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Body Cameras Can’t Stop Bad Cops


Body Cameras Can't Stop Bad Cops
Michael Slager standing over Walter Scott after murdering and planting evidence on him

AFRICANGLOBE – Raymond Kelly, twice the police commissioner of New York City, the second time for 12 years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, changed his mind about body cameras on policemen back in April, the day he saw Walter Scott running away from a trigger-happy white cop named Michael Slager in North Charleston, S.C., Scott not knowing he was running for his life until it was too late, running until one of the eight bullets Slager fired put him down for good.

“I changed my mind,” Kelly said Thursday, “as a result of a wanton killing of a Black man running away from a traffic violation. (After that) I said that you have to believe that no police officer wearing a body camera would have engaged in such a depraved act. Only now this case in Cincinnati has even proven me, and that theory, profoundly wrong.”

Kelly is talking about the death of an African-American man named Samuel DuBose, one shot to the head, gone, the bullet fired from the gun of a white University of Cincinnati cop named Ray Tensing, who said that he feared for his life, and stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

Slager in North Charleston said he feared for his life because Walter Scott had grabbed his stun gun off him, even though Scott’s hands were free of any weapons as he ran from that cop the way Black men ran from white thugs with guns, with or without badges, in South Carolina 150 years ago.

In Tensing’s police report, one of his last moments as a police officer, before the law said that he was the bad guy with the gun this time, he said he was forced to shoot the unarmed DuBose after he was “dragged” by DuBose’s car. Tensing stopped the car because of a missing front license plate that eventually got him the death sentence at Rice and Valencia in the Mount Auburn section of Cincinnati.

Only the best possible witness in this case, the camera that Tensing was wearing, made enough of a liar out of him that he is now indicted on a murder charge. He is indicted this way in Cincinnati because he is alleged to have murdered an unarmed man as if he had walked up and shot him dead in a movie theater in Aurora, or Lafayette, La.

After the indictment was announced, the Hamilton County prosecutor, a man named Joe Deters, said, “This does not happen in the United States.” You immediately wanted to ask Mr. Deters, even in his moment of outrage, to which United States he was referring, because shootings like this continue to occur in the United States, in Ferguson and Cleveland and North Charleston and now Cincinnati. Is he kidding? We do shootings like the one of DuBose better than almost anybody.

“It is just inconceivable to me how a functioning police officer could act like that,” Kelly said. “I believe we’ve reached the point where the whole selection regimen for police officers has to be reexamined.”

Kelly said, “Outrageous incidents like these have got to stop. Because they unfortunately confirm the suspicions of many that wanton murder is now the norm in U.S. policing. Incredibly, the officer’s body camera did not stop him from this horrendous act. But at least it provided evidence that quickly brought about his arrest and indictment.”

You see Slager firing the shots in North Charleston, one after another. You hear Tensing’s gun going off in Cincinnati, before DuBose is slumped in his seat and his car, one that Tensing pulled over for nothing, begins rolling away.

And suddenly we have all another black-and-white snuff film of American life that is tragic and real.


By: Mike Lupica


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