Wednesday, April 08, 2015


As you probably know, over the weekend in North Charleston, South Carolina, a black man named Walter Scott was stopped by police for a broken taillight. The stop ended with Scott running away from a white officer, at which point he was killed with with eight shots to the back, after which the officer planted a Taser near his body so that he could subsequently report that Scott had taken it from him. The officer, Michael Slager, has been charged with murder, after a cellphone video revealed that the officer's account of this story was a lie.

I hear there's one candidate in the upcoming presidential race who cares a lot about matters like this:
Rand Paul has made criminal justice reform an important bullet on his political to-do list. He was one of the few white political leaders to speak out forcefully during last summer’s contentious debates around the subject after several unarmed black men and boys were killed during encounters with police officers. He has co-sponsored legislation in Congress to reform mandatory sentencing laws and to change policies that permanently stigmatize nonviolent juvenile offenders, which have disproportionately affected African Americans.

During his announcement speech on Tuesday, Paul again raised the issue of fairness in the criminal justice system. Video elements and speaker intros ahead of his address zeroed in on his efforts to reach out to voters in urban areas and communities of color.
Yes, Paul wrote a couple of op-eds about Ferguson, Missouri, one in which he called for the demilitarization of police forces and one in which he blamed the War on Poverty (and poor people themselves) as well as a flawed criminal justice system for the kinds of problems that led to the shooting of Michael Brown. (But hey, he said something, right?) And yes, he subsequently said that the unindicted cop who choked Eric Garner to death on Staten Island should be removed from the force.

But I wonder if he'll say anything this time. Missouri isn't a key early primary state. Neither is New York. But the Walter Scott shooting happened in South Carolina. Will he keep silent for that reason?

It may not be a concern because even some conservatives seem to be condemning Officer Slager (see, for instance, this Free Republic thread). He may think it's safe to speak. If he's the crusader for justices that much of the political world, including the liberal media, thinks he is, he'll talk about this a lot. But I expect one statement or op-ed, with plenty of on-the-other-hands, and that's it. We'll see.


UPDATE: I see that we'll hear from him soon:


Victor said...

Rand DOES SO TOO care!

"As you probably know, over the weekend in North Charleston, South Carolina, a black man named Walter Scott was stopped by police for a broken taillight."

Oh, wait!
Did you say "...a black man...?"
Never mind.........

The SC primary is too important to risk for one black man.
Or, a hundred.
Or, however many were shot by police this week...

Zandar said...

You won't hear anything from the 2016 GOP Clown Car Cavalcade about Walter Scott short of "We should wait until all the evidence is in/I'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation."

BKT said...

This one may be safe for him to speak out about, since there's clear video evidence of police wrongdoing.

I expect that's the only reason charges have been filed, too-- absent irrefutable proof of police brutality, nobody on the Right will make law enforcement overreach an issue on the campaign trail (except for haranguing against an African-American attorney general. That's still OK).

Professor Chaos said...

Of course, there was clear video evidence of Eric Garner's murder, and Tamir Rices's too and that didn't prevent the right from reflexively defending the white cops and vilifying the dead black person.