Comment of the Day: “Unethical Website Of The Month: Michael T. Slager Support Fund”

Now, let's not jump to conclusions...

Now, let’s not jump to conclusions…

UPDATE (MAY 3): I have been convinced that the original post that generated this Comment of the Day went too far. Asking for support for Slager’s defense cannot be unethical: Slager has a right to a defense, and the best one available. My thoughts on that issue, in relation to the Freddie Gray cops, are here. I still think it is obvious that the individual who posted the appeal is doing so for unethical reasons, and is likely a racist, an apologist for a bad cop, and an idiot. But the appeal itself is not unethical, hence the website was not unethical to post it.

________________________________________________

How can a website dedicated to paying for the defense of fired police officer Michael T. Slager be unethical, when every citizen is guaranteed the right to a defense before a jury of his peers? I thought I made my ethical objections to the site clear when I wrote:

Slager deserves a fair trial and will get one, but anyone whose immediate reaction to seeing the horrific video is sympathy for this killer cop needs psychiatric treatment, and quickly.

I also made it clear—I thought–that the text of the appeal betrayed a strange and ugly urge to shield Slager from the consequences of his conduct, which was per se, on its face, undeniably illegal under the laws of every state in the land, including South Carolina. He shot a fleeing man in the back; he cannot claim self-defense. Deadly force is forbidden in such situations. Unless Slager noticed that victim Walter Scott had death-ray shooting eyes in the back of his head, Scott’s death is a homicide, and it’s an open and shut case. The only remaining question is what level of homicide.

The appeal said that the poster supported Slager. Wrong. We should not support police officers who shoot citizens in the back. It attempted to minimize Slager’s offense by calling it a “mis-step.” Intentionally shooting someone illegally is not a mis-step. It’s murder. Then the appeal reminded us that Slager has a family, and didn’t do anything bad before he shot a man to death. Well, “first offense” is not a big mitigating factor when it comes to executing people.

However, I appreciate Ethics Alarms newcomer Gustav Bjornstrand‘s comment, though I don’t think this is the best context for it. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post “Unethical Website Of The Month: Michael T. Slager Support Fund.” I’ll be back at the end.

I venture to say that to offer support to Slager is certainly ethical, in and of itself. That is, if one believed that he or anyone deserves monetary support in order to raise a defence. It is conceivable that even someone who was certain he had committed a crime would choose still to aid him in getting good representation. It is unethical, I suggest, for anyone to assume that Slager is guilty of murder before a court decides the issue. It is possible, even if improbable, that there were circumstances prior to Slager firing that may shed light on his decision to fire. Additionally, there are a few other factors that need to be taken into consideration:

It is likely that though Slager will be charged with murder, and tried for murder, that if he is sentenced it will not be for murder. Why? Because police officers are placed in high-stress situations and it is in the nature of the job to have to make snap decisions. To get a conviction of murder requires establishing malice and premeditation, none of which seem to have been a factor here. To imply that he shot a Black man as if on a hunting expedition is, I suggest, unethical and also non-rational because 1) no one can know this a priori and 2) it seems to be an emotional reaction. Emotional responses, though natural indeed, need to be refracted back through a reasoned analysis.

It seems likely that when the trial is completed he will be sentenced for a lesser crime than that of murder. (Here is the Wiki page on the degrees of homicide).

Although reaction is understandable I again suggest that universal appeals to emotion and accusations of ‘murder’, as well as the pre-judgment of a man arrested for a crime, is itself unethical. Sensationalism is easily communicated from person to person as is ‘hysteria’ (in quotations because I am not sure what other word to use but I mean ‘thoughtless reaction’ and one inflected by passion, etc.) and one’s own emotional and unreasoned appeals can infect other people and thus induce them to further unethical statements or actions.

“The video shows him to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”. (Jack Marshall)

This is certainly so.

“The construct of the legal system is that he’s presumed innocent in the eyes of the law, not in actual human eyes, especially eye-witnesses.”

The ethical issue of declaring a person ‘guilty’ even when it appears to be so (based on eye witness accounts or on other evidence including video) is not that it occurs but what happens when sentiment, passion and emotion are appealed to on a mass-scale. The NY Times ran an article on this topic: the rather ugly side of social media used to enact revenge . One must take into account that opinion can be influenced by certain *hot* words and topics, and we have all been aware of the simmering and conflicted issue of police use of deadly force, issues of racism, etc.

I also suggest that if support to Slager means too support of his wife (who is pregnant), that support is in fact ethical.

It is POSSIBLE (I say this as did Henry Fonda in ’12 Angry Men’) that there are extenuating circumstances and that some additional altercation occurred before Slager drew his gun and fired. It is POSSIBLE that knowing this our understanding of his reaction might be modified. It is POSSIBLE that he did not commit murder but rather some form of manslaughter. It is POSSIBLE that, despite how he and this is being framed, that he is NOT a racist. If any of this is so, then it seems these possibilities should cool our reaction.

It is therefor POSSIBLE that Slager simply made a very bad judgment call in a stressful situation. If this is so, it is ethical to desire to help him as, in fact, it could have happened to any one of us.

I’m back.

1.  The text of the appeal didn’t “offer support,” it said that the poster supported him. I have no problem with my tax money supporting state-paid defense attorneys for anyone, guilty or innocent, killers or vandals, who is charged with a crime. I do not, however, support killers, or killer cops, which is what Slager is. The reaction of someone whose first response to a video showing a police officer shooting a fleeing man dead is “I support the cop!” is pure bias, and in this case, bias probably motivated by racism.

2. “It is unethical, I suggest, for anyone to assume that Slager is guilty of murder before a court decides the issue.”

Wrongwrongwrongwrongwrongwrongwrong. I keep explaining why this is wrong, and I will, apparently, until I turn blue and keel over. 

It was not unethical to “assume”—the proper words are “recognize,” “realize”  and “conclude”—that Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, because he did it on live television and was arrested at the scene. He was never tried. So what? We have eyes. We have brains. He was guilty. John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln. A theater full of people saw it, and many of them knew the actor, who was a celebrity. He was shot dead before he could be tried. He was guilty. It is not unethical for history books to say so. Michael T. Slager is shown on a video clearly shooting a man in the back. That’s homicide. He has no defense. He will probably be charged with manslaughter, because the shooting was in the heat of passion. Manslaughter, however, is still homicide. Where I come from, and have a bar license, it is called “third-degree murder.” The court decides the law, and whether a crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Human beings are not ethically or logically bound by that same standard in their own conclusions. In this case, the legal and logical conclusions are almost certainly going to converge.

3. “The ethical issue of declaring a person ‘guilty’ even when it appears to be so (based on eye witness accounts or on other evidence including video) is not that it occurs but what happens when sentiment, passion and emotion are appealed to on a mass-scale.”

That’s the Ferguson problem certainly, but not it is not applicable here. I am not emotional about this incident in any way. Unlike the Trayvon Martin and Mile Brown shooting, public opinion isn’t assuming facts. The public can see the crime. The facts can’t be spun, and they aren’t ambiguous.

4. Citing the Justine Sacco case, where a woman’s career and reputation was destroyed because of a tongue-in-cheek tweet, in the context of balatnt police misconduct resulting in a death is bizarre. There is no comparison beyween the two event or the disproportionality of the reactions to them. Sacco harmed nobody. Slager was a professional who betrayed the public trust: the public has every reason to want him to be punished.

5. “I also suggest that if support to Slager means too support of his wife (who is pregnant), that support is in fact ethical.”

Ethical, but irrelevant. One does not gain special license to kill people illegally because you have a wife. If the website was determined to raise money for Slager’s family, then it should have said so. But why would someone’s first concern be the family of the killer cop rather than the family of his victim? This is a strange allocation of sympathy, and one that betrays likely animus toward the dead man, or, uh, something about him.

6. “It is POSSIBLE (I say this as did Henry Fonda in “12 Angry Men”) that there are extenuating circumstances and that some additional altercation occurred before Slager drew his gun and fired. It is POSSIBLE that knowing this our understanding of his reaction might be modified. It is POSSIBLE that he did not commit murder but rather some form of manslaughter. It is POSSIBLE that, despite how he and this is being framed, that he is NOT a racist. If any of this is so, then it seems these possibilities should cool our reaction.”

In “Twelve Angry Men,” there is reasonable doubt that the murder was committed by the defendant. That doubt does not exist here. Absent my death ray scenario, it is NOT “possible” that Slager’s shooting Scott was justifiable. 

7. “It is POSSIBLE that he did not commit murder but rather some form of manslaughter.”

Manslaughter is homicide, and in many jurisdictions it is called murder. This is a trivial distinction.

8. My post had nothing to do with whether Slager is  a racist. I know of no evidence that has indicated that he was. I think anyone applauding Scott’s death is legitimately to be suspected of racist motives.

9. “It is therefore POSSIBLE that Slager simply made a very bad judgment call in a stressful situation.”

I’ll stipulate he did. So what? He’s a police officer who carries a gun and whose job is to protect citizens, not shoot them. The law doesn’t excuse violators for bad judgment, nor should it. He’s still guilty.

10. “If this is so, it is ethical to desire to help him as, in fact, it could have happened to any one of us.”

What? We should help murderers because any one of us might be a murderer? The Golden Rule posits responsible, ethical instincts. Objectively speaking, as a citizen, if I commit murder, I want the state to prosecute, convict and punish me like anyone else. Gustaf is adopting the Golden Rule distortion, “Do Unto Other As They Would Like You To Do To Them.”

11. Not that it controls the issue under discussion, but IndieGoGo representatives have confirmed that the site has pulled the campaign to raise money for Slager’s legal defense.

26 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: “Unethical Website Of The Month: Michael T. Slager Support Fund”

  1. ‘He shot a fleeing man in the back; he cannot claim self-defense. Deadly force is forbidden in such situations.’
    Not a comment exactly, a request for clarification. In a hypothetical, not the Slager, case, a cop shoots a man exactly as in the video because he has good reason to believe that if he escapes he will pose a threat to the public. Would that be exculpatory?

      • Thanks. AIUI (I’m a statistician, God help me, not a lawyer), this implies that…
        ‘He shot a fleeing man in the back; Deadly force is forbidden in such situations.’
        …is too absolute. Would it not be more precise to say something like…
        ‘Shooting a fleeing man in the back is forbidden, except in response to a perceived extreme and immediate threat to the public.’?

  2. Jack Marshall wrote: “The reaction of someone whose first response to a video showing a police officer shooting a fleeing man dead is “I support the cop!” is pure bias, and in this case, bias probably motivated by racism.”

    I took the idea of ‘support’ at more or less its face value. Because I examine all sorts of different material I am aware that very soon after the video came out and the officer was charged and jailed that some (on white supremacist sites) said ‘Let’s support a white brother’. So, it is a given that on one end of the spectrum—on one whole end of America I should say—there is a racist element.

    So, if one were to say ‘Let’s support a white brother who kills African Americans!’, one would clearly illustrate your position. But it does seem to me there are alternative reasons why someone might wish to offer ‘support’.
    ________________________

    I was pretty sure that you would bust me on the “It is unethical, I suggest, for anyone to assume that Slager is guilty of murder before a court decides the issue”. And though I admit that you are right in the most specific sense (It is not unethical to call a homicide a homicide), I meant something else and expressed it in later points. But I have to back away from my statement.

    It is not unethical to describe Slayer’s shooting of the fleeing man as homicide. It is unethical to conflate this incident, without proper analysis, with any other incident and with those of which we are all familiar. So, the issue of mass-reaction, and the possibility of getting caught up in it, have no bearing on what in fact happened (a cop shot a fleeing man).

    I wrote: “The ethical issue of declaring a person ‘guilty’ even when it appears to be so (based on eye witness accounts or on other evidence including video) is not that it occurs but what happens when sentiment, passion and emotion are appealed to on a mass-scale.”

    You commented: “That’s the Ferguson problem certainly, but not it is not applicable here.”

    I think I would have to differ with you on this. But I would take advantage of your clarifying emphasis. A homicide took place. But I think you pointed out in a post that CNN had already been conflating one incident with another and asking that ‘If there had been a video in Ferguson perhaps Brown’s killing would be recognised similarly as homicide, not self-defense). The fact that it is possible that ‘sentiment, passion and emotion [may be] appealed to on a mass-scale’ is real and possible/probable, and that this example of a homicide of an African American by a white officer may be used to describe various other ambiguous instances of police killings as similarly motivated, is where the ethical issue arises.

    You wrote: “Citing the Justine Sacco case, where a woman’s career and reputation was destroyed because of a tongue-in-cheek tweet, in the context of blatant police misconduct resulting in a death is bizarre. There is no comparison beyween the two event or the disproportionality of the reactions to them. Sacco harmed nobody. Slager was a professional who betrayed the public trust: the public has every reason to want him to be punished.”

    But it wasn’t intended in that way. It was intended to illustrate that when an issue, a conflict, or an incident get picked up by the media-mill, and when passions, conscious and unconscious resentments become expressed through unreasoned reaction, that people seem to relinquish their grip on those tools that would allow them to come to balanced decisions or assessments. The Twitter incident came to mind as a way to illustrate a phenomenon. A specific comparison was not intended. I certainly accept though that Slager made a terrible mistake, and killed a man, and that in no sense is this comparable with a careless tweet.

    I wrote: “I also suggest that if support to Slager means too support of his wife (who is pregnant), that support is in fact ethical.”

    You responded: “Ethical, but irrelevant. One does not gain special license to kill people illegally because you have a wife. If the website was determined to raise money for Slager’s family, then it should have said so. But why would someone’s first concern be the family of the killer cop rather than the family of his victim? This is a strange allocation of sympathy, and one that betrays likely animus toward the dead man, or, uh, something about him.”

    What I meant—all that I meant—was to indicate that a desire to ‘support’ Slager, and a fund-raising effort for this purpose, could very well be motivated by sound and clear ethic principles.

    “But why would someone’s first concern be the family of the killer cop rather than the family of his victim?”

    Who is to say that it would be, or was? One might assume that the family will not only win a huge settlement (this seems pretty certain), but that they will receive all manner of different support, more or less immediately, from all over the nation.

    The analysis and the attempt to locate ‘animus’ or hidden motive is necessary as I see things (I mean that we all have to use our intuitive skills) but the conclusion are highly speculative. Yet, if they are taken as equal to facts (in a sense you move in this direction) they would be potentially evil. I use the word ‘evil’ as you have used it in other places. (The CNN reporter and her bad journalism). Frankly, I have difficulty in ascribing ‘evil’ to things and people but give me time as I have been reading Ayn Rand 😉

    Myself, I cannot be certain of the motives in ‘supporting’ Slager.

    I agree with you that unless some particular fact comes out which would clearly indicate that the fleeing man DID pose a danger (I doubt this will happen but it is POSSIBLE), that it all clearly points to his guilt. Let us assume he committed homicide. (Yes, I refrain for using the term ‘murder’ because, it is true, I have a good deal of sympathy for the stress officers find themselves in. If that is an unfair prejudice … then I will have to modify it). But I listed various ‘possibles’, too. That he is not a racist. That it was a mistake, made in the heat of a moment. Those are reasonable statements. And if that is so, it does change what is implied in the term ‘murder’ to ‘manslaughter’. I don’t think that the difference is a trivial distinction. Not in the eventual plea of sentence. Not in how it is viewed by the public. Not in how Slager himself relates to and responds to his own act.

    I wrote: “If this is so, it is ethical to desire to help him as, in fact, it could have happened to any one of us.””

    You wrote: “What? We should help murderers because any one of us might be a murderer? The Golden Rule posits responsible, ethical instincts. Objectively speaking, as a citizen, if I commit murder, I want the state to prosecute, convict and punish me like anyone else. Gustaf is adopting the Golden Rule distortion, “Do Unto Other As They Would Like You To Do To Them.”

    I think you are engaging in just a wee bit of rhetorical twisting! I prefer not to say what you say I am saying. 😉

    What I said, to my ethical eyes, still stands as reasonable. Because any one of us can make mistakes, and have made mistakes, either small ones or even large ones, we have a reference that we can refer to. All ethics are based on all manner of different presuppositions and predicates. It is possible to describe an ethic that recognises that all people, in one degree or another, are errant, or have been errant. It is possible to describe an ethic which places that understanding at the forefront of the ethical system. Therefor, it is entirely possible that to ‘support’ Slager is to support him in what I can only assume are dark moments for him. I do not think I need to point out that an ethical argument can be made that, he too, may very well need ‘support’ on many different levels. To say support does not mean ‘protection from consequences’ or ‘excusal from crime committed’.

    Thus, again, an effort to offer monetary support quite specifically to this man is not, in itself, unethical.

  3. (I did not understand that the ‘Comment of the Day’ had a reply function. I posted this to the original thread yesterday and now post it here).

  4. This may be the surest example of Devil’s Advocate, but here goes:

    Could Slager have truly felt that his life was in danger? How could this be?

    One Possibility:

    1. Scott flees from Slager, and Slager gives chase.

    2. Slager catches Scott and a scuffle ensues.

    3. Slager tries to use his taser on Scott, and Scott somehow gets hold of the weapon and starts to run (see video, Slager may have even been shot with the taser ).

    4. Slager may fear for his life because Scott could fire the taser at him, take his firearm, and then shoot Slager (a taser can fire up to 25 ft.).

    5. As Scott runs he drops the taser (see video), however Slager does not realize this and fires on Scott.

    6. After shooting Scott Slager cuffs him and then realizes that he does not have

    What do you think?

    • 4. Slager may fear for his life because Scott could fire the taser at him, take his firearm, and then shoot Slager (a taser can fire up to 25 ft.)

      This is the weakness in the scenario. Scott is running away. 1) The longer he runs, the less danger the officer is in from the phantom taser, and 2) People almost never shoot with their back to the intended target, or if they do, they are not very accurate.

      This is a classic “reasonable doubt” theory, but it just isn’t reasonable enough.

      • Police officers may be authorized to fire on a suspect armed with a taser, irrespective of range. Was that true in Slagers case?

        The first shots are fired when Scott is less than 25 ft from Slager, and in taser range.

        This video may actually help Slager’s defense since it shows the precise timing of events. Plus, if Slager was shot by the taser during the scuffle it demonstrates to the jury that Scott was willing to attack Slager.

        Also, after the shooting Slager seems to be looking around near Scott for the taser. He then realizes that it was dropped back at the scene of the scuffle and runs back to get it. It might dawn on him at that moment how bad this could look so he retrieves the taser and drops it near Scott.

        Possible?

          • If Scott attacked Slager he committed a felony. That shows desperation. The jury could then judge that Slager feared Scott would attack him again since he just demonstrated both ability and inclination.

            It certainly seems like a case can be made for Slager fearing for his life, and juries frequently give officers the benefit of the doubt.

            All they need is one doubting juror. I suspect that this guy is a long way from the gallows, or however they do it in SC.

                • Nope. It’s Daily Beast scaremongering, and that’s all. You can find a whacko academic to argue that Slager will be elected Governor. This guy describes himself as a criminologist, which means he’s not a lawyer, and his analysis of those cases prove it, especially Graham, which is about arrest, not shooting, and was written to protect the rights of the arrested, not the police. It asks for an objective and reasonable standard, and shooting an unarmed man who had a warrant on him for a non-violent offense is not reasonable, objectively. If Slager is foolish enough to go to trial, his lawyer will try that silly defense and anything else, because he’s got nothing unless the DA over-charges, as in the Zimmerman case. Slager will plead guilty of manslaughter and get a relatively light sentence, or not, and get hammered. Stop trying to find sad Marrimac college profs who are looking for a spotlight.

                  • I just refreshed my memory on the other case this boob cites, Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). The Supreme Court held thata law enforcement officer pursuing a fleeing suspect may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” Probably cause is a high standard, and would only exist based on the previous criminal behavior or the present intent and ability to do harm. Neither would apply here—Scott never killed or insulted anyone in his life. He tried to avoid arrest. This is the kind of shooting Garner was written to stop, not allow.

            • Still, Scott would have had to initiate that attack before Slager can claim self-defense. Scott was running away. That is not INITIATING an attack…

              This isn’t combat with a national enemy, in which one instance of hostility may warrant killing any other time. This is law and order and individual attacks are seen as individual with STOPPING points when the current aggression ceases–in this case by Scott running away.

  5. Moe may be perceiving reality more clearly than others. It seems hind sight bias is playing a strong role in some folks’ analysis. Consider: Less than a minute before he was shot, Mr. Scott was running from Officer Slager (with a rather substantial lead). When Officer Slager caught up with him, Mr. Scott turned and attacked Officer Slager. When Mr. Scott turned to run again, Officer Slager had every reason to believe he might turn and attack him again (after all, this was his most recent experience with Mr. Scott). Officer Slager did not have the option of using his Taser as it had been expended (and was apparently ineffective). His only options were: (1) Try to catch up with Mr. Scott and tackle him (which would risk another scuffle and possible death to Officer Slager); (2) Shoot Mr. Scott; or (3) End the pursuit and allow Mr. Scott to escape (i.e., allow a man that just attacked a police officer to escape into the general population). It seems that Officer Slager’s fear should have quickly dissipated as Mr. Scott was running away, but this may not be the case given his very recent experience with Mr. Scott. Certainly, the adrenaline running through Office Slager’s veins had not dissipated, and it can be argued that the adrenaline was clouding his judgment. I predict either acquittal or conviction for involuntary manslaughter.

    • Wrong in every way. Neither you nor Moe are informed on the law of self defense or police procedures.

      It seems hind sight bias is playing a strong role in some folks’ analysis.

      What hindsight bias? An unarmed man is dead for scuffling with the police officer, running, and having an outstanding warrant. It’s called FACT bias—you can’t shoot a man for that. Not now, not since the laws were changed. CAN NOT.

      Consider: Less than a minute before he was shot, Mr. Scott was running from Officer Slager (with a rather substantial lead). When Officer Slager caught up with him, Mr. Scott turned and attacked Officer Slager.

      Yup, caught him and they fought. Happens a lot. The Police officer is not permitted to use deadly force unless his life is threatened. It wasn’t. The guy ran again.

      When Mr. Scott turned to run again, Officer Slager had every reason to believe he might turn and attack him again (after all, this was his most recent experience with Mr. Scott).

      Nonsense. Last time, he CAUGHT the guy, and that’s when he fought him. The officer had every reason NOT to fear that he would be attacked…the guy was running away! Are you serious?

      His only options were: (1) Try to catch up with Mr. Scott and tackle him (which would risk another scuffle and possible death to Officer Slager); (2) Shoot Mr. Scott; or (3) End the pursuit and allow Mr. Scott to escape (i.e., allow a man that just attacked a police officer to escape into the general population).

      Yes, and the law says the ONLY legal option was 3). It’s not in dispute. Cops can NOT shoot fleeing suspects in the back. This WAS the false Mike Brown scenario. That would have been homicide, but Brown turned and attacked him. The cop can’t shoot Scott because he’s afraid he MIGHT do a Mike Brown.

      It seems that Officer Slager’s fear should have quickly dissipated as Mr. Scott was running away, but this may not be the case given his very recent experience with Mr. Scott. Certainly, the adrenaline running through Office Slager’s veins had not dissipated, and it can be argued that the adrenaline was clouding his judgment.

      There is no “my adrenaline was clouding my judgment defense,” and why you think there is, I have no clue. It is a defense to First degree murder, but that’s all.

      I predict either acquittal or conviction for involuntary manslaughter.

      Anything is possible, but I wouldn’t quit my day job, Cassandra. Involuntary manslaughter when the police officer fired a gun at the man? That’s just silly. Do you know what “involuntary” means?

      • “His only options were: (1) Try to catch up with Mr. Scott and tackle him (which would risk another scuffle and possible death to Officer Slager); (2) Shoot Mr. Scott; or (3) End the pursuit and allow Mr. Scott to escape (i.e., allow a man that just attacked a police officer to escape into the general population).

        Yes, and the law says the ONLY legal option was 3). It’s not in dispute. Cops can NOT shoot fleeing suspects in the back. This WAS the false Mike Brown scenario. That would have been homicide, but Brown turned and attacked him. The cop can’t shoot Scott because he’s afraid he MIGHT do a Mike Brown.

        It seems that Officer Slager’s fear should have quickly dissipated as Mr. Scott was running away, but this may not be the case given his very recent experience with Mr. Scott. Certainly, the adrenaline running through Office Slager’s veins had not dissipated, and it can be argued that the adrenaline was clouding his judgment.

        There is no “my adrenaline was clouding my judgment defense,” and why you think there is, I have no clue. It is a defense to First degree murder, but that’s all.”

        Nope, #1 is a legal option also, as a matter of fact he is obligated to try to apprehend the suspect without further endangerment to the public. Option 3 is available if there is no way to accomplish option 1. What Otto doesn’t accept is that this is the very risk Police Officers *must* take in their job, is that an arrest may endanger them.

        But only at the very INSTANT that life-threatening danger is being COMMITTED to them do they have the option of deciding to defend themselves with life-ending force.

      • Ugh. As Tex points out below, #1 is obviously a legal option too. The point is #2 is NOT, no way, no how, not while the unarmed suspect who is not wanted for a violent crime is fleeing.

        I apologize for the error—writing too fast, as usual.

  6. Wow! I did not make any claim that option two was proper procedure, legal, right, or good. Still, I am confident a competent attorney with a few expert witnesses can persuade a jury that Officer Slager thought option two was his only reasonable option (whether or not it was), and that could be enough to gain acquittal or minimum sentence.

    • Ugh. If the police manual and the law says it’s not proper procedure, a lawyer cannot argue otherwise. If not following procedure get someone killed, that’s manslaughter at least. If you want to keep saying that the jury will ignore the law, go ahead. It really doesn’t happen very often, and lawyers are not permitted to argue that.

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