Once again I’ve re-watched the official body camera video of Columbia Police Sergeant Chad Walker in action. You can watch it here on YouTube.
Here are a few of my observations and thoughts. They contain racially charged words and comments. The words and comments are Chad Walker’s, not mine. I mean no disrespect to Black Americans. Every time I hear Walker I feel furious all over again. I can only imagine what my fellow citizens must feel at having to live with this every day of their lives, generation after generation.
I also use the word pig when I refer to Walker. That disrespect is very intentional. To any cops who might be reading this, I can only say, if the shoes don’t fit, don’t wear them. They weren’t made for you.
A pig walks into a bar….
Walker entered a bar to enforce a “no-alcohol after 11 pm” rule. Nothing out of the ordinary here (other than protests and a pandemic).
Once inside, Walker starts his enforcement with an informal, neutral-sounding comment made in passing to a white employee, followed by an equally neutral command to a white patron sitting at the bar on the right, and then followed within the same sentence, less than a second later, by a louder, warning command to that same white patron.
[To the employee] “Yeah, but you got alcohol,” [and then to a white patron at the bar] “Put it down, put it down!”Sgt. Chad Walker, aka, “the pig”
Note that the White guy at the bar, the one that Walker issued the “put it down” order to, appears to be the same White guy that Walker targets for abuse when he goes back outside.
Then, still in a neutral, courteous tone, Walker says to a second, White, customer as he passes him without stopping,
“Sir, if you drink that you will go to jail.”Sgt. Chad Walker, aka, “the pig”
Up to this point, Walker has merely taken a civil, business-like, perhaps stronger-than-necessary, tone toward the patrons. No problem. Except…
Except that Walker expected instantaneous obedience. I mean, instantaneous. Nobody, no matter how cooperative they might want to be, could physically comply in the second or less between Walker’s first “put it down” and his subsequent order “put it down.”
But let’s continue.
Still walking through the bar, Walker next passes a party at a table or a booth, the party including both Black and White patrons.
Now we see and hear Walker’s attitude harden and fast turn disrespectful. Watch the body cam video and listen to the implications of Walker’s comments, paying special attention to his voice inflections:
“your hand was on it, sir, and you’re a little colorblind, sir. Right. And stop calling me ignorant.” [all emphases in body cam video, along with the racial connotations, discussed below]Sgt. Chad Walker, aka, “the pig”
Note that Walker comments were directed solely at one of the Black patrons in the party. Walker wasn’t addressing the Whites.
And note especially that Walker tells the Black patron to “stop calling me ignorant.”
Later, outside, Walker will claim that this patron called him “the N-word,” and will then equate the word “ignorant” with the word “nigger.”
After Walker emptied out the bar, his only comment to the employees was,
“You’re cutting it a little bit short, guys. 11:00 o’clock and they’ve gotta be out of here. No alcohol open.”Sgt. Chad Walker, aka, “the pig”
Again we see distinctly more civil and respectful attitude toward the (White) employees than his attitude toward the Black patron he tried to pick a fight with.
Pigs roll in pig shit.
From this point on, Walker’s conduct is precisely what earns cops so much public disrespect, disdain, distrust, negative stereotyping, fear, loathing, hatred, and the intentionally offensive label, “pig.”
The body cam video outside shows one very out-of-control Walker the pig. Detailed observations of sights and sounds are easy, for the most part, because what’s happening on-camera and within microphone range is good quality and pretty well lit.
Once and immediately outside, Walker confronts the White guy who was sitting at the bar. That guy becomes Walker’s target, and he zeroes in like a laser beam. We observe and hear Walker the pig turn increasingly aggressive, abusive, challenging, and bullying toward the customer (whose physical behavior and demeaner are anything but). He confronts and threatens the man solely and explicitly because that man allegedly called Walker “a fucking pig.”
Walker raises his voice until he’s yelling without self restraint, at the target of his anger and then at then whole crowd. He steps into the personal space of the guy he’s abusing, intimidating the man to back up and freeze, body language suggestive of insecurity or fear. Walker dares the man to repeat the words that upset Walker in the first place. He insists that the man call him a “fucking pig.”
If the man really did call Walker a “fucking pig,” then I’d say that it was merely a statement of the obvious, a fact. But technically, it would just be a guy’s opinion.
And Walker the pig didn’t like this patron’s opinion. It hurt Walker’s feelings. He took it personally. And he wanted vengeance.
The crowd of onlookers constantly made persistent, sincere- and frightened-sounding efforts to deescalate the situation and calm Walker the pig down, throughout the entire five minute body cam video released by the Columbia Police Department.
Meanwhile, the other cops backing Walker up did almost nothing, until very late in the incident. They’ve been applauded publicly for finally intervening. But to me, it appears that they failed their professional responsibilities to protect the citizens they serve, in deference to Sgt. Walker, for nearly five increasingly dangerous, out-of-control, minutes.
They finally did the right thing, sort of. But they don’t get kudos for it from me.
By the time the other cops finally intercede, Walker has lashed out at the entire crowd like a shotgun. He’s irrational, aggressive, and very hostile; he makes dubious, childish, and irrelevant accusations of people calling him “a name;” hollers numerous racially disparaging remarks at Blacks; and repeatedly uses racial epitaphs.
Then Walker explicitly connects the words “nigger” with “ignorant,”:
“That’s what you’re calling me when you use that word, you’re calling me ignorant. That’s what that word means….”Sgt. Chad Walker, aka, “the pig”
Walker makes allegations on video about what a Black patron said to him in the bar and outside. I couldn’t hear the comments, but they’ve apparently been “verified” by the Columbia Police Department.
Regardless, though, Walker’s allegations that he was called a name first are completely irrelevant. They do nothing whatsoever to vindicate him or defend his conduct.
400 years of institutionalized racism.
This incident is yet another small incident in America’s 400-year history of racism and police brutality. It has occurred countless times in our nation’s history, and it still happens every day, all over the country. Mostly, to people of color.
Despite centuries of promises by politicians, police chiefs, and sheriffs to bring it to an end.
It’s a demonstration of why three-quarters of America has finally risen up in support of Black Lives Matter, and in protest against “the few bad apples.” Walker the pig is a text-book perfect example of a living, breathing, free-range, off-leash, licensed to kill, racist and abusive cop.
Except that, this time, the racist pig didn’t get away with it. Not yet, anyway. Thanks to the miracles of cell phones, social media, and the internet. No thanks to cops.
Abuse, racism under false pretense
This entire incident was the responsibility of Walker the pig himself. But it isn’t just an example of one racist pig. It’s a perfect example of institutional racism. We can watch it as it happens, in two readily visible ways.
First, Walker used the South Carolina governor’s alcohol order as an opportunity to prey on people he disrespected.
Ostensibly, Walker targeted the bar for strict, immediate enforcement of the governor’s order to stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m. That’s legitimate if heavy-handed.
But his enforcement and interactions were entirely aimed at punishing customers, rather than working constructively with operators of the bar. And his conduct toward the customers — citizens he swore an oath to protect and serve — was beyond reprehensible, and all-too-common in law enforcement.
Walker’s first comment to the bar’s employees was neutral, disinterested, and made merely in passing as he zeroed in on the bar patrons. His second and final comment to the employees was merely a polite but direct warning that “you’re cutting it close, sir.” There was no further effort to prevent a recurrence of the problem, educate the employees, or otherwise handle the violation in any constructive manner. We conclude that his intent was focused on patrons, not the bar. He was done with the bar. But not with the crowd.
He started an altercation, created chaos, attracted a crowd of onlookers, and attempted to escalate the situation into a brawl despite the attempts of many onlookers to deescalate it (which should have been the job of Walker and the cops backing him up). Walker intimidated and abused citizens while he was wearing a police uniform, a badge, and a gun; and had cops behind him to back him up.
Walker’s justification for his presence was a governor’s order. His uniform, badge, tech gear, and most of all his gun, made his conduct both menacing and official government rule. And he was protected by other cops who stood silently by, ready to reinforce Walker throughout his verbal abuse and attempts to incite violence among the people he was abusing.
All of these factors solidify this incident a classic example of institutional racism in government, institutional police brutality, and oppression of citizens that “government” had deemed unworthy of respect.
Manipulating evidence for his own defense
We also watch and listen to Walker attempting to manipulate evidence of his misconduct by narrating his own version of the incident as it unfolded and was being recorded on police body cameras.
Walker makes allegations on video that we, the viewing public, can’t readily verify. The alleged comments can’t be heard inside the bar or outside in all the yelling. And outside, the accused Black patron denies that he made the comment. We just don’t know.
On the bodycam footage, Walker’s allegations sound like lies. Unless people have skills and technology needed to clarify and amplify the comments of patrons in the bar, we’ll have to either take cops’ claims about what was said, or we’ll have to believe the patrons, or leave that as an unknown.
Since we actually hear and see Walker the pig trying to rationalize his conduct real-time in the body cam record, I flat out wouldn’t believe it if investigators later claim that his accusations were true. If I could keep my critical thinking cap on, I’d remain in the “unknown” camp. If I couldn’t, then I’d call them all White racist pig liars, and believe the patrons.
True or not, however, Walker the racist pig’s allegations are absolutely irrelevant and are no excuse or defense for his misconduct.
But we do know this, because we see and hear it happening for ourselves:
Walker the pig is attempting to narrate his version of events into the body cam record. He’s attempting to set the stage for defending his misconduct later on. He’s attempting to favorably manipulate the opinions of his colleagues and predispose the outcome of the internal affairs investigators. For Walker the pig has, by now, begun to realize that he’s going to be on the world stage, and there will inevitably be some hell to pay for this fiasco.
In the police body cam footage, we see and hear an abusive, racist pig try, and fail, to rationalize his misconduct to a crowd of onlookers. And then we see him switch tactics, trying to rewrite the evidence with an extraordinary live narrative that only complicit cops, white racists, or members of the Repugnant party would believe.
Walker did all of this under the color of law.
Walker left no doubt about his conduct, his racism, or his motivations. Despite the efforts of everyone around him to deescalate and avoid confrontation, Walker the racist pig was itching for a fight, and he was determined to start one. He intentionally created and escalated a dangerous incident under false colors, for his personal “benefit.”
- First he covered his conduct under the rubric of enforcing a legitimate government order.
- Then, by virtue of being a uniformed police officer with a badge, a gun, cops to back him up, and the apparent “full force of the law”…
- … he turned his personal grievances, misconduct, racism, abuse, disrespect, anger, hostility, and efforts to incite violence…
- … into official, institutionalized racism and oppression by “the government.”
- And, he attempted to defend his conduct by twisting the truth in official evidence of the events…
- … by narrating his dishonest and irrelevant interpretation of the incident directly into the official police body cam recordings.
Walker is undoubtedly very experienced and skilled at preying on people he disrespects. He thinks he knows how to get away with it, and he thinks he gave a smooth, convincing performance for the cameras. I have no doubt that it has worked for him, time and again.
Nor do I have the least doubt that Walker and other pigs have shared these tactics, taught them to one another, and learned them from one another. Nor that they have used them many times in their own careers, and have covered for one another in official reports and investigations.
Because that’s the dark side of cop culture.
And that’s why this incident can’t just be written off as the conduct of “one bad apple.” You can’t explain it away as merely an overworked or over-stressed guy with anger management issues or high blood pressure. True or not, that’s all irrelevant.
Walker used his position of authority to intimidate, abuse, and goad citizens, for his personal satisfaction. He tried to incite a crowd to violence. He tried to rationalize his conduct real-time (appears to have lied about it); tried to manipulate the video evidence of his misconduct with an outlandish, dishonest and irrelevant audio narrative; and tried to predispose his colleagues to accept his version of what they witnessed, instead of believing their own eyes and ears. (I wonder how many cops will defend his conduct.)
And his cowardly cohort let him act out for at least five minutes before any of them “stood up to him” in even the most pathetic, weak fashion.
That’s institutional racism. That’s the dark side of cop culture.
To me, Walker the racist pig and his cowardly cohort of sidekicks behaved for all the world like Ku Klux Klansmen without their sheets. His kind make me sick.
Piggy’s feelings were hurt.
I can’t emphasize this enough:
It’s utterly irrelevant whether any of these citizens did or did not call Walker any names. Not “pig,” or “fucking pig,” (my preference for him), or “ignorant,” (true but too polite), or “nigger,” or any other disrespectful term.
Cops never, ever, get the privilege of abusing their authority and power to “get even” when they’re called names. Nor when their feelings are hurt. Nor when they’re disrespected.
In democracies, we absolutely require all cops to have enough training, self control, confidence, mental stability and professionalism to always ignore such taunts. Anything less — any failure in this — and they cease being cops. They’re just pigs. Or, as in Walker’s case, racist pigs.
It’s a tough job with very demanding professional ideals and ethics. There’s a lot of danger and grief, and a lot of disrespect. But every cop volunteers for the job, and they all swear an oath to us that they can live up to those ideals and ethics, every day of their career.
Cops make a commitment to American democracy, and I damned well expect them to keep it. Failing that, they fail me. Far more importantly, they fail all cops, and they fail all Americans. They fail their families, their loved ones, and themselves. They fail their gods.
Every time a cop acts like Walker the pig, they bring lasting disgrace and deserved disrespect to all cops. And the harsh, “unfair,” critical judgement of the public lasts for a very, very long time. Generations. 400 hundred years, so far, with no sign of it ending any time soon.
That’s the rules of the game. Whether pigs, or cops, or right-wing militias, or trump’s MAGGOTs, or the Repugnant Party, or Good Christians, or anybody else, like it or not. Them’s the rules.
If cops don’t like that, they need to rid their profession of the scum they work with, or resign.
Like my Grandma used to say,
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.— My grandma.