TIME magazine placed “Black Lives Matter” on the cover of this week’s issue, in the wake of the incident where North Charleston, S.C. cop Michael Slager shot an unarmed Black man, Walter Scott after a traffic stop.
This case isn’t the first time we’ve seen a cop kill a Black man on video, but it is the first in a long time where we’ve seen a cop get charged with murder.
These bits of knowledge add up to something catalytic in America’s painful examination of the way black men are treated by law enforcement. What happened across the fence from that video camera was the thing in its ugliest form: a man running away, an officer in no apparent danger, an unrestrained use of force. After the man was down, the officer appeared to place something–perhaps the officer’s Taser–beside the dying body. When the video surfaced three days after the April 4 killing, Slager was arrested and charged with murder, a crime punishable in South Carolina by life in prison or the death penalty.
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