Before the Video:
There Was Already Evidence that Walter Scott Was Murdered by the Cop

April 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


After Walter Scott was gunned down by North Charleston, South Carolina, cop Michael Slager just after 9:30 am on April 4, the police immediately started cranking out lies to justify his murder. Just two hours later, the Charleston Post and Courier posted an article on the shooting presenting the police account—that “the dead man fought with an officer over his Taser before deadly force was employed... an altercation ensued as the men struggled over the device. Police allege that during the struggle the man gained control of the Taser and attempted to use it against the officer. The officer then resorted to his service weapon and shot him, police alleged.” Slager and other cops also claimed that they had administered CPR unsuccessfully to save Scott’s life. (For details on the initial police account of the shooting, see Charleston Post and Courier, April 4, “Man shot and killed by North Charleston police officer after traffic stop; SLED investigating,” and April 6, “Attorney: North Charleston police officer felt threatened before fatal shooting.”)

Slager was placed on “administrative duty” pending the conclusion of the whitewash... excuse us, the “investigation”... which would almost certainly have ended with him out stalking the streets again—like it happens over and over again across the U.S. when police kill people.

Then Feidin Santana, a courageous 23-year-old Dominican barber, contacted the family with cell phone video of what actually happened, and the official lies fell completely apart. Very quickly after this, the authorities did an about-face and arrested Slager, charging him with murder, and also opened a new investigation into past incidents of brutality by Slager, which they had previously covered up.

Over and over again people said that “this would never have happened without the video.” It’s true that there would almost certainly have been no indictment without the video, but let’s be clear on why that is.

It’s not that before the video came to light, there was no evidence for an indictment. In fact, almost everything the killer cop said, according to those initial media accounts, was an obvious lie, just based on the forensic evidence readily at hand:

Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off

"Yes there's a conspiracy... to get the cops off" Is a clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, given in 2003 in the United States. Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This talk, followed by questions and answers, is a wide-ranging revolutionary journey, covering many topics. It breaks down the very nature of the society we live in and how humanity has come to a time where a radically different society is possible. It is full of heart and soul, humor and seriousness; it will challenge you and set your heart and mind to flight. Watch the entire film online at

  • Slager claimed he shot Scott during a close quarters fight. Really? Did the police find powder burns on Scott, as would have happened in such an incident? No.
  • Slager claimed he was in fear for his life. But it was immediately obvious that all five shots that hit Scott entered from behind. How can an unarmed fleeing man pose a life-threatening danger?
  • Slager claimed that his Taser had been taken from him by Scott. The video showed this was a lie. But in any case, how could a Taser—which the police claim is “non-lethal”—be used as a justification for a cop shooting someone down?
  • The cops claimed they did CPR on Walter Scott—yet Scott was face down with his hands cuffed behind his back. How can anyone administer CPR on a person in that position?

If there had actually been a serious investigation, Slager should have been arrested immediately. But the reality is that cops can string together whatever bullshit they want and the “investigators” will make sure they don’t contradict it, and their higher ups will put it out in the media, and the media will report it like it is the truth. This is how the overwhelming majority of police murders of the people become “justifiable homicide.”

The video does paint an even fuller picture of the craven brutality of the police—showing them tampering with the crime scene, casually standing around while Scott is dying on the ground, and especially the cold-blooded manner in which Slager aimed at and shot down Scott. But the reason it played the key role in the cop being arrested was not because it revealed new evidence—but mainly because, by showing the public what actually happened, it prevented the police and the media from burying the evidence of murder that was already in their possession.

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