As I watched the jury foreman declare a mistrial in the death of Mr. Walter Scott, disappointing and angry feelings conjured within me. My heart grieved, for what I believed would be the outcome of this trial…Guilty! Yet, that was not so.
When I first viewed the video of the murder of Mr. Scott in 2015, there was no doubt in my mind, that the officer would be charged, go to trial, and there would be an immediate verdict of guilty. This was going to be an open and shut case. I believed the video was enough, clearly showing Mr. Scott, running, not toward the police officer, but away, in the opposite direction. Millions of people watched on the news and on social media, how the police officer savagely shot a man several times in his back, who was running away from him. A further look of that same video showed the officer picking up an object, and dropping it near the body of Mr. Walter Scott, who he had just murdered, a calculated attempt to cover his actions.
The day I watched the murder, I sat crying at the audacity of the police officer to kill a man who was not attacking him or using deadly force. Yet, there was a feeling of thankfulness within me, that there was a man in the right place at the right time with his cellphone to capture this act of malice on video as evidence of murder.
Yet, today, as I watched the courtroom recording of the jury foreman declaring a mistrial, there was a familiar feeling in my heart. It is one that I remembered 24 years ago, when I waited with others for a guilty verdict for the police officers that savagely beat Rodney King. I just knew then, that the video was enough to convict those officers. Just like the video of Mr. Scott’s death, I was grateful for the recorded evidence, showing the beating to convict those officers. I believed that that video was all that was needed. It was going to be an open and shut case. However, as we know it was not. Just as it was in 1992, my heart is once again broken. And I now realize that just like then, even a video, showing an unarmed man, shot in his back, was not enough to convict, Michael Slager of killing Mr. Walter Scott.