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by Peter Moskos

April 10, 2015

"This one is different"

An op-ed of mine to appear in Sunday's Washington Post:
This one is different.

Walter Scott was killed — shot multiple times in the back — by North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael Slager last weekend. Scott, already running away, was no threat to the officer when the first shot was fired. He was even less of a threat when Slager paused and fired the eighth and final round.

To non-police, Scott’s death may look familiar: Not even a year after Eric Garner died during an arrest in Staten Island, N.Y., and Michael Brown died in a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., here was another black man killed by police.

But to law enforcement officers observing the North Charleston tragedy, the case is nothing like “another Ferguson” — and that’s where the police perspective and the civilian perspective on these events diverge.
Click through to keep reading.


Anonymous said...

I read the whole thing, and thanks. What I don't see addressed is motivation, which has to be the cop's anger at being thwarted. As a person who has spent some small time in adversarial situations, I'm truly grateful that I was never burdened with a Glock and the presumption of righteousness most cops must feel.

campbell said...

Have you seen the San Bernardino beating? Not fatal but man, another one for the old cringe file. Thanks a lot there deputies.


Moskos said...

I still can't get over they were chasing a man on horseback.

California police shoot a lot more people than police in New York or Jersey. A lot more. Like five times as many. I have a post on it soon.

But there seems to be something very different out there going on.

Moskos said...

I can't delve into the the cop's mind. Maybe he's an otherwise wonderful person. Maybe he's a psychopath. I don't know.

But yeah, I'm sure at least one thought went through his mind, "this motherfucking isn't getting away." He didn't. And now the cop in jail charged with murder.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this one is different. Everything is the same except that circumstances (including the existence of the video) dictate prosecution. This one is very similar to many other "justified" shootings; it just turned out different for the cop.