The appalling video showing the hideous attack on Walter Scott by North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael T. Slager must spur everyone who values human rights and justice to demand an end to racial bias and excessive force in policing.
This new video, as well as others that we have seen from around the country, dramatizes the scope and depth of the problem we face. We are being pushed to the brink of a national crisis – a crisis of confidence in law enforcement, in our justice system in the rule of law. We must act quickly and decisively to restore public confidence by confronting biased policing head-on and by ensuring that there is accountability when police officers violate the sacred trust we have placed in them, and take human life in this reckless and callous way. We are gratified that South Carolina law enforcement has chosen to charge Officer Slager with murder and we will closely monitor the district attorney’s further investigation and prosecution of this case.
In response to questions about the significance of the video, Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the LDF said, “Sadly, we are confident, that without the cell phone video that contradicted the officer’s initial statement of the account, it is unlikely any charges would have been filed. We renew the call we first made last August, that the Department of Justice review the grants and other funding streams that support local police forces to require that police departments who receive federal funds require officer training on implicit bias, encounters with the mentally ill, de-escalation training and clear measures for accountability to enforce this training.”
The LDF extends its deepest condolences to the family of Walter Scott.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is not a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) although LDF was founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. Since 1957, LDF has been a completely separate organization. Please refer to us in media attributions as the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund or LDF.