The father of a West Point graduate shot dead by Las Vegas police in 2010 told Newsmax TV
on Friday that his son's uniformed killers embody a culture of lawless violence infecting police forces nationwide.
Author and retired journalist William B. Scott told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that one officer who fired on his son was never disciplined, despite shooting three people — two fatally — in his first five years on the force.
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Erik Scott, a 38-year-old West Point graduate and Duke University graduate student, in July 2010 walked into a Las Vegas Costco store wearing a pistol for which he had a concealed-weapons permit.
A store employee who spotted the weapon ordered Scott to leave for violating Costco's no-carry firearms policy. When Scott objected, citing his permit, police were summoned, and the dispute moved outside.
William Scott voiced no doubts Friday about what happened next to his son, despite the officers' exoneration and the failure of two Scott family civil lawsuits against the Las Vegas Police Department and Costco.
"We have about 23 witnesses on the record that have never been heard publicly," said William Scott. "They predominantly say Erik never made a false move, never did anything wrong. But the cops have on the order of four or five people who claim that Erik did make some kind of a move."
Scott, who wrote a 2013 novel, "The Permit,"
based on his son's death, said that his research into complaints against police shows that 90 percent of officers formally accused of excessive force "get off scot-free."
He rejected the counter-argument that police, because they are at daily risk of injury or death, need wide latitude to use deadly force to protect themselves and their communities.
"That is a false narrative put out by police unions," he said.
"Unfortunately, the facts don't back it up," said Scott, arguing that gun violence is overwhelmingly directed by police at citizens, and not vice versa, in the United States.
"In a typical year, no more than 100 to 140 cops are killed, wounded in the line of duty," he said. "However, just since January of this year, 2014, about 700 Americans have been killed by police officers. … The farther you go back, the bigger the numbers get."
Scott said that hostile policing is not solely a product of police "militarization" of the kind seen in a heavily armed, and armored, response to street protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed Aug. 9 by a white police officer, Darren Wilson.
"The bigger problem is that we have a new generation of cops, unfortunately, who are different than previous generations," said Scott.
He said this generation, raised on violent video games, is neurologically "wired" to shoot first, "and they prove it every single day."
He also said that poor screening and training of police officer candidates is failing to weed out trigger-happy recruits.
Scott said that while the facts of the Brown-Wilson encounter have yet to be determined, the violent demonstrations that followed prove "cops have lost their credibility across the nation. Nobody believes them anymore."
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