In April of 2015, a white cop assassinated a unarmed black man.
Period. End of Story.
There isn’t any more discussion needed. Any facts you want to hash out, like the fact that Walter Scott was running away, are superfluous.
Terms like “appropriate use of force” and “doing it by the book” don’t need to be thrown around. We don’t need pathetic apologetics like “Being a cop is hard work!” or “This wasn’t about race!”
Even the liberals, for the most part, get it. Just as they kind of got it with Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. The bullshit American media tells the story in an isolated context, without telling the full story or asking the real question.
How do we conceptualize “justice”?
That’s the story here.
When a representative of state power murders a civilian, what are we going to do about it?
There is indeed no such thing as a “justice system” in the United States today. That ought to be obvious to anyone who even takes a cursory glance at the society (and after all, the state institutions simply maintain a society and provide some semblance of logic to it).
We could throw out the numbers about African Americans and Latinos being thrown in prison at significantly higher rates than whites. We could look at the use of the death penalty almost exclusively for black men. We could look at how “laws” are specified to target people of color.
The government has defined “justice” for us here.
“Justice” in the US means letting white people off free and terrorizing and imprisoning people of color.
But, of course, under capitalism, it is not simply a game played on race, but is much broader. The full scope of the American “justice system” is the marginalization and brutalization of the poor (comparatively).
Predominately, in the US (and throughout the global imperialist system), those who are made poor are those who don’t share the white skin of the people in power.
So the next question: do we accept this definition of “justice”?
Do we accept “laws” that are meant to disenfranchise people of color?
Do we accept cops who come into communities and shoot civilians?
Do we allow state oppression to engage in domestic terrorism (or international terrorism, for that matter)?
If we don’t accept these things, then how do we conceptualize “justice”?
And what are we going to do about it?