Michael Slager Shooting Unarmed Black Man In The Back In South Carolina
WASHINGTON — A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away.
The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled. The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening.North Charleston Police Officer Michael T. Slager, 33, can be seen shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott after a confrontation on Saturday, according to The Post and Courier. Slager chases Scott and shoots at him eight times in the video recorded by a passerby and obtained by The New York Times.Scott died there, though it wasn't clear if he died immediately.Slager reportedly told investigators that Scott had taken his Taser, giving the officer reason to fear for his life. Footage shows Slager saying, “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser.” Scott does not appear to be carrying a weapon of any kind in the video while fleeing from Slager. The video also shows Slager stooping to pick up an object near the scene of the original scuffle, and later tossing an object from his belt near Scott’s body.
Scott joins the list of unarmed black Americans whose deaths at the hands of police were recently documented on camera. In New York, bystanders filmed the death of Eric Garner, who repeatedly shouted, “I can’t breathe,” as multiple NYPD officers placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Grainy footage from a nearby surveillance camera captured the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was shot by Cleveland police in November while playing with a toy gun in a local park. A Staten Island jury declined to bring charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for Garner’s death in December. Rice’s death remains under investigation.
South Carolina has also seen its own share of policing controversies.