To Set Walter Scott’s Killer Free…Just One
When I heard about the mistrial of Michael Slager, the former Charleston police officer who murdered unarmed Walter Scott, I wasn’t surprised. Sure. There was video of Walter Scott running away when Slager shot him in the back. Sure. Slager even lied about the circumstances of the shooting and told investigators a false narrative — until the video surfaced. However, I’m a black person living in America. This isn’t my first time bearing witness to this scenario.
Yet, I have to admit as more information about the mistrial came out, and it was revealed that only one juror — on a jury comprised of 11 whites and 1 black — would not vote to convict, I breathed a tiny sigh of relief. Just one.
Sure. It only took one person to write the judge that he could not “in good conscience” convict Michael Slager. Sure. Only one person was needed to hang the jury. But, it was…just one.
When the prosecutor went through all the pre-trial motions, through the process of selecting the jury, through the presentation of all the evidence — including that video — he didn’t know who that invisible juror or jurors were that would never vote to convict a white man for killing a black one. Now, he knows…just one.
When you’re black (and woke), you always know that they are lurking out there. People who tell those jokes when they are in comfortable surroundings. Ask Sofia Richie. People who think that all black people are poor. Ask Oprah Winfrey. People who think that only a white person can do that job or have that role. Ask Amandla Stenberg. People who think that this country and its culture are only theirs. Ask Darius Rucker — or Beyonce.
So, when black celebrities that the world knows and adores encounter racism, you must realize that regular black folks deal with it on a regular basis. But, we learn how to co-exist with that invisible enemy — because we know they’re out there, but we don’t always know who they are.
Always on guard. Always prepared. Because we know there are many. However, in this case, there was just one.