The Murder of Walter Scott, by Michael Slate

The Murder of Walter Scott

By Michael Slate

Walter Scott police killing     They’ve done it again. And I’ve watched the video over and over and over again until my face is wet with tears and my head is pounding in anger. How the fuck do you wrap your head around this? I watch as a Black man, Walter Scott, is executed because he was stopped by a cop for driving a car with a bad brake light. He argues with the cop for a minute and runs across a field in South Carolina, his arms moving like he’s jogging. He’s running away from a cop, a predator, who watches Walter run away from him and calmly raises his arm and takes aim before firing off 8 bullets. He stands there shooting like he was shooting at mechanical ducks in a carnival. Walter runs away, his back to the beast. Five bullets slam into his body, three rip open his back, one sinks deep into his buttocks and another hits his ear. Walter Scott, who once had his picture taken in his Coast Guard uniform, Walter Scott, a man in his 50’s who liked music and singing and the Dallas Cowboys, fell to his knees for an instant before his face hit the ground. Walter’s warm blood was leaking out of his body as his killer surveyed his prey and then walked up and handcuffed Walter Scott’s hands behind his back. And then this cop, this homicidal pig, nonchalantly walked back to where he started shooting at Walter, bent down, picked something small and black up off of the ground and then walked back to Walter’s body where he dropped it nearby. Was it his Taser? The same Taser he said Walter Scott had stolen from him.

We know how it goes. Was the cop getting his ducks in a row? Was he getting his story straight? And then the cop told his story. We all know how it goes. An angry Black man started a scuffle after being pulled over for a bad brake light. The angry Black man stole the cop’s Taser and the cop feared for his life. The angry Black man ran away from the cop and the cop feared for his life. The angry Black man kept running away and the cop shot him down. The angry Black man faltered, fell to his knees and then face down onto the ground. Did the pig smirk as he looked at Walter’s lifeless body and watched his blood turn the dirt into mud. Did he breathe a sigh of relief, confidant that no one would question his right to kill an angry Black man who made him fear for his life.

“Oh Shit, Oh Shit, Shit” – 5 words that changed everything. See, there was a guy standing behind the trees and he had a cell phone. And he filmed what went down from beginning to end. As the cop started shooting at Walter the cell phone videographer knew what he had was important and he kept on filming to the very end, capturing the initial confrontation, the murder and the cop picking up something small and black placing it near Walter’s dead body. When it was all over he brought the video to Walter’s family.

Walter’s father watched the video. Was there a moment when seeing the video of Walter running reminded him of one happy day when Walter ran like the wind and carried a football across a goal line, only to see his son shot down “like a deer” seconds later. Walter’s mom said watching the video “tore her heart to pieces.” Was there a moment before she saw Walter fall down dead that she remembered wiping away the tears of a five year old boy as she rubbed his aching legs at night telling him that it was just “growing pains”. Did her heart crack into a thousand pieces as she realized that Walter wouldn’t be growing any more and did she even consider that perhaps the police thought Walter had grown too much already. When Walter’s brothers watched the part that shows him running did they flash back to those early days when as boys they ran as fast as they could across South Carolina fields flapping their arms up and down, hoping against hope that one day they would fly, so high, and be free. And as they watched Walters blood sink down into the dirt did they think of the many thousands of other Black people whose blood nurtured the same soil going all the way back to the days of slavery. Enough is fucking enough!

In the end, Walter’s family bravely demanded the truth be known. They turned the video over to the press and suddenly everything got stood on its head. The cop was exposed as a lying killer, fired from his job and charged with murder. And right away, the press, TV news anchors, police chiefs and government official started saying this time everything is different — after all there is a video and no one can deny what it shows. Look, there’s no doubt that without that video Walter Scott would have been what his killer called him, an angry Black man who made a cop fear for his life. And we should think about that every time we hear a murdering cop explain that he had to kill because his victim was “reaching for his gun” or lunging at him in a threatening way.

We’ve heard this before. There were plenty of cell phone videos and eyewitnesses to the police assassinations of Oscar Grant, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, to name just a few of the recent murders. And cops are rarely indicted let alone convicted. Even when cops are convicted of murdering our people and our youth, they get off easy instead of just straight up getting off. This system – with all of its politicians, judges, newspapers and cops – will not suddenly see the light and mend its ways. This system has enforced and thrived on the most inhuman oppression of Black people for hundreds of years. And now, when it no longer needs Black and Brown people, the system uses the cops to bring down a genocidal program against them. And no video is gonna change that.

I’ve written about police murders of Black and Brown people all over this country for about 35 years. My heart has been crushed over and over as I listened to the stories people told me about the way the police assassinated their loved ones. My brain has been set on fire. It never stops. And goddam, it has to end. It’s time is up! As I watch the video again and over again, it’s like a kaleidoscope is spinning in my head, flashing image after image of savage oppression carried out against Black people over hundreds of years. It builds up and drops down into my mouth and I want to scream No More! Time is Up! We cannot stand by and allow this system to continue crushing the lives of our people. It’s time to put an end to all this suffering. It’s time to put an end to a system that has thrived off of and enforced an unparalleled barbarism against our people for way too long. It’s time has long since come.

The video of Walter Scott being murdered by a North Charleston, South Carolina cop and the truth it tells can help things be different in a way that really matters right now. The truth it lays bare can help mark the day when thousands and thousands of us decide that this genocide has to stop and we are the ones to stop it. It can help spur many thousands of us to go out into the streets on April 14th in cities all over the country and shut this fucker down! Our youth don’t go to school on that day, our people don’t go to work and the entire murderous routine of this society is brought to a standstill. Yeah, I’ve written about police murdering and abusing our people for 35 years but my heart has never hardened and I yearn for the day we end these crimes and the system that spawns them. And I’m gonna be in the streets on April 14th – from can’t see to can’t see. Hope to see you standing next to me.

Michael Slate Show 3/27: Andy Zee and Annie Day, “Revolution and Religion,” Theresa Chavez and Rose Portillo, “Properties of Silence”

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An interview with Andy Zee, of Revolution Books and the co-director of the upcoming film, “Revolution and Religion: the Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; a Film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian,” and Annie Day, of the Bob Avakian Institute who also co-produced the film. They discuss the historic significance of this film and give a flavor of why people should come out across the country to theatrical premieres tomorrow, Saturday, March 28 or watch it online at revcom.us.

Properties of silence     And we welcome Writer and Director Theresa Chavez and Rose Portillo, Writer and Actor, of Properties of Silence, currently at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre of the Pasadena Playhouse. In Properties of Silence, poetry, science, and history spiral out of control as a contemporary Phoenix realtor, her pool contractor husband, and the famed 17th Century poet Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz, considered the first great Latin American poet and the first feminist writer,
meet in a multi-layered dreamscape. For tickets and information go to PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

See the film:

Saturday March 28 2:00 pm
L.A. Premiere at The L.A. Theatre Center
& Worldwide Online Launch
A High-Quality Film

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION:
The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion;
A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

For tickets and information, go to thelatc.net

Michael Slate Show 2/25/2015: Dr. Paul Offit on Vaccinations, Carl Dix on April 14 No Business as Usual

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offitp     Dr. Paul Offit is a specialist in infectious diseases and an expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology. He is also the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that has been credited with saving hundreds of lives every day. Dr. Offit talks with us about the importance of vaccinations for children and the danger of the growing anti vaccine trend in the world today.

Carl Dix     Carl Dix, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a co-founder with Cornel West of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, talks about the weekend conference called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network on February 7 & 8 in Atlanta. This conference issued a call for a day – April 14 – of No Business as Usual demanding an end to the Police Murder of Black and brown people. A call has been issued for nationwide actions to “Shut It Down”!

Michael Slate Show 2/18/2015: Larry Siems, Andy Worthington on “Guantanamo Diary,” Carl Dix #ShutDownA14

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Guantanamo Diary     In January of this year, for the first time, the world got to hear the full story of someone imprisoned at Guantanamo. Guantanamo Diary, by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, is the first book written by a prisoner currently locked up in the infamous US torture camp. The publisher called it, “An international publishing event.”

Over thirteen years ago, Mohamedou Slahi disappeared into U.S. custody, beginning an “endless world tour” of imprisonment and torture. He wrote his Diary almost ten years ago. It has taken that many years of fighting US censors to bring it to the world, and is still full of black bar redactions.
Guantanamo Diary details months of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. It is full of devastating perception, irony, honesty and even humor. The Guardian wrote, “Guantanamo Diary is a gut-punch of a reminder – for some, an inconvenient one – that Guantanamo is more than a concept, or a few photographs of faceless men in jumpsuits. Its inmates are real human beings, wondering whether they will ever see freedom again.” Its author remains in Guantanamo, even though he was ordered released in 2010.
We talk with the editor, Larry Siems, and to Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files and co-founder of closeguantanamo.org.

Carl Dix on April 14     Then we close the show with an announcement from Carl Dix of the Stop Mass Incarceration Movement and the Revolutionary Communist Party about a call to make April 14th a Nationwide Day of No Business As Usual to Stop Police Murder of Black and Brown People. Click here for the video.

     At revcom.us: From Carl Dix: April 14 is a day when business as usual is disrupted to STOP police murder!

Michael Slate Show, 1/2/2015: Henry Giroux on Torture, Carl Dix on the Fight Against Police Brutality, and How to End It

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Henry Giroux    Henry Giroux joins us to talk about torture and the violence of organized forgetting. He recently wrote that, after September 11, 2001, “The United States entered into a new and barbarous stage in its history, one in which acts of violence and moral depravity were not only embraced but celebrated.” Henry Giroux is an author and currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department at Ryerson University.

 

 

 

We-cant-breathe-NY-protests  Carl Dix will be talking about where we’re at right now in the fight against police brutality, including nationwide protests on New Year’s — and what it’s going to take to end this epidemic of police murder. He recently wrote a call, “Rock in the New Year With Resistance to Police Murder! NO NEW YEAR UNDER THIS OLD SYSTEM! WE CAN’T BREATHE!” Carl Dix is a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

 

Michael Slate Show, 9/10/14: Prof. Michael Mann on Climate Change; Anna Baltzer, BDS Campaign against Israel

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Two Takes on the Future of Humanity:

Destroying the Earth and Standing with the Palestinian People

Michael E Mann

A recent report from the UN-established  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contains a grim and strongly-worded assessment of the danger facing the planet, the life on land and sea, and the future of humanity, due to the large-scale emission of carbon dioxide from burning coal and oil. The effects of this climate change, including severe drought, rising oceans, destructive storms, higher temperatures and melting glaciers, are happening now. Changes to the environment are occurring faster than predicted, and at an accelerating rate. Some of these changes may be irreversible, no matter what is done about carbon dioxide emissions in the future.

Michael is joined by Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, and talk about this report, the overwhelming evidence behind it, and what it means now and in the future.

For more about Dr. Mann’s work, including links to his works on the climate, check out his website.

AnnaBaltzer_lecture

In 2005, more than 170 Palestinian coalitions, unions, refugee groups, human rights, and social justice groups called for a movement of     Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to build international support for three demands: End the Israeli occupation and dismantle the wall, full equality for Palestinians within Israel, and respect for the Palestinians’ right of return to their land and property. The BDS movement has grown into an international movement of many dimensions, including a cultural boycott of Israel, and campaigns for churches, universities, foundations and pension funds to divest themselves of stock in Israeli companies, or companies that directly support Israel’s genocidal policies toward Palestinians.

We hear about BDS from Anna Baltzer, National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of over 400 groups and organizations, which works on the BDS movement in the US. She is an award-winning lecturer, author, and activist for Palestinian human rights, and author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.

For more information about what’s happening in your area, or to get involved, go to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, or the BDS Movement website.

Michael Slate Show, Sept 3, 2014: Sunsara Taylor, William I. Robinson, Wayne Kramer

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All the Right Things In All the Right Places: Important Victory in the Fight to Stop the Assault on Abortion Rights and the War on Women, Professor Lays Bare the Israel Lobby and the Assault on Academic Freedom & Jail Guitar Doors

Sunsara Taylor arrested at a protest at the University of Texas, Austin, August 27

Sunsara Taylor arrested at a protest at the University of Texas, Austin, August 27

 

Texas is on the front line of a savage War on Women. On September 1, a law that will close down all but 6 abortion clinics in Texas could go into effect. As Sunsara Taylor said, “The situation in Texas is a concentration of the national emergency facing women’s right to abortion.”

On Friday, August 29, a Judge ruled that the vicious Texas Law that would have resulted in the closure of all but 6 abortion clinics in Texas is unconstitutional. This is an important victory in the fight against the War on Women. It is also a time for people to push out even further and harder against the war on Women.

Sunsara Taylor writer for Revolution newspaper and StopPatriarchy.org, will join us to talk about the victory in the fight for Abortion Rights, the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, the Week of Defiance, and the kind of actions that are called for in this nationwide emergency situation.

To find out more or get involved, go to StopPatriarchy, or revcom.us.

Prof. William I. Robinson

Prof. William I. Robinson

 

William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, Global and Latin American Studies at UC Santa Barbara, will join us to talk about the targeting of US university professors by Zionist groups. Five years ago he was the target of a campaign to drive him from the university, a campaign that involved collaboration between pro-Israel university officials and groups like the Anti-Defamation League, a Zionist organization. Prof. Robinson estimates that dozens, perhaps hundreds of professors, students and organizations have been targeted by such organizations, with a chilling effect.

 

 

Wayne Kramer

Wayne Krame

Wayne Kramer, guitarist, part of the legendary rock band MC5, activist and co-founder of Jail Guitar Doors, joins us to discuss the work of Jail Guitar Doors, the horror of prison and the fight against the dehumanization of whole peoples, especially the Black and Latino people who live in the world of cradle to prison pipeline.

To connect with Jail Guitar Doors, see their website, or like them on Facebook

Needed: Volunteers to transcribe for the Michael Slate Show

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Needed: Volunteers to transcribe interviews on the Michael Slate Show.

Many of the interviews done on the Michael Slate Show could have broader impact if they were transcribed for print outlets. But that can be done now only on a limited basis.

This is a chance to step up to support the work of the Michael Slate Show, and get the important voices on the show to a wider audience. You can do this from anywhere in the world.

Write to MichaelSlateShow@gmail.com to volunteer, or for any questions.

The Michael Slate Show on KPFK, Friday 8/22: Carl Dix from Ferguson, Sunsara Taylor from the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, Shaun Sipos & Aaron McPherson, “In a Dark Dark House”

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Carl Dix arrested in Ferguson, MO

Carl Dix arrested in Ferguson, MO

 

We’ll talk about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, with Carl Dix. People have been in the streets since the police murder of Michael Brown on August 9. Carl Dix is a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. He has been in Ferguson since shortly after the protests began, and was recently arrested while standing on the sidewalk reading a statement, “We Stand With the Defiant Ones.”

He’ll discuss what’s been happening, what people have been saying, the attempts by the authorities and local figures working with the police, i.e., bootlickers, to stop the protests — and the Call to Action, “Come to Ferguson This Weekend.”

Check out revcom.us for daily news from Ferguson.

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Abortion rights FR Texas 02    We’ll have an update from Sunsara Taylor on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: Ground Zero, Texas. The Freedom Ride is a national counter-offensive against an all-out, national assault on abortion rights, that is telling the unapologetic truth: the fight over abortion is a fight over whether or not women will be free. The ride began in late July, and is currently in the Rio Grande Valley, where the forced closing of Texas abortion clinics has hit the hardest. Stop Patriarchy has called for a Week of Defiance, beginning August 25, and ending September 1, when Texas authorities hope to close all but six abortion clinics in Texas.

Sunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution newspaper and StopPatriarchy.org, and a founder of End Pornography and Patriarchy, the Enslavement and Degradation of Women.

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in-a-dark-dark-house-logo-40789     We’ll talk with Shaun Sipos and Aaron McPherson, two lead actors of In A Dark Dark House, currently at the Matrix Theatre. Written by Neil LaBute, the play is the story of two brothers as they search through a past of physical and sexual abuse. It explores the dehumanization of relationships in capitalist society, where everything, and everyone, is a commodity.

We Stand With The Defiant Ones — From Revolution Newspaper 8/18/14

We Stand With the Defiant Ones

August 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ferguson 02

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GET THIS STATEMENT OUT EVERYWHERE:

 We Stand With the Defiant Ones

We stand with the defiant ones.  We stand with the angry ones, the rebellious ones, the ones who will not take it, the ones who tell the truth—and the ones they lie about.  Without defiance, without rage, without righteous rebellion, without people insisting on their rights and defending those rights in the street—very few people would even know about Michael Brown and how he was shot over and over with his hands up, murdered by pigs and then left to lie there in the streets, as if he were an animal.  Very few people would have shared the grief of his parents for the terrible loss of this young man, at the very beginning of his life.  Without the rebellion, this terrible state-done murder would just be another rerun of the same old all-too-familiar story, the same murderous stuff that happens to Black and Latino youth over and over again.

Read more at revcom.us