The Mother of Slain South Carolina Man Walter Scott Has a Message Everyone Must Hear


Walter Scott, 50, was killed by North Charleston, South Carolina, police Officer Michael Slager on Saturday. The officer shot him multiple times in the back as he fled an alleged scuffle that started during a traffic stop.

The shooting was captured on a cellphone video and made widely available on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Scott's mother, Judy Scott, and his brother, Anthony Scott, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to speak about his death. 

The interview is a brief but devastating portrait of yet another black family forced to reckon with an unarmed loved one's state-sanctioned murder in America. Their grief is palpable, but Judy Scott's words are especially pointed:

"This has got to stop."

"When I looked at that tape," she says, "that was the most horrible thing I've ever seen. I almost couldn't look at it. To see my son running defenselessly being shot, it just tore my heart to pieces. And I just pray that this doesn't have to happen to another person. This has got to stop."

On Tuesday, Walter Scott's father, Walter Scott Sr., expressed a similar sentiment on NBC's Today show: "When I saw it, I fell to my feet and my heart was broken. It would never have come to light. They would have swept it under the rug, like they did with so many others."

There are no big statements from either parent, no grandiose rallying cries for racial unity or peace as authorities sift through evidence and debate whether a black man's life is worth the trouble of sending a police officer to court. In a way, that's already been decided: Slager is facing a murder charge, a rarity among recent police killings like those committed by Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. He was also fired from his job as an officer, CNN reported on air Wednesday afternoon. 

But even this feels like a hollow consolation. Walter Scott is still dead. His family still has to move on knowing he was shot in the back in cold blood by a man sworn to protect him. And the inescapable theme of their words is exhaustion — exhaustion, and the sort of wrenching pain that comes from realizing your black son, brother, friend or father is not among the lucky ones who passed through life without facing the wrath of an officer's gun. 

Walter Scott is dead, and this has got to stop. At this point, is there any other way to say it?