Friday, July 30, 2021

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Too Much of A Good Thing

steffanie rivers
Steffanie Rivers

*Too much information can be as bad as not having enough information. I’m convinced of that after listening to the only black juror on the Michael Slager murder trial explain why he thinks Slager acted without malice when he shot Walter Scott multiple times in the back as he ran away.

Dorsey Montgomery, the only person of color on the jury, has allowed information overload to cloud his common sense. In media interviews Montgomery said the jury couldn’t convict the fired police officer of murder, because other evidence reviewed during the trial proved he didn’t act with malicious intent.

Everybody knows it’s against the law to use deadly force against somebody who has his back to you, poses no threat to you and is running away from a confrontation with you. That includes police officers, even if a suspect is fleeing to avoid apprehension.

Had it not been for the video, recorded by a man who happened to be walking by the scene on his way to work, nobody would have known Slager was a liar and a murderer. Since Slager’s defense attorneys made Montgomery and the rest of the jurors doubt their lying eyes – taking a murder conviction off the table – manslaughter was the only other option. One lone juror who claimed he knew Slager to be of good character refused to convict, causing a mistrial. Nevermind the video of the shooting that also showed Slager dropping his police taser next to Scott’s dead body before he claimed in his police report that Scott had wrestled the taser away from him and tried to attack him with it. Never mind the 18 bad reports against Slager for use of force against other citizens.

Sounds like this juror either was a holdout planted by the defense or he had a prior relationship with Slager. Why else would anything other than that video be needed? Either way the prosecution did a poor job of vetting jurors.

How does a black (man) prosecutor allow only one black person to be picked for the jury in charge of judging a white police officer who shot and killed a black man anywhere in the United States, let alone in South Carolina. That’s akin to dereliction of duty as a black man and as a prosecutor. Sure, we want to believe that justice is blind, but it has eluded too many deserving of it for anybody to believe it’s going to be given without a fight for it.

Now, if Dylan Roof, the other S.C. murderer who confessed to killing nine people during Bible study in a Charleston church, eludes a murder conviction the little faith I have left in an impartial justice system will be gone.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries.

 

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