One of the more amazing issues revolving around the numerous women who have publicly charged a series of powerful men with diabolical acts of sexual violence is the willingness of a sympathetic public to lean toward believing the shocking, almost incredulous allegations. Although you can most certainly count me in that number that believes the alluded to allegations that reveal the horrors these women have experienced at the hand of powerful men, it is somewhat frightening that such allegations are akin to unflappable evidence that is not to be questioned.
Oh, how I wish that African-American men had it so easy.
Although the above assertion flows from a host of events, at this present moment the recent conviction and sentencing of Michael Slager, a disgraced North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer who a federal judge sentenced to 20 years in prison for a crime committed on April 4, 2015 is most prominently on my mind.
In the alluded to case, Judge David Norton ultimately considered Slager’s shooting of an unarmed fleeing Walter Scott a case of second-degree murder, not a lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter. Evidence presented at the trial proved that Slager fired his weapon 8 times at the fleeing and defenseless Scott, 5 of those salvos entered the victim’s body. During the sentencing, Judge Norton related that his sentencing was partially driven by the fact that Slager obstructed justice by issuing inaccurate statements to fellow law enforcement officers regarding the murder.
One is hard-pressed to find any reasonable defense for Slager whose interactions with the now deceased Scott began with him pulling the victim’s vehicle over for a broken rear brake light. If the threshold for proving one’s case were the same for African-American men as it is for the series of women who have come forth and issued shocking sexual allegations, the killing of Walter Scott would have been an open and shut case. However, as any member of Black America will tell you, things are never that easy when it comes to America and black men. Hence, I was not surprised when those who prosecuted the case related that if there had been no video evidence of the murder, charges would have never been filed against the now disgraced officer.
Unlike the series of women who have emerged and had their allegations of sexual impropriety against powerful men believed prior to verification, the threshold African-Americans in general, black males in particular, must meet when issuing any charges against “law enforcement officers” is unconscionably high. In fact, there have been many occasions where the presence of video footage of officers shooting down an unarmed and defenseless black man failed to meet that threshold.
Although it could be argued that the conviction of Michael Slager for 2nd Degree Murder is a step in the right direction, in actuality this conviction brings neither justice nor solace for Walter Scott’s loved ones. Justice would only begin at the moment that Walter Scott emerges from the grave and Slager takes his place, anything short of that is a far-cry from justice.
Unfortunately for black men, they remain the prey of rogue law enforcement officers and undervalued by an American populace who discount even video evidence regarding the misconduct of law enforcement officers. One would be hard-pressed to find a single African-American man who believes that such maligning and mistrust of the American public regarding black men is a fixture of this nation that has no expiration date. That’s just the way that it is in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017