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North Charleston Police
Do you think that the North Charleston Police Department has taken appropriate steps towards reform a year after the Walter Scott shooting?

Slager Acquittal Remains A Dominant Consensus
11/16/2016 6:07:46 PM

Murder trial suspect Michael Slager
By Barney Blakeney

The murder trial of Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer accused of killing Walter Scott unjustifiably after a minor traffic stop in 2015, entered its third week Monday. After a jury selection that produced 11 white members and one black member in the case of a white police officer killing an unarmed black man, many say the trial’s outcome is predictable – acquittal.
Bobby Lawrence sat in his living room Sunday afternoon enjoying a dinner of lima beans and fried chicken as his favorite NFL team Dallas Cowboys battled toward an unsure victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unprompted he extolled, “Slager’s going to get off!"
Conversations about Slager’s trial are woven into almost every aspect of life for many in Charleston since the trial began some two weeks ago. The video of Slager firing five bullets into Scott’s back as Scott ran from the officer captured the world’s attention in the wake of other high profile police killings of unarmed blacks around the country. The act, considered so blatant, led many to presume the trial would produce a guilty verdict. That confidence was shattered when the jury selection was completed at the end of the first week of the trial.

From Atlanta, Ga. Clyde Holmes predicted that Slager’s trial will produce a sentence of time served because his defense will be successful in reinforcing the concept of Scott as defiant black man who not only resisted arrest, but fought with the officer. Slager’s back-shooting Scott reinforces the widely known, and commonly accepted, practice that guarantees that a black man who fights a policeman and wins the struggle, almost certainly will be shot if he flees, Holmes said.

“It’s ‘down home justice’, Holmes explained adding, “And there won’t be any protest because the family reached a financial settlement before the case went to trial. They’ve already been paid. South Carolina isn’t going to pay them and give them justice.”

Rev. Nelson Rivers, National Action Network vice president for Religious Affairs and External Relations, said the skepticism many have about Slager’s trial producing a guilty verdict is well founded. “No white officer in South Carolina’s history has been convicted of killing a black man in the line of duty. If Slager is found guilty, he’ll be the first ever,” Rivers said.

Discriminatory police policies and practices produced Michael Slager, Rivers said. They are polices and practices steeped in the history of police relations in minority communities. It is uninterrupted history. “Why should this trial produce anything different?” Rivers asks. And he predicts that uninterrupted history will be sustained as evidenced by the jury selection.

“In South Carolina, where killing black people was almost a sport, where juries, prosecutors and judges all traditionally have been against blacks seeking justice in the courtroom, Michael Slager’s conviction would be as surprising to me as was Donald Trump’s election as president. Given the history of these cases, I have no reason to believe Slager will be convicted. I’m not optimistic, I have no minimum expectation, and I have no reason to believe that justice will be done.”

However one local attorney said while the jury selection in the Slager trial is disturbing, presiding Judge Clifton Newman, a nephew of the late esteemed clergyman, civil rights advocate and legislator Rev. I DeQuincey Newman, offers some assurance of juris prudence. The attorney, who asked anonymity, said while Newman’s presence won’t compensate for the nearly all white jury, it will serve the purpose of justice by enforcing law and procedure. He thinks the jury selection process was fair. But more importantly, he thinks the jury will return a guilty verdict.

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