Saturday, April 11, 2015
More Dirty Rotten Stinking US Cops - US Cops are killing 70 times more people than any other First World Country
Walter Scott: large crowd attends funeral of man shot by police officer Pastor tells mourners North Charleston man died because of ‘overt racism’
A large crowd gathered on Saturday for the funeral of Walter Scott, the 50-year-old black man who died after being shot in the back by a white police officer in South Carolina – an incident that put the North Charleston police department’s rocky relationship with the African American community on the national stage.
Scott was killed a week ago, after being stopped by police officer Michael Slager, who said Scott’s car had a broken brake light. A video released on Tuesday showed Slager shooting eight bullets at Scott, who was running away. The stark image strayed from Slager’s claim that Scott had “tried to overpower him”.
Scott’s funeral, which was open to the public, began at 11am ET at the city of Summerville’s Word Ministries Christian Center, the venue chosen by Scott’s family, who worship there every Sunday.
The hall quickly reached capacity, leaving around 100 mourners outside. The rain began to beat down and many, dressed in their Sunday best, took refuge under the porch. Some spilled out and stood under umbrellas. One mourner, Lawrence Gordon, said he had come to the church because “I have kids too and I am a concerned parent and a concerned citizen and I feel everyone should get involved … not only for this family, but for the shooter’s family also, because they were blindsided too. No one saw this coming, this tragedy.
“I am so sorry that this had to happen this way,” he continued. “But I hope that this can close the gap between the police department and the communities, that they can learn to recognise each other as citizens. I’m hoping and praying that it doesn’t happen again.” The video of the shooting of Scott was captured on an iPhone by Feidin Santana, a local man who was walking to work at the time.
“I thank God for that young man that God put in place to highlight that tape,” Gordon said. “If it wasn’t for that, this wouldn’t have happened today.”
Gordon’s words were echoed inside the church by pastor George Hamilton, who told mourners Scott’s death was the result of “overt racism” and added: “Keep your phone handy; keep your charge up. You never know when you need to be around.”
Outside, another mourner, who said he had been a neighbour of the Scott family for 13 years, gave his name only as Rodney. He said: “He was a good guy, wonderful; we never had no problems. We looked after each other in the neighbourhood. This should never have happened to him. “As a father, I know what his dad and his mother are going through. I lost my son. Just to see something like this happen, I’m glad that he made real history, to show everybody you just can’t treat people like that.”
Other churches in the region held vigils and other services. In downtown North Charleston on Friday, a public viewing was held at the Fielding Funeral Home. A handful of police officers were stationed for crowd control purposes, but the stream of family, friends and community members was calm.
Brittany Williams, a stay at home mom, said Scott was engaged to the grandmother of her child. She had never met him, but said he was known as “a big, friendly man”. She had come to the vigil with friends, including Desiree Dickerson, who also had not met Scott. Both women said they came because they believed Scott should not have died the way he did.
“We came out to show our respect,” Dickerson said. Events were scheduled through the weekend. The North Charleston United Methodist Churches were due to host a prayer vigil and walk, beginning at the scene of the shooting, on Saturday evening. The North Charleston campus of Seacoast Church said it would hold a vigil the following night. Protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement – which arose nationwide after a number of deaths of black men at the hands of police officers last year – said they would not demonstrate on Saturday, out of respect for the family.
Friday night, however, saw the expiration of a deadline such protesters set for the city council to respond to their demands. Demonstrators had asked for the city to create a citizen’s review board with subpoena powers, and have asked that the government agree to call an emergency meeting to discuss the creation of such a group.
Because the city has not responded, more peaceful demonstrations are planned.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SCLED) is investigating the shooting. Its chief said on Thursday that it had raised concerns about what its officers had seen at the scene. “We believed early on that there was something not right about what happened in that encounter,” Mark Keel said in a statement.
Scott’s family has said that he may have run from the officer because of the thousands of dollars he owed in child support. He referenced some of those missed payments in a 2003 article with local newspaper the Post and Courier.
“I got mad at everybody in the whole world because I just lost the best job I ever had,” Scott said at the time. “I just stopped doing everything. I just closed myself into a little shell and started doing things I shouldn’t have been doing.” He was interviewed as part of a story about a program meant to help fathers who had missed child support payments, called Father to Father. Whether there was a warrant out for Scott’s arrest and how much he owed in child support both remain unclear.
Slager has been fired from the force, and charged with murder. He is being held at Charleston County Detention Center. The North Charleston police department said it would continue providing his family with health insurance until after his wife, who is eight months pregnant, gives birth.