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Apr 09 2015

Feiden Santana Who Taped Police Execution of Walter Scott Is A Hero

The video of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shooting a fleeing Walter Scott in the back has been seen by millions. It has once again brought up a national conversation about race and police. The video was shot by a young Dominican immigrant named Feiden Santana. This young man deserves a tremendous amount of credit for having the nerve and tenacity to stay with the filming while he observed the assassination and later attempt at a cover-up.

Santana told news outlets that his attention was first brought to the scene by sounds of a struggle. He stated:

Before I started recording, they were down on the floor. I remember the police [officer] had control of the situation. He had control of Scott. And Scott was trying just to get away from the Taser. But like I said, he never used the Taser against the cop.”

Feiden Santana

Feiden Santana

He then began filming as Scott tried to run away from Slager and the rest is literally history. Had Santana not been there to film the scene the headline would have read: “Officer Kills Criminal During Death Struggle.” And Slager gets a medal for being Cop of the Year. If you think that it was easy for Santana to stay there and video the whole scene, you are dead wrong. He could have easily been shot, assaulted or at least arrested by Slager and other cops responding to the scene had they become aware he was filming. He told the news that he feared for his life when he turned the video over and still fears retaliation. He even thought about just deleting the video and moving out of State.

But I was overjoyed and filled with pride when he told a news outlet that what drove him to instead turn the video over was the realization that Latin Americans see the USA as a symbol of justice and that it was just wrong for this to be happening in this country. For most Hispanics -and especially Dominicans – the Police Department is a corrupt force that abuses its citizens on a daily basis at the behest of an equally corrupt and uncaring government. My parents grabbed me and my two brothers and fled the Dominican Republic over 50 years ago to get away from dictator Rafael Trujillo and his death squads. My parents didn’t have to think twice about where they were taking us, there was only one choice – the United States of America. Many Americans take for granted the role and symbol this country plays in the eyes of the world. But those of us who came here knew America could provide two things to ALL its citizens better than any other place in the world: freedom and safety.

Feiden Santana sought to remind us of that and he turned the video over to hold those accountable who do not live up to the standard he expected America to live up to. The Dominican National Anthem begins with this line : Quisqueyanos valientes which in English means Brave men of Quisqueya Quisqeyano Valiente indeed. Feidin Santana – You made us proud.

follow Oscar Michelen on Twitter @oscarmichelen

See Feiden’s interview here:http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/walter-scott-shooting/man-who-recorded-walter-scott-being-shot-speaks-out-n338126

5 comments

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  1. Gloria Wolk

    Throughout this nation Santana is hailed as a hero. He was right to fear for his own safety. So many in many states who filmed corrupt police abusing their power have been arrested and charged. But South Carolina is a morass of corruption, as documented by a former law professor who relocated to Washington state, as documented by J.S. Simmons, a private investigator and author of “Don’t Get Arrested in South Carolina< (before fleeing to Calif. for his own safety), etc.

    Santana still needs to be protected. Killer Slager no doubt has pals. They could easily set up Santana for criminal charges and innocence will not make a difference. Not in South Carolina.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      Yes he still needs to be careful but hopefully the media attention will protect him. And it seems Mayor and Police Department there see this for what it is.

    2. Kevin Postman

      Thanks go to Feiden Santana for having the courage to come forward. When police are so brazen as to shoot unarmed citizens in this manner, fearing for his own personal safety is certainly justified.

      It is unfortunate, in my view, that the discussion turns into a heated and unproductive screaming match about race. News reports make a point of stirring up race but that should not be the focus. The focus should be on prosecution of any cop who uses unnecessary force (lethal force) and suspends their good judgement in order to exercise their ‘authority’.

      In Pennsylvania, Officer Lisa Mearkle shot a man in the back while he was face down and had been tased. She paused 4 seconds between the first and second shots. She is charged with homicide and is claiming self defense. She stopped the man for an expired vehicle inspection sticker.

      In Inkster, MI, Floyd Dent was brutally beaten by several cops after being pulled over for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Video shows the cop approached Mr. Dent’s car with his gun drawn. It is alleged the officer planted drugs in the car to justify their acts. One of the officers had previously been investigated for similar actions.

      In 2010, Deputy Trisha Stratman was responding to a bar fight call, ran a red light crashing into a car driven by 16 year-old Brandon Jenning’s. He was killed. Data from the squad car showed she had been traveling 121 MPH on a road with a 50 MPH speed limited. (Negligent) She was fired but later reinstated.

      In 2009 a deputy in Texas tased a 72 year-old woman during a traffic stop for mouthing off and challenging and officer. Using a taser in this manner is equivalent to using a cattle prod to get someone to ‘show respect’ and comply. There are other ways.

      in separate instances in TX, women have been pulled over for speeding where officers violate them by conducting illegal body cavity searches on the side of the road with no probable cause. Nothing found… I can only imagine what would have happened if they dared to refuse.

      How long will it be before people can claim self defense after they kill a police officer during a traffic stop because they feared the officer would kill them first?

      1. Gloria Wolk

        I agree that the issue is abuse by police, all over the nation. And it’s not only physical abuse. The young man I am helping was kidnapped from North Carolina by a South Carolina cop who fabricated evidence against him (internet solicitation of a minor). The public defenders assigned to him just wanted to close the file. The prosecutor, at his appeal, misrepresented law as well as facts; the judge read none of his filed pleadings, and turned over the task of writing the denial of the appeal to the prosecutor. The victim, is white. But he shares characteristics of most other victims–young, indigent, etc.

        There are many similar cases in South Carolina. Corey Credill was sentenced to life because his assigned attorney had no criminal law experience, asked no one for advice, did not interview nor call as a witness his alibi witness. Credill lost every state appeal and when he reached federal court, for the first time he had justice. The judge appointed top-notch attorneys and he was exonerated.

        South Carolina is as bad as Texas and, in some ways, worse because of politics running everything and, unlike Texas, very few excellent criminal defense attorneys. Another thing about South Carolina–judges are appointed by the legislature.

  2. mike

    this guy don’t have to worry about his safety the FBI want someone to try to hurt this guy it would blow the doors off a bigger conspiracy and prove everybody right. just face it the proof is in the video they don’t need Santana Same for a black cop teach them a lesson send a message across the board

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