A white male police officer from North Charleston, South Carolina is facing murder charges following the shooting death of an unarmed black man. Watch the shocking video inside….
Earlier today, a white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder for the shooting and killing an unarmed black man whom he pulled over following a routine traffic stop on Saturday. And it is sending shockwaves thoughout America…once again.
According to the Daily News, the tragic encounter began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday when North Charleston cop Michael Slager pulled over 50-year-old father of four Walter Scott (who’d served in the U.S. Coast Guard) in a Mercedes-Benz sedan near Remount and Craig roads due to a broken brake light. From this point on, there is “the tale of the tape” vs. what Michael Slager claims happened in his incident report.
According to the incident report and statements from city officials (via The Post And Courier):
At some point during the traffic stop, Walter fled the scene and a foot chase over a dirt-surfaced road near a small park began. According to Officer Slager’s former lawyer, he got out his Taser to subdue Walter but the man took the device during a struggle. The statement says Slager fired at Scott several times because he “felt threatened.” Once backup arrive, police say they tried desperately to save Walter’s life until paramedics showed up.
However, the tape (which was delivered to Walter Scott’s lawyer and family via the camerman and then turned over to the NY Tiimes) shows something different:
When the cell phone cam picks up, we see Walter running away from Officer Slager and there’s a string hanging from his body (presumably where he’d been stung by the Taser). He’s at least 15 feet away from Officer Slager when the shots ring out. Eight shots are fired with four hitting Walter in the back and a fifth in the ear. AFTER the shooting, that’s when we hear Officer Slager radio dispatch. “Shots fired and the subject is down, he took my Taser.” He yells at the body, “put your hands behind your back” and then cuffs him. He cuffs a dead body.
A backup officer arrives and we see him lift up Walter’s shirt to check wounds, but NO ONE does CPR. Also, there’s a point in the video where Officer Slager walks away from the body and then comes back to drop something on the side of Walter’s dead body. It looks like it’s the Taser.
Full disclosure about Walter Scott. He has been arrested 10 times in the past, mostly for not paying child support. Back in 1987, he was busted on an assault and battery charge and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon. The Post and Courier newspaper In Charleston, S.C., also reports that he had an outstanding warrant in family court. These facts are important as Scott’s family believes one of the reasons Scott could have attempted to flee the police is out of fear of going back to jail.
The decision to charge officer Michael Thomas Slager came swiftly after the shockingly graphic video emerged. “It wasn’t just based on the officers’ word anymore,” said Chris Stewart, an attorney for Walter Scott’s family. “People were believing this story.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton told NY Daily News,
“When a black man is stopped for a broken taillight and ends up being shot multiple times in the back, it is yet another reminder that we need a national strategy to implement real and meaningful police reform now,” he said. “We simply can’t rely on citizens with video cameras to make sure justice is served.”
Walter Scott’s brother Anthony said told the Daily News that the family wants the truth of what happened.
“If we didn’t see the video, would we know the truth? From the beginning … all we wanted was the truth. … We can’t get my brother back … but through the process, justice has been served. I don’t think all police officers are bad cops,” he added. “But I don’t want to see someone shot down like my brother.”
This morning, Judy Scott, Walter’s mother, appeared on GMA where she said her faith has sustained her during her time of mourning (see video below).
“I feel sad for the officer who did the shooting, because he’s gonna have to give account for that. And I pray that he would repent to the Lord for what has happened, and we cannot move and act so quickly, we have to think before we take action and remember that we all have … that’s my son. And I’ve lost a son that will never come back. We have his memories, but he will never come back. And I pray that this never happens to anybody else.
When I looked at that tape, that was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen. I am very, very upset concerning it. I almost couldn’t look at it. To see my son running, defenselessly being shot, it just tore my heart to pieces.”
The Department of Justice announced that the FBI would investigate the shooting along with the department’s Civil Rights division and the South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office. We will update this report as more information is released….
Thankfully, Slager will at least be brought up on charges. As for whether he will be found guilty….time will tell.
Attorney L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for the family of Walter Scott, questions what would have happened if there were no video of this shooting.
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Photos via Reuters/AP/Getty