Stop Me If You've Heard This Before: Cop Shoots and Kills Unarmed Black Man...


At this point it isn't even a broken record. It's more like a Vine that's been shared around by every single person that you know, who has then shared it with every person that they know. It's a Vine so ubiquitous that you don't even need to see it to know what happens. Because you've seen it before. And you know that at some juncture, you'll see it again because that's how ubiquitous shit works. It never goes away; it takes a break until it gets some more time to shine.

And in this Vine that's become all too familiar, unfortunately…cops gon' cop. Yeah, I know. There are good cops. There are cops out here getting cats out of trees and helping women across finish lines who have just lost lots of weight and then run marathons.  We see you, sir. But it's too little too late. It feels like a PR move. Like police officers and their public relations departments are lying in wait looking for any opportunity to do damage control by hugging, helping, or saying hello to a minority on camera. Because there are always cameras. Which seems to get lost on police officers. They know they're present (and by they, I mean the cameras) when they're trying to catch national attention for doing something nice. So why wouldn't they think they're on tape when they're fucking up? Especially when we're all LOOKING to catch a cop via our collective newfound hobby of criminal justice social media photography. That was quite the stacked noun.


Also, isn't it amazing how much of a story it is when a cop does something nice? Ten extra points if its to a minority. Actually, we're only going to hear about it if a cop helps a minority. It's that double standard and PR nightmare shit. I'm sure cops are out here regularly in tiny towns in Ohio just living their lives and doing mundane ordinary shit like telling Ms. Susie Mae that she can't go taking her sister's social security check just because she owes her $20 from that night they binged at the casino. In a good life, cops are like referees in a basketball game. They fade into the fabric of the atmosphere; not good, not bad, just there because you need referees. Shit just goes how it's supposed to and nobody knows their name. That's a good night for a ref; they have one job and they officiate without pissing off everybody. Unfortunately in this current game of life, we're learning all of the police officer's names.

Officer Michael Slager, you're on the clock.

Amazingly, I've gotten this far in and am just now talking about what spurred these words and you ALREADY know what happened even if you didn't have the details. I'd bet that you could guess what happened and be at least 75 percent right if somebody told you, damn…they got another Black man.


In North Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday, a traffic stop gone awry resulted in a Black man, Walter Scott, age 50, losing his life to police officer, Michael Slager, 33, who has been charged with murder. I'm too cynical to believe that DESPITE the video footage that completely contradicts his claim of "feeling endangered" that he'll go to jail. In this video, Walter Scott is clearly and beyond the shadow of a doubt running AWAY from Officer Slager who unloads on him, shooting at him at eight times.

Let's talk about feeling endangered. I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, but young nigga preach and all. If somebody is running away from you, you know, using their two feet in rapid motion to get as far away from you as possible, how do YOU manage to fear for your life? It stands to reason that the person doing the running is in fear. The officer in the video doesn't look like he was tussling with him - though he claims that Walter Scott took his taser from him - he looks like Mr. Scott was trying to get the fuck out of dodge. He was shot in his back for goodness sake.


I know we all want justice in these cases. I do wonder how many of us feel we ever will get justice. Honestly, I'm not even sure what justice looks like. While I'm not actively afraid of the police, I do think that should I get into an encounter with police I would fear for my life. I've felt that way before. While I tend to disagree with Isaiah Washington's "adapt" mentality - it's dumb to limit your own life's freedom because other's can't get their shit together, though I do understand what he was getting at even if it is misguided - I won't pretend that I haven't noticed how less frequently I deal with police since I got rid of my Dodge Magnum and got a Hyundai Sonata (I got it for the gas mileage, I was damn near living at the gas station while watching people in Priuses drive by smiling and probably talking about the fun things they were going to do with all of the money they were saving while I read War & Peace at the pump every two or three days). I got pulled over by police for Driving While Black - and I mean this in the most literal way possible considering the lines of questioning I was subject to upon being stopped - at least once every three months it seemed while I had that car and never got a single ticket.

Point is, I deal with police a lot less frequently and I sleep a little easier at night. Oh, justice. Ultimately, I'd want the entire system reformed, but that's like pissing in the wind. Sure it sounds great, but there's a really good chance you pay for it via dry cleaning and trying to explain yellow clothing to the people claiming to use organic chemicals to clean my clothing and justify the $3.99 button-up shirt charge.


Walter Scott's story is a sad one and another reminder that there's a war going on outside that no Black man is safe from. There will undoubtedly be people who say that if he didn't run he'd still be alive. Maybe. Maybe not. But in almost every case we've seen or heard that there was an aggressor in the form of the dead victim. What do you call a man shot in the back trying to run away from the confrontation? Oh yeah, still a victim.

At least he was charged with murder. Again, my cynicism thinks it will go no further than that. What do you have to hold onto when you even what you see may not even count as factual.


(Another) Man down. Thank God #blackgirlsrock or hope would be really hard to come by sometimes.

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About the author

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.