How many more times will we awake to headlines like “South Carolina Cop Fatally Shoots Fleeing Unarmed Black Man 8 Times!”? I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen more than a lifetime’s quota, and I’m not dead yet.
The only “silver lining” is the fact that the shooter cop was arrested and charged with first degree murder of Walter Scott. The only reason that happened is because an anonymous bystander videotaped the shooting.
The New York Times was given the video tape by the Scott family’s lawyer, who posted it for all to see along with the background of the story.
The shooting unfolded after Officer Slager stopped the driver of a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, according to police reports. Mr. Scott ran away, and Officer Slager chased him into a grassy lot that abuts a muffler shop. He fired his Taser, an electronic stun gun, but it did not stop Mr. Scott, according to police reports.
Moments after the struggle, Officer Slager reported on his radio: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.
But the video, which was taken by a bystander and provided to The New York Times by the Scott family’s lawyer, presents a different account. The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.
Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men, and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.
The officer then runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something up off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Mr. Scott’s body, the video shows.
But that’s not the account the killer cop told. In fact, he continued to lie about the shooting up until the video was made public yesterday afternoon.
As today’s show was in progress, I got this fascinating email from Huffington Post‘s Ryan Grim, complete with the story as it would have been written had the video no surfaced.
Sadly, we’ve seen that story reported way too often.
I tried to lighten the mood on the show today by recounting some of the things that made Rand Paul’s day a pretty bad one yesterday. He started by declaring his candidacy for the presidency, in a long and monotonous event that was ridiculed by Jon Stewart…
But that was the least of his problems!
Just minutes before Paul took the stage on Tuesday in Louisville, Ky., Paul’s account hyped his announcement on social media by rapidly retweeting people claiming to be supporters of the 2016 hopeful.
Among them, was at least one imposter.
The user @firescotch, using the hashtag #StandWithRand, sent in a photoshopped image of Holmes, the accused killer of 12 people in Aurora, Colo. in 2012.
In the altered image, Holmes bore a smile and sunglasses and held up and card that said “#StandWithRand” along with Paul’s new logo.
Oops! But there’s more!
On the Rand Paul campaign site, featured prominently was a map of the United States, complete with “supporters” pictures from around the nation. The problem is that the photos were all taken from a German photographer’s stock photo library on Shutterstock!
Here’s how the page for endorsing Rand Paul looks, complete with an endorsement map: