People are saying that the video exposed the cop, but he might have been charged anyway. The autopsy will show that the cop shot Scott in the back at a distance. It is hard to justify that.
But why was the black man running? What crime had he committed that made him so afraid of the cops after being pulled over for a broken tail light?
He was afraid of being jailed for unpaid child support.
Philip Greenspun writes:
Four children lost their father and a woman lost her companion when Walter Lamer Scott was shot on April 4. The Wikipedia article on Mr. Scott notes that he had been repeatedly arrested for failure to pay child support. News articles linked to by the Wikipedia posting indicate that Scott was running away from the police officer who murdered him due to fears about being incarcerated for being behind on child support.I do not agree with jailing anyone for a debt, or taking away licenses. That latter idea has spread to student loans:
How common is it for an American to be on the wrong side of the law due to our child support system and how realistic were Scott’s fears? The “Post-Divorce Litigation” chapter of our book cites some statistics indicating that roughly 1 in 7 men who are ordered to pay child support will eventually be imprisoned. As they are being imprisoned for contempt of court rather than a criminal offense they are not entitled to an attorney nor do they enjoy a presumption of innocence.
The media coverage of the event stresses the fact that Mr. Scott was in conflict with the police due to his skin color. Yet they could equally have stressed that he was in conflict with our justice system due to the fact that he had children and, for whatever reason, was not living with their custodial parent(s).
This was a sad event, obviously, but I am not sure that it must be interpreted as a black-white event.
In 22 states, defaulters can have the professional licenses they need to do their jobs suspended or revoked if they fall behind in their student loan payments, licenses for things like nursing or engineering. The percentage of Americans defaulting on their student loans has more than doubled since 2003.If you lose a judgment over a debt, your wages can be attached. That ought to be enuf.
Update: This suggests that Scott fired the taser at the cop. If so, then the cop is not as guilty as everyone thinks.
Update: The NY Times has finally picked up this story on its April 20 front page, and gotten 1000 comments.