By Thandisizwe Chimurenga for Daily Kos – Sean Groubert, a former South Carolina state trooper, has pleaded guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for the shooting of Levar Jones at a Columbia gas station in September of 2014. Video from Groubert’s patrol car went viral at a time of heightened scrutiny and anxiety of police executions of unarmed African Americans—immediately after the murders of Mike Brown in Ferguson, John Crawford in Ohio and Eric Garner in New York and just prior to the murder of Tamir Rice in Cleveland and the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for Brown’s murder.
By Adam Johnson for AlterNet – WLTX reports that Kenny was trying to “stand up for her friend” when she filmed the assault, telling Loren Thomas of WLTX, “I was crying, screaming and crying like a baby. I was in disbelief.” Both Kenny and her mother are understandably skeptical as to why she was arrested for “disturbing schools.” “But looking at the video, who was really disturbing schools?” Kenny’s mother told WLTX. “Was it my daughter or the officer who came into the classroom and did that to the young girl?” Ben Fields, the South Carolina police officer whose attack on a black student went viral in a video Monday, has faced previous abuse allegations.
By Nick Visser in Huffington Post – At least five predominantly black churches have caught fire in the last week, including at least three that have been the subject of arson, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports. The string of blazes, which have occurred in four Southern states and Ohio, comes a week after nine people were gunned down at a Charleston, South Carolina, church. Dylann Roof, 21, has been charged with nine counts of homicide and possession of a firearm during commission of a violent crime. An arsonist set fire to the College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Monday. The following day, God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, was gutted by flames.
By Lynette Holloway for the Root, #FreeBree is now trending on Black Twitter and a bail fund has been set up to help Bree Newsome defray the legal costs associated with her arrest for removing the Confederate flag. A woman identified as Bree Newsome was arrested Saturday after climbing the flagpole at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., about 6:30 a.m. and removing the Confederate flag, Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, said in a statement. Robinson, whose group last week started a petition titled “Take Down The Confederate Flag From The South Carolina Capitol,” which has received more than 55,000 signatures, supported the activist. He identified her as a North Carolina educator. A second person was arrested, but his or her identity is not yet known. “The confederate flag was born out of a government defending the enslavement of Black people and resurrected as an emblem for whites violently opposing racial integration,” Robinson said in the statement.
By Riley Wilson for Color Lines. When I was growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, I was awoken by one singular task from my mother. “Get out of South Carolina,” she would sermonize. This would be repeated to me regularly and in different ways. “Get out of South Carolina and don’t come back.” Sometimes she would say, “Don’t get trapped here.” I am not a South Carolinian; I am the re-birth of the black radical and this time, the cause du jour is serving as a catalyst more so than a trending topic. And when the radicalism of my generation fully emerges from behind the curtain of traditional marches and tactics, there will be little acquiesce offered. The seemingly hollow musings of President Obama will go unnoticed, and the gait of the disenfranchised and attacked black youth will move like a levanter out of the concrete. The only thing to stop it will be drastic and unequivocal change in American policies, practices and moral consciousness.
By Jessica Dickerson in The Huffington Post – The fatal police shooting of South Carolina man Walter Scott has, not undeservedly,taken the Internet by storm. But what is it that people want to understand most about the shooting? And where are the people that are searching answers to these questions the most? Google knows. Trends data acquired by the internet search engine — one that boasts over 100 billion searches monthly — shows not only the most frequently asked questions in regards to Scott’s shooting, but also where the majority of those searches are coming from. In this case, the southern United States take the cake. And so, for those who want to know, here are the answers to the Internet’s most asked questions regarding Walter Scott.
By Bruce Smith for Associated Press. It didn’t take long for a grand jury in South Carolina to indict a white former city policeman for murder in the shooting death of a black man who tried to flee from a traffic stop. State investigators presented the case against former North Charleston officer Michael Slager to a Charleston County grand jury on Monday and prosecutor Scarlett Wilson announced the indictment a few hours later. A bystander’s cellphone video shows Slager firing eight times as 50-year-old Walter Scott tried to run away on April 4. The killing enflamed a national debate about how black people are treated by white police officers. But it caused no unrest in North Charleston, where community leaders and Scott’s family praised the government’s swift response. Slager was charged with murder by state law enforcement agents and fired from the police force immediately after Scott’s family released the video.
By Kerry Taylor in Facing South. The city of North Charleston, South Carolina, has received strong praise for its handling of police officer Michael T. Slager’s fatal shooting of 50-year-old African American Walter Scott during an April 4 traffic stop. According to various media commentaries, the city’s quick response saved North Charleston from the outbreaks of vandalism and clashes with law enforcement that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri. At the local level, North Charleston’s response was shaped by the emergence of a decentralized network of political activists who have been organizing around progressive causes, including labor rights and economic justice, LGBTQ equality, and racial disparities in policing. This network of activists sprang into action just hours after Scott’s killing to offer a counter-narrative to the official version of events. They provided victims of police violence an outlet to express their pain and anger by organizing demonstrations, speak outs, and cultural events across the region. And they have carried out a range of protest activities aimed at securing reform. Their collective efforts at movement building, while diffuse and sometimes contradictory, represent an overlooked aspect of the Walter Scott story that has local political significance and strong national resonances.
Last Saturday in North Charleston, South Carolina, a routine traffic stop ended in a police shooting, and the death of Walter Scott. Under normal circumstances there would have been nothing remarkable about Scott’s death. Local media spent the weekend recounting the incident as told by Officer Michael Slager via his attorney, who claimed that Slager shot Scott after the traffic stop “turned into a physical altercation.” As the weekend progressed, more local affiliates in the area reported and recounted the same story, with the police report of the incident the only piece of information to rely upon as “fact.” And then the amateur video hit the airwaves… Overnight, what had been another “unfortunate incident” became the biggest piece of news in America, and the national media descended upon North Charleston like a pack of locusts.
Protests have been held in South Carolina over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man as he ran away from police. Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder and sacked after video emerged of him shooting Walter Scott multiple times in the back following a scuffle. He was arrested when authorities reviewed mobile phone video of the shooting, which took place on Saturday. The incident has been widely condemned, and the US Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating. Cries of “Black lives matter!” rang out as about 50 protesters joined local politicians outside City Hall in North Charleston on Wednesday morning. “We cannot sit still and be quiet anymore. This is our season to speak!” said one woman who commanded the crowd’s attention.
The North Charleston police chief, Eddie Driggers, said officer Slager, 33, had been arrested and charged with murder. Attorney L Chris Stewart, who came to North Charleston a day after the shooting to represent the family, said the video forced authorities to act quickly and decisively, and he called the person who made the video a hero. “What happened today doesn’t happen all the time,” Stewart told a news conference. “What if there was no video?” Scott’s mother stood nearby, saying, “Thank you, Lord” and “Hallelujah.” The family plans to file a civil rights suit against Slager, the department and the city, Stewart said. Anthony Scott said his late sibling served for two years in the US Coast Guard, that he was a father of four, and that he loved the Dallas Cowboys.
A settlement has been reached this week in a lawsuit filed by Occupy Columbia protest members against Gov. Nikki Haley and other state officials. Attorneys for Haley and state law enforcement officials agreed during a mediation hearing Wednesday to pay Occupy members $192,000, Drew Radeker told The Associated Press. “It’s a fair settlement, and we’re glad that the state of South Carolina doesn’t have to continue to pay these lawyers to defend the case that we would have ultimately won anyway,” Radeker said. Other details about the deal were not released. It marks an end to a civil dispute that has been ongoing since Occupy Columbia launched its protest at the Statehouse grounds Oct. 15, 2011, part of a nationwide series of demonstrations against economic inequality. 19 protesters were arrested after Haley, in an effort to roust the protesters, said that anyone attempting to camp out on the Statehouse grounds after 6 p.m. would be arrested.