Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark says murder charge against Walter Scott’s killer is only first step


Found on the website for the Libertarian Party

April 10, 2015

Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark released the following statement today:

“Mere words are insufficient to describe my outrage over the murder of Walter Scott by a man in a police uniform.

“A man was pulled over for an alleged traffic infraction and ended up dead on the ground, shot eight times in the back as he fled.

“Naturally, Officer Michael Slager felt safe from scrutiny, given the recent high-profile cases where courts have refused to prosecute police brutality.”

“But finally, the justice system is functioning as it should. Unlike the killing of Eric Garner – and countless more whose slayings were not captured on video – the officer who killed Mr. Scott has been charged with murder. He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“But we must also address the root causes of this injustice.

“One is the over-criminalization of American society. When you make something a crime, you are authorizing enforcement at the point of a gun.

“We don’t need men with guns going after people whose taillight isn’t working or who want to avoid crushingly-high taxes on cigarettes. The focus of law enforcement should be on those who do violence to others – not peaceful citizens who are harming no one else.

“Nor do we need to enrich bloated government troughs. Many laws allow law enforcement departments to keep the proceeds of fines they impose, creating perverse incentives to seek violations. The primary goal of police officers should be to keep the peace, not incite conflict.

“Another root cause is the practice of profiling arising from our country’s failed Drug Prohibition. Americans are finally waking up to the routine harassment, assault, and even killings that law enforcement perpetrates on people of color every day.

“The Libertarian Party has been calling for an end to: profiling, victimless crime laws, high taxes, and the failed Drug Prohibition since the party was formed in 1971.

“If you think ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter, if you believe we should stop criminalizing victimless crimes, if you believe that human beings should be free to live their lives however they like as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, please join the Libertarian Party.

“We need you to stand with us to make sure that there are no more Walter Scotts.”

16 thoughts on “Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark says murder charge against Walter Scott’s killer is only first step

  1. Stewart Flood

    It has been a bit tense around here most of the week, but at least the Mayor and police chief did the right thing and arrested him right away.

    Right now I’m about 3 miles down Rivers Avenue from where it took place. There were demonstrations that tied up traffic the other day. Obviously no one knows what would have happened if someone living there hadn’t recorded it.

    I’ve been stopped for having tail lights out, and I’ve also been stopped for having a head light out. They make you sit for 15-20 minutes while they check every conceivable database to see if they can arrest you for something. Of course I was let go, with a “citizen contact” form saying I had to fix the light that was out.

    The guy who was killed had some kind of arrest warrant out for him (I believe it was for child support?). There was obviously no reason to pull a taser or a gun. It doesn’t matter that it took place in one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the city. An unarmed man stopped for having a tail light out should not be killed.

  2. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    It should be unConstitutional to arrest or imprison a man for failure to pay child support. It’s another form of debtor’s prison — which is supposedly one of the reasons we fought a war against British rule.

    Of course, “liberal” feminists love jailing men for failure to pay child support. So do many “family values” conservatives. Both “left” and “right” support debtor’s prison when it serves their own agendas.

  3. paulie

    Thank you!

    I’ve been pushing the LP to say this sort of thing for years and years…. very glad to see you speak up like this.

  4. Stewart Flood

    I was at the barber shop this morning. I though that Walter Scott looked familiar, but I hadn’t been able to place him. Turns out that we go to the same barber shop, so I have probably talked politics with him.

    We talked about the shooting for an hour or so. Eddie, his barber, wasn’t in today. He had to go over and give Mr Scott his final haircut earlier in the week.

    We talk about politics and racism a lot at the barber shop. Most of my friends there think that the level of brutality is getting worse, and I can’t disagree. I suggested that the person who taught this officer to shoot should be tried as a co-conspirator and whoever passed him on his psych test should be an accessory. Maybe they would be more careful and not hire psychopaths like this guy if there were real penalties.

    I was asked if I was going to be at the rally tomorrow that Al Sharpton is speaking at. About the only thing I agree with Sharpton on is that this man should not have been murdered. I asked why Sharpton was being brought in, and they said they needed someone to represent them. I think that it is sad that they think they need someone like him to speak.

    There is a very faint, but firm undertone to the comments I have heard. I hope the police just stay away from the rally, but of course we all know they will be there in riot gear with tear gas and clubs ready to be used. This may not go well tomorrow.

  5. Stewart Flood

    What makes you think that is in the future? It is already illegal in several states to record police, and citizens are arrested. Why would we not suspect that some have already been killed and simply included as part of the incident report as a suspected criminal?

    Phones disappear very easily. The guy who filmed the murder in North Charleston was probably panicking because he thought they might come after him. It is a bit surprising that they did not spot him and detain him.

    Not all North Chuck officers are bad. I know several who are honest and serve with good intentions. But there are bad cops. There was another murder about a year ago by an officer that made the news. He faked evidence in a cover up. This type of event is not new around here.

  6. Nicholas Sarwark

    If we speak out, this time and every time against injustice and brutality, then maybe people won’t feel that they need to bring in someone like Mr. Sharpton to speak for them.

  7. Stewart Flood

    Agreed, Nick. Email me if you have any suggestions. Should I go to the Sharpton rally?

  8. paulie

    Court records released on Friday revealed that there was no active warrant for Walter Scott’s arrest before he was shot and killed in North Charleston, S.C., last weekendScott reportedly owed more than $7,800 in back child support and legal fees before the incident, according to court documents. He had served three jail sentences over late family debts and hadn’t paid any child support since July 2012.

    – The Hill

  9. paulie

    Should I go to the Sharpton rally?


    Wear LP gear and pass out copies of this news release to the crowd when you go. Bring a team of LP members to help if you can.

  10. paulie

    It is already illegal in several states to record police

    “There are First Amendment protections for people photographing and recording in public,” Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney with the National Press Photographers Association, told The Huffington Post. According to Osterreicher, as long as you don’t get in their way, it’s perfectly legal to take photos and videos of police officers everywhere in the United States.

    “There’s no law anywhere in the United States that prohibits people from recording the police on the street, in a park, or any other place where the public is generally allowed,” Osterreicher said.

    A number of states do bar people from recording private conversations without consent. But as long as the recording is made “openly and not surreptitiously,” said Osterreicher, it’s fair game. According to Osterreicher, “assuming the position of holding up a camera or phone at arm’s length while looking at the viewing screen should be enough to put someone on notice that they are being photographed or recorded.”

    Several high profile court cases have taken up the issue, and in each case, the judge has either struck down the law or ruled that the police can’t reasonably expect privacy while out in public. In March, for example, the Illinois Supreme Court declared the state’s eavesdropping law unconstitutional, saying the law criminalized the recording of conversations that “that cannot be deemed private.”

    So why do so many police officers still act like filming them is a crime?

    “Probably because they haven’t been trained otherwise,” said Osterreicher. “I think that there are many officers that believe that the minute they tell somebody to do or not do something, that that’s an order. But police can only order somebody to do or not do something based on the law, and there is no law that says you can not record or photograph out in public.”

  11. Nicholas Sarwark

    I would go if you can make it. I would focus on the condolences and our commitment to no more Walter Scotts. Listen more than you speak and express caring and empathy more than anything else.

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