[UPDATE Sunday 2015-04-12. I've noticed that the story, as given below, may not be complete. I'm surprised that the core narrative as first reported has so many holes...but I'm still not sure whether the officer was justified in this instance. It's possible that Walter Scott had a currently-unknown reason to run from the traffic stop, and it's known that the shooting happened some distance away from the traffic-stop.]
In reading this story, I'm reminded of chats I've had with Police officers and former Police officers.
One of those is a distant relative, Officer J*. When Officer J and I had a chance to chat about the incident in Ferguson, MO, he was able to quote all the violence that deceased suspect Michael Brown had visited on Officer Wilson before Wilson shot him. I was able to point out that the bullet-wounds on Brown's body did not indicate a posture of surrender. Nor did the wounds indicate that he was shot in the back.
I remarked, at the time, that even a pasty-skinned white boy would not have survived such behavior.
Now I see the story of Walter Scott.
Scott may have had reason to be afraid of identifying himself to the Police. There isn't much news of a history of violence. But Scott had a record of arrests and warrants; most were related to failure to pay child support.
Scott's vehicle had a broken tail-light. A Policeman notices and pulls him over. Scott leaves the vehicle at a run, and the Policeman shoots him. Further, the Policeman may have tried to manufacture evidence about Scott taking a Taser away from him before running.
This is the kind of case that makes other Policemen mad. An officer shooting a suspect who does not present an immediate danger to the officer or to the public. An officer attempting to lie about the danger presented by the deceased suspect.
Fittingly, that officer is already imprisoned and bound over for trial on a murder charge.
I think this is good. Not because of the skin colors of the officer and victim, but because this is the case of a policeman being more violent than was necessary. And being punished for it.
And it is a case where an obvious Police misdeed is being punished by other Policemen.
[UPDATE: interesting. someone thinks that Al Sharpton isn't helpful in this situation.]
*An aside: Officer J is a mixed-race individual. He's had perps call him all sorts of nasty racial names. He's co-operated with good officers, with mediocre officers, and interacted with citizens of all stripes.
When he and I discussed the Ferguson situation, skin color did not come up. Which I'm kind of happy to say.
Interestingly, Office J and another former-Policeman present at that conversation said that it was somewhat common for one of them to see a jay-walker, yell "get on the sidewalk", and realize a moment later that the jaywalker was wanted for something else.
[UPDATE: forgot to finish this thought. This experience of seeing a jaywalker, and then realizing that the jaywalker is wanted, was exactly what Officer Wilson went through in Ferguson.]