In the wake of Walter Scott’s execution at the hands of 33-year-old Officer Michael Slager, TIME Magazine has joined the conversation and made the bold (and truthful) declaration that black lives matter.
On the cover of TIME‘s latest issue, we see the image of Mr. Scott fleeing as Officer Slager points his gun and fires eight times in his direction, striking him five times. The words “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” bold, in white and set against a black backdrop, hover above the disturbing image – an image that has both captivated and moved an entire nation.
David Von Drehle penned the cover story, aptly titled In the Line of Fire.
Read the introduction below.
“On a clear Saturday morning in North Charleston, S.C., a police officer drew his .45 caliber Glock service sidearm, braced his arms in a shooter’s stance, drew a bead on a fleeing suspect and fired.
Not once. Not twice. Eight times. The sound was almost like a string of firecrackers. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. Then, after the briefest of pauses, one more pop. Somehow, Walter Lamer Scott, 50, managed to keep moving away from the lead hailstorm, but the last shot finally crumpled him. He died a short time later with multiple bullets in his back.
We know all this because millions of people carry smartphone cameras, and one of them was standing on the other side of a chain-link fence. We also know that the officer, Michael Thomas Slager, is a white man of 33. And that Scott was an unarmed black man whose brake light was malfunctioning.
These bits of knowledge add up to something catalytic in America’s painful examination of the way black men are treated by law enforcement. What happened across the fence from that video camera was the thing in its ugliest form: a man running away, an officer in no apparent danger, an unrestrained use of force. After the man was down, the officer appeared to place something–perhaps the officer’s Taser–beside the dying body. When the video surfaced three days after the April 4 killing, Slager was arrested and charged with murder, a crime punishable in South Carolina by life in prison or the death penalty.”
You can check out the rest of the story here.
The full issue hits newsstands April 20.