[Net-Gold] CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE : POLICE BRUTALITY : LAW CASE DECISIONS : UNITED STATES: STATES: SOUTH CAROLINA: Why We Shouldn’t be Surprised by Muted Reaction to Slager Mistrial

 

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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE :

POLICE BRUTALITY :

LAW CASE DECISIONS :

UNITED STATES: STATES: SOUTH CAROLINA:

Why We Shouldn’t be Surprised by Muted Reaction to Slager Mistrial

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Why We Shouldn’t be Surprised by Muted Reaction to Slager Mistrial

CINDI ROSS SCOPPE

Associate Editor

The State

http://www.thestate.com/opinion/ opn-columns-blogs/cindi-ross-scoppe/article119986188.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/j6qsgmz

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THERE WERE NO riots in Charleston after a jury deadlocked Monday over whether former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager committed a crime when he killed the unarmed motorist Walter Scott.

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That shouldnt surprise anyone: Riots, which can never, ever be justified, are fortunately quite rare  despite the promiscuous way we toss about the word whenever two or more gather in public with protest signs.

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Nor were there protests of any consequence.

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That shouldnt surprise us either.

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If that statement surprises you, consider a bit of context:

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No one takes to the streets to protest when a common criminal kills someone during a robbery gone bad. Even serial killers and terrorists dont elicit that sort of response. Were horrified, yes, and outraged, yes, but we dont protest  because we know that police are going to do all they can to hunt down the killers and bring them to justice.

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Even if a jury deadlocks over the charges against the most heinous of killers, we dont protest. Thats because, again, we know that the people involved in our criminal justice system  indeed, the criminal justice system itself  will respond appropriately. We dont conclude that the system has failed us because jurors couldnt reach a unanimous verdict particularly when prosecutors asked them to pick from among multiple verdicts. We certainly dont riot.

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What has prompted the recent parade of protests after police killed unarmed citizens is our very long history of police not being convicted when they kill people who were unarmed. Its the very long history of police not even being charged in those killings. Its the long history of investigations that fail to probe inconsistencies in the officers stories, that can at best be called cursory. Its the long history of police not even being fired in those cases. Its the long history of police not even being suspended. Its the long history of police not even being reprimanded when they kill unarmed people.

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And please note the lack of the word black in all of those statements. Although the protests have involved black victims  and although I cannot dismiss the argument that conscious or unconscious racial bias has played a role in many cases  the salient point is not race. The salient point is unarmed. The salient point is that everyone should demand answers when police kill unarmed people, regardless of race.

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Its true that were starting to see too many protests that begin before we know whether the deceased were armed. But even with that disturbing trend, the fact remains that only a tiny minority of police killings generate protests. And the simple reason for that is that the vast majority of shootings, while tragic, are justified. Just as the vast majority of police are good and decent people whose names are being tarnished and lives endangered by the tiny, tiny minority of bad cops, who need to be fired, at the very least.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 – 4584
jwne@temple.edu
http://workface.com/e/daviddillard

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[Net-Gold] CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE : POLICE BRUTALITY : LAW CASE DECISIONS : UNITED STATES: STATES: SOUTH CAROLINA: Why We Shouldn’t be Surprised by Muted Reaction to Slager Mistrial

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