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“The Civil War’s Dirty Secret; It Was Always About Slavery”: Imposing Their Values On The Majority, It Was Never About States’ Rights

Seven score and ten years ago, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, and the great American Civil War ended, or so we’ve read in high school textbooks and on Wikipedia.

The chivalrous Lee, in countless hues of grey on his white horse, and the magnanimous Grant in muddy boots were icons that the reunited-by-force United States needed desperately a century and a half ago, and that we’ve cherished ever since.

But the war did not really end at Appomattox, just as it did not really begin four years before when South Carolina militias opened fire on the tiny Union garrison in the massive, unfinished fort called Sumter that dominated Charleston Harbor.

And if we want to stop and think today about what that war was about—what made it happen—then cannons, shot and shells, minié balls, muskets and swords do not, in the end, tell us very much. Brave men were called on to fight for their homes and their ideals, or because they didn’t have better sense, and, as in every war, they kept on fighting for their brothers in arms.

In the South, the spirit of camaraderie and defiance ran so hot and so deep that for generations afterwards, and to this day in some corners of the air-conditioned Sunbelt that was once the Confederacy, people will tell you about “The Lost Cause.”

But, let’s be clear. The cause of the South was not the cause of chivalry, nor was it about the revolutionary ideals of the Boston Tea Party, as many claimed at the time. “The tea has been thrown overboard; the revolution of 1860 has been initiated,” declared Charleston’s Robert Barnwell Rhett as the Carolinians prepared to secede from the Union and precipitate the war.

Rhett was one of the coterie of radicals in the South who came to be known as “fire-eaters,” and their cause was not the cause of freedom that the founding fathers fought for in the American Revolution. Their cause was slavery: holding slaves, working slaves, buying and selling slaves—black chattel considered less than human beings by custom, by the courts, and even by the Constitution, whose authors never mentioned slavery but weasel-worded it into the founding document of the Union.

According to the original U.S. Constitution, slaves, who had no rights whatsoever as citizens, would be counted as three-fifths of a person for the census that determined a state’s representation in Congress. This constitutional right—for such it was—was not one the slave-holding states were willing to give up, because they feared if they lost their disproportionate power in Washington, eventually their “right” to own other human beings to clear their land, grow their crops, and make their fortunes for them would be challenged.

The cry of “self-preservation” in the face of the federal government was “always on the lips of a Carolinian when he is about to justify an outrage connected with Slavery,” wrote the British consul in Charleston in the 1850s.

Every so often, rumors of a “servile insurrection” stirred hysterical emotions and ruthless reprisals. One plot for a slave rebellion stoked by a “free person of color” named Denmark Vesey was crushed before it even began in the 1820s, but 40 years later it still lingered like a nightmare and a prophecy in the minds of Southerners.

The notion that had existed in the early part of the century that the hideous “peculiar institution” would somehow atrophy and disappear had itself evanesced. The cotton gin, a machine separating seeds from fiber that was invented at the end of the 18th century, had made a marginal crop into a source of enormous revenues. But the cotton economy of the South was hugely rapacious. It burned out old land so that new acreage constantly had to be opened, and that was the job of slaves.

The hunger for that fresh territory and the slaves to work it was insatiable. The annexation of Texas and the subsequent war that took a huge part of Mexico in 1848 was not enough to satisfy them, because not all that territory would be slave-owning. The South and its friends in the North (like President James Buchanan) wanted Cuba, too, and many Southerners supported efforts to invade and conquer and annex more of Mexico and much of Central America.

More land, more slaves, meant more money and more power to dominate the federal government and make it support people who wanted more land, more slaves and more money. And in the 1850s a movement grew that was best defined as “rule or ruin”: if the slave-owning South could not control the federal government, then it would break away from it. The Union, as the famous headline in the Charleston Mercury declared in December 1860, would be “dissolved.”

One of the issues that the fire-eaters played on was the reopening of the slave trade with Africa that had been banned since 1808. (The Constitution had enshrined it up until that date.) By the mid-19th century, most Americans, including most Southerners, knew that the traffic had been horrific, and many understood that it was, in fact, a holocaust. It had continued to Cuba and Brazil, and stories often reached the American press of ships packed so tightly with human cargo that, as one horrified U.S. naval officer put it, there was “scarcely space to die in.”

The fire-eaters pushing for secession argued that this was not a crime at all. Slavery, as Mr. Rhett (the would-be heir to the Tea Party) put it, was “a blessing to the African race and a system of labor appointed by God.” Such men firmly believed that the world markets for the cotton that slaves produced—especially the great military powers of Britain and France—would put aside their moral qualms and support the South for the sake of its white gold.

In essence, they convinced themselves that King Cotton was the king of England. But that was not the case. The British government never did join the Confederates in their war with the Union. And without such support the agrarian Confederacy was all but doomed in its fight against the heavily industrialized and much more populous North. Only the genius of Robert E. Lee was able to keep the war going for as long as it went on.

The Ordinance of Secession and “Declaration of the Immediate Causes” drafted by South Carolina grandees intent not only on justifying their own state’s withdrawal from the Union in December 1860, but on persuading the other slave-holding states to join it, was concerned entirely and exclusively with the question of slavery. It quoted the Constitution. It cited the Declaration of Independence. But it was not about all men being created equal. And it was not about tariffs, as some have argued since. And it was not merely about the general principle of states’ rights. It was specifically about the states’ rights to enshrine slavery, pure and simple—and evil—as that was, and the obligation of the federal government to guarantee the rights of human-property owners. Since the Feds weren’t likely to do that under the new Lincoln administration in Washington, the Carolinians argued, “self-preservation” dictated secession. They were determined, come what may, to make their world safe for slavocracy.

So where did the Civil War begin and where did it end? One can pick many places, many times, but an illuminating version of the story can be built around one figure: a young red-haired fire-eater from Savannah, the heir to a huge banking and commercial fortune in the North as well as the South, named Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar.

In 1858, Lamar backed the voyage of a sleek 118-foot yacht called the Wanderer that sailed to the coast of Africa, loaded 471 Negroes on board, according to contemporary accounts, and landed weeks later on Georgia’s Jekyll Island. Roughly 370 Africans were offloaded there. The other 101 had died at sea: acceptable attrition when Negroes could be sold in the South for six, eight, ten times what they cost in the baracoons of  West Africa. Their bodies had simply been thrown overboard. (“The shark of the Atlantic is still, as he has ever been, the partner of the slave trader,” as one British editorialist put it.)

Lamar and his partners sent the Wanderer on its voyage not only to make money, but to flout the federal law. A whole generation of slave traders hauling their tortured cargo to Cuba under the American flag had proved, on the rare occasions when they were caught, that no U.S. court would convict them for what was supposed to be a capital crime. Indeed, Southern grand juries would not even indict them. And Lamar and his cronies proved that once again.

“They are rather amused at the idea of embarrassing the Federal Government, and perhaps, in a lesser degree, of annoying Great Britain,” the British consul in Charleston advised London in 1859, “but they will awake from their delusion.”  He predicted that the Democratic Party, which the slave interests had dominated, would be torn apart by the fire-eaters pushing for ever greater power, and the anti-slavery Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln, would come to power. “When this shall happen, the days of Slavery are numbered,” wrote the consul. “The prestige and power of Slave holders will be gone, never to return.”

And so it was. Lamar got what he had wished for. Most of the slave-holding states seceded from the Union, and they fought long and hard for their independence. Through much of that time, as a skilled organizer of blockade runners, Lamar not only survived but thrived. But as the Union troops of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman marched through Georgia in 1864, Lamar took up arms—and he would not put them down.

By then, it should have been obvious to all that the war was over. So desperate had the Confederates become that they even started talking about emancipating the slaves if only Britain and France would, at long last, back them. But by 1864 it was far too late for that.

On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

On April 14, 1865, Robert Anderson, who had surrendered Fort Sumter exactly four years before, raised the Union flag there once again in a ceremony intended to write a definitive end to the war. If he had had his wishes, he said, he would have done it in silence. In attendance were many former slaves who had enlisted as Union soldiers. One of the honored guests was the son of Denmark Vesey. But the event was forever overshadowed by the murder in Washington a few hours later of President Abraham Lincoln.

Still, Lamar continued to fight, stubborn and defiant as ever.

On April 16, 1865, Union and Confederate troops clashed on the outskirts of Columbus, Georgia. There are several different accounts of how Lamar died. In one that circulated among his relatives he was trying to surrender when he was shot almost by accident. But the one preferred by Erik Colonius, whose 2006 book The Wanderer is essentially a biography of Lamar, is far more dramatic:

“In a few minutes the fighting was hand to hand,” Confederate soldier Pope Barrow recalled later. “A Federal cavalryman, whose horse had been shot from under him, stepped in front of Black Cloud, the horse Col. Lamar was riding, seized the bit with his left hand, and threw up his carbine with his right, and called on Lamar to surrender. Quick as lightning, Lamar plunged his spurs into his horse’s sides and tried to run over his opponent. At that instant—as the horse reared and plunged above the soldier—he fired, and at the crack of the carbine Lamar fell lifeless to the ground.”

And so, Charlie Lamar’s war came to an end.

But there are times, and maybe today is one of those times, when one looks at the great questions of race and rights in the United States and realizes the spirit of the fire-eaters—their rationalization of racism, their contempt for the federal government, their penchant for violence, their self-deluding vision of their place in the world, and their desire to impose their values on the majority—all that, I am afraid, lives on.

 

By: Christopher Dickey, The Daily Beast, April 10, 2015

April 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil War, Slavery, States Rights | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Police Brutality In The High Desert”: You Have To Wonder How Many Other People Have Been Beaten This Way

Maybe the San Bernadino County deputies thought that when Francis Pusok rode a stolen horse into the desert he was galloping himself into a rare realm devoid of civilians with cellphone cameras.

Maybe they thought the only helicopter on the scene was the police chopper circling so low overhead as to spook the horse.

Maybe they failed to notice the NBC news helicopter hovering higher above with the kind of zoom-in camera used to record countless car chases.

Maybe they imagined they had momentarily escaped to that pre-video time when the unwritten rule seemingly everywhere in America was that if you make the cops run you are subject to a beating.

Or maybe they were just so worked up by chasing this 30-year-old alleged horse thief that they did not care who might record what.

Bad enough that Pusok had taken off in a motor vehicle when the deputies arrived at his house on Thursday morning with a search warrant arising from an identity theft investigation.

But then Pusok abandoned the car in Hesperia some 40 miles away and allegedly hopped on a horse. He rode off into a stretch of desert that until Friday was best known for a clothing-optional natural spring.

His pursuers could not keep chasing him in their squad cars and they were not likely to catch him on foot. A police helicopter picked up a team of deputies and set them down in Pusok’s path.

The police chopper then rose and banked back around, swooping low enough to alarm the horse, which had been doing Pusok’s bidding with obvious reluctance.

Upon seeing one of the choppered-in deputies angling on foot toward him, Pusok tried to veer away, but lost his balance and fell from his mount.

The deputy lost his footing at the same time, but drew a Taser as he rose. A second deputy with a Taser came running up just as Pusok was getting back up.

Pusok threw himself face down, either because of the Tasers or the realization that further flight was futile. He immediately extended both hands straight out and then quickly placed them behind his back, apparently on hearing a standard command from the deputies.

He may have imagined that instant compliance would save him from the deputies’ wrath.

That may have been so if this had been just a Throwback Thursday violation of Section 487a (a) of the California Penal Code, which covers “every person who feloniously steals, takes, carries, leads, or drives away any horse, mare, gelding, any bovine animal, any caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar.”

Pusok had committed the far graver transgression of making the deputies chase after him by car, helicopter, and finally foot in the desert heat.

The new chopper video shows that the two deputies were no sooner upon Pusok than one of them kicked him in the head. The other kicked him between his splayed legs

Both deputies then punched him again and again. Two more deputies approached. One joined in the kicking and hitting. The other patted the horse on the hindquarters to shoo it away from the pile-on.

That deputy refrained from striking Pusok, as did a fifth deputy who appeared. The fifth one happened to be black. Pusok happened to be white and, if nothing else, the continued pummeling proved that you do not have to be a person of color to be subject to police brutality, that it does not arise only from racism.

Yet another deputy strode up and joined in the beating. The deputy with the horse held the reins and gently patted the animal, comforting it.

A ninth deputy came up when everything seemed to be over. He then began repeatedly kicking Pusok, making it a total of seven deputies to assault the prone prisoner with 17 kicks and 41 punches.

None of the nine deputies appeared to look up and the clattering of the police chopper may well have masked that of the news helicopter. The deputies may have had no idea that this would not be just another arrest.

They certainly learned otherwise when NBC News aired the video, which then flashed through cyber space via YouTube. San Bernadino Sheriff John McMahon announced on Friday that he was putting 10 deputies—including a sergeant and a detective—on leave. Those who did not actually strike Pusok will apparently have to explain why they did nothing to stop the beating.

“I am disturbed and troubled by what I see,” McMahon told the press. “It does not appear to be in line with our policies and procedures.”

Pusok had been taken to a local hospital, charged with felony reckless driving and horse theft. He had a previous record that included shooting a dog, threatening his girlfriend, possessing a firearm while a felon, and kicking out the window of a radio car after he was placed in arrest.

The fact that Pusok had once shot a dog might leave people more inclined to think he deserved a beating than if he had shot a person.

But this particular run-in with the deputies involved only a horse. And, however gentle one of the deputies was with the creature, that seems to have had nothing to do with the beating.

The department is already under federal investigation for alleged brutality at the county detention facility. And a San Bernadino deputy was convicted of assault last year for repeatedly kicking a handcuffed man in the chest and groin.

“Oooh, that had to hurt,” the deputy said with a laugh, according to court documents. “You’re gonna (expletive) hurt in the morning.”

Now seven deputies may well find themselves charged with a gang assault that has the look of a ritual formed in the days before video.

You have to wonder how many other people were beaten this way and left with only their word against that of the deputies.

Just as the video from South Carolina makes you wonder how many unarmed fleeing people were shot by a cop who afterward insisted he fired only because he feared for his life.

Had there been no video in the San Bernadino beating, the deputies could have just said that Pusok fell off the horse.

As for Pusok, he should give thanks he was not back in time all the way to the days when horse thieves were just hanged from the nearest tree.

 

By: Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, April 10, 2015

April 12, 2015 Posted by | Law Enforcement, Police Abuse, Police Brutality | , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Truly Extraordinary Record Of Being Wrong”: In-Demand GOP Economist Says Kansas ‘Is Doing Fine’

The first big hint that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) was pursuing a dangerous economic course was when he hired economist Arthur Laffer to help shape the plan. Laffer, of course, rose to GOP prominence in the 1980s pushing the celebrated-but-wrong idea that tax cuts can pay for themselves.

The Washington Post profiles the conservative economist today and notes that his influence has not waned, despite the real-world effects of his policies. In fact, Laffer is evidently a go-to source for many of this year’s Republican presidential candidates.

No one has influenced Republican candidates’ thinking on the economy for the past four decades as much as Laffer, who is now 75. Laffer says he believes that limiting government and cutting tax rates, especially the rate levied on top earners, will unleash faster economic growth. Since he sold then-candidate Ronald Reagan on that prescription, every Republican presidential nominee has run on a Laffer-inspired economic platform.

As the 2016 GOP primary season takes off, Laffer is more in demand than ever before, with Republican candidates embracing tax-cut-for-the-rich policies even as they bemoan economic inequality. Candidates have been meeting with him in recent weeks, and on Friday in Nashville, he says, his schedule includes Rick Perry at 10 a.m., Ben Carson at noon, Jeb Bush at 1:15 p.m. and Bobby Jindal at 5. Dinner is scheduled with Ted Cruz. He has already met at least once with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

And this does not include the meeting Laffer has already had with Rand Paul, who asked him to look over a tax-cut plan the Kentucky Republican likes.

The conversation turned to Brownback’s radical experiment, and the Post’s article added this gem: “ ‘Kansas,’ Laffer declared over a five-hour lunch interview in Washington, ‘is doing fine.’”

“Fine,” I suppose, is a relative term. For those of us who care about the details, the economic plan Laffer created for Kansas has resulted in debt downgrades, weak growth, and state finances in shambles. It’s reached the point in which two Kansas public school districts are wrapping up the school year early because they don’t have the money needed to finish a full school year.

“Fine” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind.

Paul Krugman added some helpful context to Laffer’s record.

Since the 1970s there have been four big changes in the effective tax rate on the top 1 percent: the Reagan cut, the Clinton hike, the Bush cut, and the Obama hike. Republicans are fixated on the boom that followed the 1981 tax cut (which had much more to do with monetary policy, but never mind). But they predicted dire effects from the Clinton hike; instead we had a boom that eclipsed Reagan’s. They predicted wonderful things from the Bush tax cuts; instead we got an unimpressive expansion followed by a devastating crash. And they predicted terrible things from the tax rise after Obama’s reelection; instead we got the best job growth since 1999.

And when I say “they predicted”, I especially mean Laffer himself, who has a truly extraordinary record of being wrong at crucial turning points. As Bruce Bartlett pointed out a few years ago, Laffer was even wrong during the Reagan years: he predicted that the Reagan tax hikes of 1982, which partially reversed earlier cuts, would cripple the economy; “morning in America” promptly followed. Oh, and let’s not forget his 2009 warnings about soaring interest rates and inflation.

Looking ahead, Krugman added the broader question is “why this always-wrong economic doctrine now has a stronger grip on the GOP than ever before.” That need not be a rhetorical question. Indeed, it should matter quite a bit to the voting public given that so many Republican presidential hopefuls – including the entire current top tier – are eager to bring their economic plans in line with Laffer’s discredited thinking.

Or put another way, a wide variety of national GOP candidates are looking at recent developments in Kansas and thinking, “How can I impose this model on the entire United States?”

It’s a bit like turning to discredited neoconservatives for guidance on foreign policy and national security. Oh wait….

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 10, 2015

April 12, 2015 Posted by | Arthur Laffer, Kansas, Sam Brownback | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Peace Rather Than War”: If Chuck Schumer Kills The Iran Nuclear Deal, He Should Not Be Senate Minority Leader

The framework for the Iranian nuclear deal is about as good as anyone could reasonably expect. If it were solely up to the negotiators, it would likely be finalized in June. But they are not the only players, and it’s become clear that the biggest danger to the deal are hawks in Iran and the U.S.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) is threatening action that may destroy the bargain, while Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is doing the same. Iran is out of the U.S.’s control — but Democrats can hold Schumer to account. If he destroys the Iran deal, he must not be allowed to become Senate minority leader, a position that was basically bequeathed to him by outgoing Minority Leader Harry Reid.

On the Iranian side, Khamenei said out of the blue this week that any deal must include the immediate lifting of all sanctions and prevent foreign inspectors from visiting military sites, two demands that could blow up the tentative framework negotiated in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, there’s good reason to believe Khamenei is positioning for domestic hardliners. The Lausanne framework provides for the lifting of a big chunk of current sanctions, while keeping others related to Iran’s support for Hezbollah. Khamenei, in other words, could squirrel out of his seemingly tough demands if he wanted.

At any rate, if Khamenei really does want to blow up the deal, there’s no stopping him. Iran will either accept the deal or it won’t. If not, it’s really Khamenei’s loss.

That brings us to Schumer. He has announced his support for a Senate bill sponsored by Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee that would require congressional approval for any final deal with Iran. Since a veto by President Obama is certain, Republicans will need Democratic support to override it. Schumer, as the Senate minority leader heir-apparent, is sending a clear signal to Democrats that betraying the president is fine, while undermining arguments that the Corker bill is a mere exercise in partisanship.

The fact that Schumer is even daring to try this is surely evidence of the continuing weakness of the Democratic Party’s anti-war faction. Even Elizabeth Warren isn’t particularly anti-war.

However, pro-war Democrats have consistently underestimated the long-term political danger behind such casual aggressiveness. Just like Cory Booker, Schumer appears to have forgotten that voting for the Iraq War is the reason Hillary Clinton is not president today.

Many good old liberals were absolutely furious with the whole Democratic establishment for voting for Bush’s war of aggression and getting something like half a million people killed for no reason. They’re not so agitated at the moment, but if Schumer shanks what may be the last best hope at a deal before President Bush III takes the nation on another jolly Middle East crusade, then he will face an enormous backlash. And it should cost him the job he covets so badly.

According to Matt Yglesias, a former Schumer intern, the senator is a “really sincere and committed Israel hawk,” and sees himself as dedicated to protecting Israel’s security. If that is his motivation, it might be possible to convince Schumer that this Iran bargain is actually in Israel’s long-term interests. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thought the Iraq War would be a swell development for Israel, and it turned out to be an epic strategic disaster instead. Chances are that he’s wrong about this one, too, like he is about everything else.

But if Schumer can’t see reason, then someone else should be Senate minority leader — preferably someone who is more interested in peace than war.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, April 10, 2015

April 12, 2015 Posted by | Chuck Schumer, Foreign Policy, Iran | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Lonesome Death Of Walter Scott”: Why Michael Thomas Slager Should Share The Blame

Soon after video recorded by Feidin Santana showing officer Michael Thomas Slager killing Walter Scott went public, Ed Driggers, the chief of the North Charleston, South Carolina, police force where Slager was once employed, spoke to the press. Like an increasing number of law enforcement officials as of late, Driggers found himself suddenly thrust into the media spotlight, tasked with explaining to an outraged nation why one of his officers used deadly force against an unarmed African-American, a 50-year-old father of four, who posed no threat.

But although Driggers’ public appearance was, on a superficial level, all too reminiscent of what we recently saw in places as disparate as Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; Staten Island, New York; and Los Angeles, California, the substance was different. Because rather than mount a defense of officer Slager — who repeatedly claimed that he shot Scott only after a routine stop over a busted taillight led to physical altercation, one during which he feared for his life — Driggers buried him instead. “I have watched the video and I was sickened by what I saw,” he said. “And I have not watched it since.”

What a difference a smartphone can make. As Judd Legum of Think Progress has noted, if not for the remarkably brave Santana, who used his smartphone to record the final moments of Scott’s life, the only version of the story the world would know is the version Slager told. Which, in plain language, was a monstrous lie. There’s no evidence that Scott tried to use Slager’s taser against him, as the officer claimed; the only reason it was found near the dead man’s body, it appears, is because that’s where Slager put it. And contrary to what Slager said in the official incident report, he never feared for his personal safety; as he pumps Scott’s back full of bullets he is calm, cool and collected.

According to the work of one local reporter, Slager’s neighbors didn’t suspect him of being especially malevolent or inclined toward violence. To them, he seemed normal — even nice. Driggers responded with a similar mix of sadness and bewilderment. “I want to believe in my heart of hearts that it was a tragic set of events after a traffic stop,” Driggers said on CNN. “I always look for the good in folks,” he continued, “and so I would hope that nobody would ever do something like that.” Keith Summey, the town’s mayor, was also fatalistic: “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” he told the press. “And if you make a bad decision … you have to live by that decision.”

Neither man was interested in damning Slager; and considering he is now facing charges for murder, that’s probably for the best. But both men went further than simply biting their tongues; they made a point of distancing Slager’s behavior from that of the overall North Charleston police force, too. “The one does not totally throw a blanket across the many,” Driggers said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The mayor and he noted that the NCPD is composed of more than 340 officers. The video traveling all over the world was hideous, no doubt. But it told us nothing of the overall law enforcement system; it was merely a single man making a horrible, horrible mistake.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, because Slager is not the only officer seen in the video. After Scott had fallen to the ground, prostrate and bleeding, and after Slager had barked at him to put his hands behind his back (so he could handcuff him before he lost the ability to move his arms), officer Clarence Habersham, who is African-American, arrives at the scene. His body language, like Scott’s, indicates this was not the first time he’d come upon such a scene. He seems unperturbed as he kneels down to check Scott’s pulse. He makes no real attempt to save the back-shot man’s life. And that’s understandable, really; Scott was likely already dead.

We don’t know yet what exactly transpired between Slager, Habersham, or the third, Caucasian one who joins them later. We don’t know how much they knew, and we don’t know when they knew it. What we do know, though, is plenty. We know that the police department of North Charleston was content to treat Slager’s story as fact; and we know that this was not the first time a member of the force had engaged in acts that we’d otherwise describe as thuggery. We know that in the past five years, police officers in South Carolina have used their guns against 209 human beings; and we know that they were exonerated of wrongdoing every single time.

Lastly, we know that Walter Scott — a father, brother, cousin and veteran; a man who loved to joke and loved to dance, and who was known as the extrovert of his family — died after being shot multiple times when his back was turned. And we know that if he lived long enough to be conscious as Slager tightened the cuffs around each of his wrists, he spent his final moments on this Earth alone, and enchained.

 

By: Elias Isquith, Salon, April 9, 2015

April 12, 2015 Posted by | Michael Thomas Slager, Police Abuse, Walter Scott | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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