A Tale Of Two Verdicts …

This week, two white former police officers, accused of murdering unarmed black men, had their day in court.  The cases are similar … the same abominable tale of racism and abused power … but the outcomes were very different.  The first, I first wrote about one year ago …


Reckless, Wanton and Inappropriate …  

Recap: April 4th 2015, Charleston, South Carolina.  Mr. Walter Scott was stopped at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of an auto parts store, by Charleston police officer Michael Thomas Slager for a defective brake light. The video from Slager’s dashcam shows him approaching Scott’s car, speaking to Scott, and then returning to his patrol car. Scott exited his car and fled with Slager giving chase on foot. Allegedly, Officer Slager caught up with Mr. Scott, there ensued a scuffle, Mr. Scott managed to get away, Officer Slager shot him with his taser, Mr. Scott ran, and at that point Officer Slager fired eight shots.  Five of the shots hit Scott, 3 in the back, one in the posterior, and one in the ear.

scott-slager

Former Officer Michael Slager

Later, Slager would claim that Mr. Scott took his taser.  He would also claim that Scott was coming toward him when, in fact, he was running away from him, and he claimed he feared for his life. But both of these claims were disproven by a video recording made by a passerby, Feidin Santana, that showed Mr. Scott did not have the taser, and also showed Officer Slager dropping the taser next to Scott’s body after the shooting in an attempt to plant evidence. My original post, Another Case of Injustice – The Murder of Walter Scott,  was one year ago, December 7th, 2016.

Walter-Scott-mother

Walter Scott’s mother with picture of Mr. Scott

Update:  On Thursday, the fourth day of Slager’s sentencing hearing, Judge David C. Norton said he had concluded that the killing should be considered murder for the purposes of determining Mr. Slager’s punishment. The shooting, he said, was “reckless, wanton and inappropriate.” The judge then sentenced Slager to twenty years in prison.  Score one, at last, for justice.  Even Jeff Sessions, surprisingly, was on board with this one …

“Officers who violate anyone’s rights also violate their oaths of honor, and they tarnish the names of the vast majority of officers, who do incredible work.”

It took more than two years, but finally a white officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was brought to justice.  Not so, the next story …


It happened in Maricopa County, Arizona, home of former sheriff Joe Arpaio, the law-breaking bigot about whom I have written  many times in the past.  January 2016, 26 year old Daniel Shaver, staying at the Mesa La Quinta Inn, invited two acquaintances up to his room for drinks and proceeded to show off his pellet gun, which he used in his job as a pest control worker. At that point, a couple in the hotel hot tub below reported to staff that they thought they’d seen the silhouette of a man with a rifle in a window. In response, the hotel staff promptly called police.

Joe Arpaio was still sheriff of Maricopa Country at that time, and six heavily-armed officers arrived at Mr. Shaver’s room.  One of those officers was Philip Mitchell Brailsford.  The officers proceed to Shaver’s room and order everyone out.  As they exit the room, the officers scream for Shaver and one of his guests to get on the ground …

“Apparently we have a failure for you to comprehend simple instructions, I gotta go over some of them again. If you make another mistake there is a very severe possibility that you’re both going to get shot…. I’m not here to be tactful or diplomatic with you. You listen. You obey.”

Brailsford

Former Officer Philip Brailsford

The officers then proceed to give the two civilians a convoluted series of instructions, including interlocking their fingers on their head and crossing their left and right legs, before asking them to crawl toward the officers. They take the female acquaintance out of the way. Meanwhile, Mr. Shaver, is sobbing and saying, “please don’t shoot me.” Shaver then moves his right hand downward momentarily, prompting Brailsford to shoot him several times with his AR-15.

Shaver-wife-kids

Daniel Shaver with wife and two children

I have twice watched the body-cam footage.  Brailsford was in full body gear and armed with a lethal assault weapon.  Shaver was on the ground, hands over head, being ordered to crawl down the hallway toward Brailsford.  When he took his hands off his head in an attempt to comply with the order, he was gunned down in cold blood.  The video is more than four minutes long and during the entire time, Brailsford has his finger on the trigger, at the ready, while Shaver is flat on the ground.  There can be no doubt that Brailsford fully intended to kill Shaver from the beginning. After the shooting, Brailsford had the dust cover of his AR-15 engraved with the words “You’re Fucked”.

On Thursday, Brailsford was cleared of all charges.


Two cases of unarmed black men murdered by white police officers who let their power go to their heads.  Two dead young men, but two very different outcomes for the rogue cops.  One will spend the next twenty years in prison, the other will be free to live his life in freedom, possibly even be reinstated to his former job.

murderA recent analysis in the New York Times tells of 15 hgh-profile cases of white officers murdering unarmed black men, and one … only one … faces prison time!  This, friends, is intolerable. We are told to always respect the police.  Then, they need to be held accountable so that we can respect them.

23 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Verdicts …

  1. Pingback: A Tale Of Two Verdicts … — Filosofa’s Word | Shediac1981; A Blue Wall of Silence

  2. Pingback: Filosofa Screwed UP!!! | Filosofa's Word

  3. Jill, you might want to correct:

    This week, two white former police officers, accused of murdering unarmed black men, …

    Daniel Shaver was White. Right after he was killed, his widow took to Youtube and expressed that she was not receiving support to get info about the incident because of Daniel’s race, implying that had he been Black, there would be more news coverage. She was highly upset that what had been reported demeaned her husband as deserving of death by cop.

    After meeting the city attorney, she did another video and included the audio and transcript of that meeting. They would not show her the video of her husband’s death unless she agreed to not publicly state the contents. The city attorney also told her that the media doesn’t give a “rat’s ass” about her.

    My concern in this is because folks on Twitter, (and I suspect elsewhere), are asking where is Black Lives Matter. I blog about numerous cases involving police use of excessive force, regardless of the race of the victims and the cops. When I first read about Daniel’s death in April 2016, I blogged about it based on available information.

    No family, regardless of their race, should hesitate reaching out to organizations and bloggers, when they need support for a good cause.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Xena … THANK YOU!!! You are quite right and this was a huge error on my part. My only excuse is exhaustion and a tight schedule, but neither are a good excuse. Thank you so much for catching this. I have just published a correction and apology to readers. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention … please forgive!

      Like

      • Jill,
        No need to apologize. It’s an honest mistake since we seldom read anything about cases when Whites are killed by police. Since my blog focuses on the issue, I tend to read from when cases are first reported in the media until they are resolved, regardless of how they end.

        Another common error in the Shaver incident is thinking that the cop who killed him is the one playing Simon Says with Daniel Shaver. It isn’t. The one demeaning Daniel, making him crawl in his sick Simon Says game, is Sergeant Charles Langley. After Philip Brailsford was charged, Langley retired from the force and moved to the Philippines. He testified at Brailsford’s trial saying that he would have fired on Daniel if Brailsford had not been in his line of sight.

        This means that there was not one officer disrespecting human life that day, but two.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Jill, two very different verdicts. The first is just, but I am not convinced of the second. My main question remains why must a police officer, firing at such a close range, shoot to kill. There was another one today where the police officer is six feet away and killed the assailant.

    I understand the fear of the police officer, but I ask why? It also troubles me to see an officer or officers kill with multiple shots – eight, ten ….fourteen, etc.

    I was thinking today about Bruce Springsteen’s “American Skin (41 Shots)”. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, or the one that fired multiple shots, I cannot remember how many, into a car where the man’s small child and wife were sitting, and all the man was doing was reaching for his license. I think the power goes to the heads of some, and I wonder if better psychological testing before handing them a badge and a gun might not prevent some of these tragedies?

      Like

    • Yes, you missed me being a damn idiot! You are right, and if I had bothered to look at the picture I included of Daniel Shaver, I might have noticed that he wasn’t black. This is a big Mea Culpa on my part, and I am so sorry!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Its okay. I just kbow how people can be about details. I ask my husband over and over again, “ When did the rule chane that officers were supposed to shoot to wound only if they felt they were in danger?” It is becoming terrifying to me day by day and yet the rigid right supporters have no fear or qualms about this behavior. I suppose when you believe you are ‘right’ you will alaays be right. (Which equates to ‘safe’ for them) ☹️

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks! Yes, I am a stickler for details, facts, and spend endless hours verifying and confirming … usually. I got in too big of a hurry on this one, for there is just too much going on. And certainly the police departments need to do some ‘self-policing’ and review their policies and their officers. We all need to hold them to a higher standard and hold them accountable. But, I still believe that probably 90% are honest and genuinely trying to protect the public, regardless of skin colour. Perhaps I am naive … I hope not.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    In total agreement …. ‘A recent analysis in the New York Times tells of 15 high-profile cases of white officers murdering unarmed black men, and one … only one … faces prison time! This, friends, is intolerable. We are told to always respect the police. Then, they need to be held accountable so that we can respect them.’

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I watched this last night on TYT Network. I suggest everyone listen to what Cenk had to say. It was powerful. I can not do it justice. Your report is stunning also. Things have to change. Soon we will all be prisoners to a police force that is a law unto itself. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

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