Only a few days after a South Carolina police officer was arrested and charged for murdering an unarmed Black man, yet another officer from the same state was arrested and charged for the same crime.
It seems the killing of unarmed Black suspects was a common practice among the South Carolina police officers. It makes one wonder how many other police departments are guilty of the same crimes.
The sad truth behind the latest officer arrest is that this officer almost got away with being charged for murder as a misdemeanor, if not for the recent Walter Scott recorded shooting.
A white officer in South Carolina who fatally shot an unarmed black man in his driveway in 2014 was arrested on a felony weapons charge Tuesday — the same day that officer Michael Slager was charged with murder over the shooting of Walter Scott.
Justin Gregory Craven, 25, was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, according to the state’s Law Enforcement Division. The North Augusta public safety officer is accused of shooting and killing 68-year-old Ernest Satterwhite in his driveway on Feb. 9, 2014, during a traffic stop. Craven fired repeatedly through the driver-side door of Satterwhite’s car after the victim had fully stopped in his driveway, according to the Edgefield Daily at the time.
Craven was arrested in Edgefield County the same day Slager was charged with murder after Sunday’s shooting in North Charleston, about 150 miles away. The cases share several characteristics: They both started as a traffic stop, they were both caught on camera, and both responding officers alleged in followup reports that the victims grabbed for the officer’s weapon.
In Satterwhite’s case, Craven said the unarmed victim “grabbed my gun” before he opened fire. A lawsuit filed by Satterwhite’s family — which recently ended in a $1 million settlement — denied that there was ever a struggle over the gun, according to The Washington Post.
Craven admitted to firing his pistol into the car. He was initially indicted by a grand jury for a charge of “misconduct in office,” a misdemeanor, instead of a manslaughter charge sought by prosecutors. That case is reportedly still pending, and Craven hasn’t worked in law enforcement since.
With the new charge, Craven faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $1,000. His attorney told the Post that he plans to plead not guilty.
The Associated Press reported that Satterwhite had an arrest record, but never for a violent offense:
Police records show Satterwhite had been arrested more than a dozen times for traffic violations, most of them for driving under suspension or under the influence. Most of the charges led to convictions. He also was charged at least three times for failing to stop as officers tried to pull him over. But his record shows no evidence he ever physically fought with an officer.
Edgefield County deputies who joined in the chase reported that Craven ran up to Satterwhite’s parked car and fired several shots into the driver’s side door, telling the other officers that Satterwhite tried to grab his gun. The other officers couldn’t get Satterwhite’s door open, so they broke the passenger side window, unlocked that door and dragged him out.
Wait so the only reason this officer was arrested was because Michael Slager got arrested? This murderer was going to get away with killing an unarmed man and only be charged as a misdemeanor?!
WTF is that about? Comment below #MakeAStatement