Civil Rights Attorney: Cops Shooting People In The Back For Years
Civil rights attorney A. Dwight Pettit says there’s nothing new about what happened to Walter Scott.
“What we’re seeing are the things that I have argued — and other lawyers, civil rights lawyers — have argued for years, and people just looked at us in disbelief — that it could not be happening the way that you’re presenting it,” Pettit said.
But the ready availability of cell phone video allows police misconduct to be documented more credibly than eyewitness claims, the attorney said.
“Through the ability of these things to be taped and to see them on television the next day, people are being shocked across the nation,” Pettit said.
The attorney said police nearly always justify shootings by claiming officers reacted spontaneously to a perceived threat.
“It’s the same defense — we know what the defense is going to be,” Pettit said. “The police officer’s going to say that, ‘I thought he was reaching,’ or, ‘I saw something that looked like a weapon, and so therefore, I was in apprehension of bodily injury or death, and so I reacted instantly.’”