[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text css_animation=””]The other day someone mentioned to me how great it was that the relatives of Walter Scott had been awarded $6.5 million in a settlement for his shooting death at the hands of a police officer (Scott was videotaped running away from the officer who chases and then shoots him in the back. The office reported a different scenario surrounding the shooting).[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_js]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[/vc_raw_js][vc_column_text css_animation=””]Of course the news of the settlement was passed on to me as a moment of triumph – a sign that things are getting better and those responsible for taking the life of this young man were being held responsible by being forced to pay for their actions. But I happen to disagree with their point of view.

I am more of the belief that as a society we are the ones who are paying… twice, for the killing of Walter Scott and every other incident involving police abuse for which victims or family members are awarded money. When a member of our community is abused or killed by those sworn to protect them, we pay by losing a fellow citizen and whatever contributions they might have made. And when a settlement is reached between the city and the victim’s family to pay millions of dollars, the same citizens pay again, financially this time.

While I am not begrudging the families of the victims the money they receive – the worst possible reason for receiving money – I do want us to pause for a moment from our celebration and consider who is really paying.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner el_class=”” width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3533″ alignment=”” style=”” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” el_class=”small”]Walter Scott during his service in the U.S. Coast Guard in the mid-1980s[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner el_class=”” width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3534″ alignment=”” style=”” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” el_class=”small”]Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text css_animation=””]Of course those more knowledgeable about how cities’ finances work might inform us that cities take out insurance policies for their law enforcement members so that when the city of North Charleston agrees to pay $6.5 million it is not being paid by the city, but by the insurance company. But as anyone who has dealt with insurance companies knows, one of the ways that these companies make money is by raising your premiums when they are forced to make payouts. And when the premiums are raise on a city because of a $6.5 million payout where does that money come from? The citizens of North Charleston I’m guessing.

There are those who will argue that a city could raise revenues by taxing corporations or some other form of revenue generation that would not directly tax its citizens. But the simple truth is that any monies being used to pay for police killings are monies not being used for the betterment of the citizenry. However you choose to look at it we lose, both ways, twice. We lose when we kill our own citizens, then we lose again award families money for killing them – again I am not saying that money is undeserved.

Another example of double loss…

Several years ago our young man who was performing in one of my place was shot and killed by another young man. Eventually the shooter was found and convicted of the murder. When I heard the news I had the same conflicted feeling I experienced when finding out about the Walter Scott settlement. I was happy that both deaths would be avenged in some way, but recognizing that the cost was being paid by the very citizens who had already suffered the loss.

In the case of the $6.5 million we pay with money, while in the case of the shooting of my young performer we pay by losing the life of the victim who is now dead, as well as losing the life of the young man who shot him who is now in prison for life.

So while I am pleased to hear about the $6.5 million settlement for the family of Walter Scott, I am not celebrating because I realize that in spite of the best intention by all those involved, this is just a compounding of the unnecessary loss of a life.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center” style=”” border_width=”” el_width=””][vc_column_text]Feature photo: Images Money/flickr[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center” style=”” border_width=”” el_width=””][vc_single_image image=”3011″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle_2″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” img_size=”thumbnail”][vc_column_text css_animation=””]

Rickerby Hinds