Unit Three, Week Twenty-Four. Diving the Sunken Place: We Gather in Honor of Walter Scott
Updated: May 18, 2021
Teach Out Gathering Time
Sunday, May 16. 5:00-7:00pm PST
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/98440287294
Meeting ID: 984 4028 7294
diving the sunken place: intersectional histories, black aesthetics, and violence in american cinema
Walter Scott was born in 1965, in North Charleston, South Carolina. He served two years in the U.S. Coast Guard. After leaving the Coast Guard, Scott worked as a forklift operator. By 2015, the fifty-year-old was the father of four children.
On April 4, 2015, Scott drove his car into the parking lot of an auto parts store. As he was parking, he was stopped by police for a nonfunctioning brake light. After speaking to officers, Scott exited his vehicle and started to flee. An officer chased Scott on foot and fired his Taser at Scott. The chase continued into a lot behind a pawnshop where the men got into a physical altercation. The officer fired his Taser again but Scott ran away. The officer then drew his handgun and fired eight rounds at Scott. Five rounds hit Scott, including three in the back, killing him.
An eyewitness recorded the incident between Scott and the officer on his cell phone and later shared the video with Scott’s family and the local news media. Scott’s killing intensified the national debate about police conduct. Protests in Charleston intensified. Black Lives Matter organizers and others pointed out that local residents of North Charleston, a city that is 63% Black with an 80% white police force, had long complained about racial profiling and police brutality. A bill, named in honor of Scott, was introduced into the South Carolina state legislature, requiring all police officers to wear body cameras.
The bill is still in committee deliberation.
The officer responsible for Scott's death was indicted for his murder, but the jury remained deadlocked and the trial resulted in a hung jury. The city of Charleston eventually settled with Scott's family for $6.5 million after the officer pled guilty to numerous federal civil rights violations.
We dedicate this week's study and gathering to the memory of Walter Scott. May he rest in power.
*Parts of Scott's biography here were taken from Black Past.
our week twenty-four viewing
the last black man in san francisco (2019)
two sentence horror stories: "manifest destiny" (2021)
our weekly provocations
1. Discussion questions for "Concerning Violence" from Wretched of the Earth (1963) by Frantz Fanon
(we have been mulling over this piece across our gatherings since week twenty-one....we have focused on the reading, p. 1-52)