in Black urban areas all the time. It’s dangerous, there is a much larger issue with crime, especially violent crime, and there is a hatred of cops, no matter what color. A cop cruising a white neighborhood rarely has to deal with the same thing as when cruising through a black neighborhood.

    After awhile, officers become jaded, especially when they deal with crime pretty much all day long. Most do not see color, just criminals and potential criminals.

    Slager, though, appears to be an overzealous officer who did the Wrong Thing. Why? Perhaps he is a racist. But, we just do not know. One thing to consider is that officers usually respond in force if they think it is a stolen car, because there is a big, big concern about violence surrounding stolen cars. I heard this straight from the Raleigh PD when they came to my store over a stolen vehicle.

    • AAfterwit says:


      You may be right on being jaded. Cops have to deal with the worst in society. At the same time, being that the days of foot patrols are gone for the most part, the cops don’t interact with good people as well. It may be that there is no balance in what they see and hear.

      We don’t know what Slager was thinking, but the evidence doesn’t seem to match his being “threatened.” We have a series of videos, but we haven’t heard what the passenger in Scott’s car has said.

      One thing that people have commented on is why would Scott run? Why didn’t he just listen to Slager?

      According to several studies, 1 in 8 people incarcerated in South Carolina are there for failure to pay child support. (The actual figure is over 13%.) Scott was behind in his payments and mayhave felt that he was going to jail so he decided to run.

      I have never understood the idea of jailing people for a debt. It seems to be anathema to the foundation of the country which was against any type of “debtor’s prison.” How do people expect a person to catch up on payments when they are in jail and not able to earn an income? At the same time, far too many people earn an income but simply do not pay. It is clear that the “child support’ part of the system is broken and needs to be scrapped and reborn. In this case, it may have been a contributing factor in a man’s death.

      Thanks for commenting.

      A. Afterwit.