Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | April 9, 2015 0

blackwalterscottHere are five images that Americans online have shared in big numbers, in reaction to the video of a shooting of a black man by a white police officer.  The South Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man Saturday is being charged with murder, officials announced today. video shows North Charleston, SC, officer Michael Slager saying Walter Scott took his Taser after shooting, but bystander footage seems to show the officer fired his Taser at Scott

The release of the video showing a police officer shooting Walter Scott in the back prompted an immediate reaction on social media. #BlackLivesMatter, a hashtag used after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson last year and on many other occasions since, spiked once again as it was announced that the officer, Michael Slager, would face a murder charge.

Because of the nature of the video footage – Scott was clearly seen running away from the police officer when shot – there was less debate about the incident itself and more reflection this time around. Much of the discussion was driven by African Americans, talking about what the incident meant in the context of being black in America. Here are some of the most widely-shared images:

‘The Talk’

An African-American family is having an uncomfortable discussion with their teenage son. But this talk is not about sex education and how to handle the opposite sex – it’s about how deal with law enforcement.


“What started as a traffic stop for a broken tail light turned into a death sentence for a black man. A similar situation happened to a 12 year old black boy [in Cleveland, Ohio] a few months ago,” Jaxn said. “What this says to every black man in America is that no matter your age or your innocence, you are a target. There is major reform to police accountability that extends beyond the random chance a bystander is running towards the altercation with a video camera and successfully presents that as evidence contradictory to police reports.”

Surviving a police encounter

A modified wildlife safety poster compares an encounter with police to a confrontation with a bear – artwork originally created by writer Christopher Keelty.


“Often we resort to the absurd to explain the outrageous,” says R Coleman (@GetWisdomDude), who retweeted the image to her 11,000-plus followers. “It’s so incredulous that this is still happening … How is it we’re still experiencing this rampant yee-ha, gun slinging, black man hunting, open season?”

A US Coast Guard veteran

Another often-retweeted picture showed the man shot, Scott, in his US Coast Guard uniform. In the United States, the Coast Guard is a branch of the military and Scott was described in many news stories as a veteran.

People online “were all sharing video of his death and commenting on how outraged they were,” says Tiffany Dena Loftin, an organiser with the anti-police violence organisation Freedom Side in Washington, DC, who shared the picture. “Twitter users also were quick to use screen shots of his body laying on the ground. For the last two years, I’ve seen too many black bodies laying on the ground. I decided to share the picture of him in uniform to add character to who he is. I don’t know him or the family personally, but his service picture says dedication, American, truth and service. The police have killed black dads, sons, and fathers, now they’ve killed a US veteran.”

The Fresh Prince and an old march

Among the other images being shared was an old clip of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom, which included a darkly prescient joke about police shootings, and a photo of an anti-violence rally from the 1930s.

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