North Charleston, South Carolina authorities were swift and decisive in their response to theÂ videoÂ depicting a white police officer, on duty, Â shooting an unarmed black man as he ran away. The video Â recorded byÂ Fayden SantanaÂ refutes the officers version of events. Now, we demandÂ justice!!!
The National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice Reform & Accountability (NCLEO4J)Â consists of a diverse ethnic group of veteran, retired police officers from across the nation. The NCLEO4J applauds South Carolina authorities’ quick response inÂ the arrest of Police OfficerÂ Michael Thomas Slager who was charged Â in theÂ deathÂ of, unarmed, Walter Lamer Scott, 50.Â The mayor and police chief received a cellphone video that appeared to show Scott fleeing as Slager struck five times in the back and once in the ear. CriminalÂ charges were filed less than an hour after the video had been reviewed. Currently Slager is being held without bail on a murder charge.
Now that South Carolina has taken this very important first step in arresting and charging Slager with murder, the NCLEO4J along with the Scott family and Â an outraged community demand justice and accountability.Â NCLEO4J is looking forward to an equally swift and aggressive prosecution in this case.
It would appear that Â failure, by some police agencies, to aggressively pursue prosecution of egregious acts perpetrated by police officers has created a “teflon cop” type of atmosphere. Some police officers have been shown to act with impunity when it comes to the killing of black and brown men and exacerbated by the officers Â subsequent willingness to manufacture (false) probable cause to justify that thing that we all know is unjustifiable.
When police chiefs and police commissionersÂ coddle dishonest police officers and circle the wagons to protect their police departmentÂ rather than the community to which they promised to protect (& serve) we are left to scratch our collective heads in disbelief.
What is it going to take to stop this madness?Â When are police officers who abuse their authority going to be held accountable?Â Are we as a society finally ready to require our police officers to articulate that “fear for safety” in a real and undeniable way before we just “take their word?” When police officers are proven to have falsified their stories – will we hold them personally liable? Will those officers be barred from serving as a law enforcement officer on another department? NCLEO4J hopes the answer is – yes!! These errant police officers give the profession a black eye and undermine the good deeds done daily by dedicated police officers around the world.
But for that cellphone video, Officer Slager’sÂ versionÂ Â of theÂ deadly shootingÂ would stand alone. We have seen too many times where eyewitness testimony is discounted, if you come from the wrong side of the tracks; Â victims of deadly force areÂ vilifiedÂ and the exaggerating, fabricating police officer lives to offend again as in the deaths ofÂ Mike Brown,Â Eric Garner, Â Tamir Rice, Â John Crawford IIIÂ andÂ Ezell Ford.
This latest incident in South Carolina Â is not the first time that the South Carolina authorities have demonstrated a willingness and desire to seek justice. Remember in Â September 2014, whenÂ Levar Edward JonesÂ had beenÂ stopped by a South Carolina state trooper,Â Sean M. Groubert, in Columbia Â and asked to showÂ his driver’s license?Â AsÂ Jones reached inside Â his SUV to retrieve theÂ license the SC trooper shot at him four times. Thankfully, Jones survived. Â Â GroubertÂ was fired within two weeksÂ and charged Â with felony assault and battery “of a high and aggravated nature.”
The National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform & Accountability will be watching as we continue to advocate on behalf of and with the families of victims of police brutality and deadly force. It is the intention Â of the NCLEO4J to stand in Â support of victim families, movementsÂ and legislators likeÂ Â Rep Sheila Jackson Lee , co-sponsor ofÂ the” Build Trust Act” as well as legislative research and advocacy by a group of USC students “End Racial Profiling Act 2015”.
We Â endeavor Â to end the institutional racism that shapes every part of the United States criminal justice system, and Â work to end police culture that shields abusive and criminal officers from accountability while attacking those who point out their crimes and abuses – this is the NCLEO4J mission.‹
ByÂ Cheryl Dorsey -Â Retired LAPD Sgt.