Black bodies are piling up in morgues of America


Black bodies are piling up in morgues of America and justice lies bleeding on the gutter.

The wretched reality for black people living in North American and Europe is one that haunts our every living moment. White supremacy is such that one of the consequences of racism is that we we are routinely disbelieved. White privies and institutional racism collide in a toxic mix

Mr. Walter Scott a 53-year-old black man was murdered in North Charleston, South Carolina, US, by yet another white police officer - after being pulled over in his Mercedes regarding a broken rear tail-light.

A local man mirraculously captured the whole incident on his smartphone.  I have not included the link here - for several reasons, chief among them: it's easily available should you wish to see it and because I believe in respect for the dead.

What one has to see is racism extends beyond the grave. Compassion and sensitivity are shown to dead white people.  Meanwhile, wall to wall images of dead black men prodominate.

Officer Michael Slager has subsequently been sacked and charged with first-degree murder. This is to be welcomed, but we should be wary of assuming that justice will be done. Who can forget the police officers acquitted of the brutal beating of Rodney King, despite compelling video evidence?

The Scott video is interesting for several reasons, one is that Black people all over the world believe that the only reason this case has attracted so much global attention is simply that a passer by filmed the whole thing.

We should remember that for almost 48 hours after Mr. Scott was murdered, neither Officer Slager nor the South Carolina Police Department knew of the existence of the video.

During that time we saw the same old set-play that is routinely rolled out at any time, anywhere that a black person dies at the hands of the police.  It's a strategy that relies on the latent racism of wider society and one that leaves people preconditioned to routinely disbelieve black people.

In the aftermath of such crimes, a setpiece script is routinely played out by the police. No matter whether in the UK or US, the basic formula is always the same:

  1. The officer held a reasonable belief that their life was under threat
  2. The officer was assaulted/attacked by the victim and defended himself
  3. The victim refused to comply with the officers reasonable requests
  4. Subsequently, smear the victim in the press with the release of their criminal antecedents with an emphasis on violent criminality

In the case of Mr. Scott we didn't have to wait long to hear their concocted version of events were so far from the truth.

A statement released by North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said a man ran on foot from the traffic stop, and Slager deployed his Taser in an attempt to stop him.

That did not work, police said and Mr. Scott attempted to take the officers Taser. Police reported that during the struggle Mr. Scott gained control of the Taser and attempted to use it against the officer.

The statement went on to say the Slager then resorted to use his service weapon, and shot Mr. Scott during the struggle.

The reality however was very different indeed. Slager and the South Carolina Police Department had lied to the public in attempt to cover up a cold blooded murder. Let that percolate in your brain for just a moment.

What we witnessed was an attempt by Police Officers to pervert the course of justice and viciously malign a dead black man, relying on the public's predisposition to believe racist tropes about the 'innate violence and criminality' of black people.

Slager shot Mr. Scott eight times in the back. He then casually walked over to the body, handcuffed him whilst he was dying and in concert with a fellow black officer planted the Taser near his body. The ease with which the officer set up his victim suggests that his actions came easy to him. I believe that informally Officers are now schooled on what to do and what to say in such circumstances. It came too easy.

What we witnessed is behavior that looks like second nature, well-rehearsed behavior.

Neither is the focus of Police gunfire directed soley at black men. Black women are often the forgotten victims of police violence and brutality and yet because of the implicit racism of the media and inate patriairchy of African American leadership, we know a lot less about them.

Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Miriam Carey, and Rekia Boyd are just some of the women that have been slain by police oficers in the US.

Recent research has shown that although the African American community makes up only 14% of the US population, they make up 41% of unarmed people killed by the police.

Majority white juries - even when presented with compelling evidence - have consistently failed to convict police officers of murder.  The fact is, there is implicit bias that almost never believes a black person.  They refuse to recognize the importance of evidence, and they almost always support the offending white officer. That's how deep racism goes.

In relation to Mr Scott, what we saw was an active conspiracy by a group of officers to cover up the murder of an innocent citizen and an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The widely-held view in both the US and the UK is that when it comes to police violence there is no justice - just us. America and Britain need to address the toxic presence of wholesale institutional racism within the criminal justice system.

It's now just a matter of time before another police officer gets killed, or cities burn because a people who are denied justice and suffering police oppression rise up and strike back.

Lee Jasper