North Charleston, South Carolina – Officer Michael Slager, 33, has been charged with murder. This was based on video evidence that shows him shooting Walter Scott after a traffic stop, according to North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mr. Summey stated at a news conference. “If you make a bad decision, [I] don’t care if you are behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”
“Without the video… it would be difficult for us to ascertain exactly what did occur,” Summey said. “We want to thank the young person who came forward… because it has helped us resolve the issue.”
Slager’s original attorney, David Aylor, said that Slager had claimed he had felt “threatened” after Mr. Scott got hold of his Taser. Aylor is no longer representing officer Slager, and does not know if he has a new lawyer.
Slager is being held at the Charleston County Detention Center, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The FBI’s South Carolina office is assisting with the investigation.
The murder of Walter Scott comes at a time when tensions across the nation are already high, due to the Ferguson shooting of 18-year-old, Michael Brown. The Ferguson Police Department has since been found guilty of racial bias by the Justice Department.
Slager is one of 343 police officers in North Charleston, and this is the 11th officer-related shooting this year. Chief Eddie Drigger says he wants to show the public that the actions of officer Slager are not usual for their area. “One does not totally throw a blanket across the many,” he said.
According to the professor and chairwoman of the Department of Law, Maki Haberfeld, it will be difficult for police to justify the shooting.
“If somebody’s running away from you, it’s not like your life or somebody else’s life is in danger,” Ms. Haberfeld stated, however she also said she believes the charge of murder goes too far in this situation. “Murder should have some element of premeditation. I don’t think an officer who in doing their job makes an error in judgement wakes up thinking they want to kill somebody.”
The tragedy began as Slager pulled Scott over during a routine traffic stop for a broken taillight. Scott ran from the officer, who in turn chased him into a grassy clearing. Slager said that he had fired his Taser, but this did not stop Scott. Officer Slager’s testimony is contradicted by video evidence, which actually shows both Slager and Scott grasping at each other’s hands.
Scott is then seen running from the officer, at which point officer Slager draws his pistol and begins to fire a series of seven shots. Scott’s back bows, he then stumbles, and falls to his knees. Slager begins to speak into his radio while periodically yelling at Scott to “Put your hands behind your back.”
Scott was pronounced dead at the scene.
The “cameraman” is being hailed a hero by North Charleston Pastor Nelson Rivers, who is a vice president in Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Rivers made the statement, saying that he was alarmed at the ease at which officer Slager shot Walter Scott, saying that the officer showed little understanding of “what life means” and calling it “sobering and evil”.
Local county Councilwoman Dorothy Williams is asking citizens “to continue taping”.
It is important not only to the family that justice is served, but to the nation. People need to see that justice still exists, and North Charleston is setting an example.
In a statement from the victim’s brother, Anthony Scott:
“From the beginning, all we wanted was the truth… I think through the process we’ve seen the truth. We can’t get my brother back, and my family is in deep mourning for that… but through the process, justice has been served,” he said. “I don’t think all police officers are bad cops, but there are some bad ones out there. I don’t want to see anyone get shot down the way my brother got shot down.”
You want to support Anonymous Independent & Investigative News? Simply, follow us on Twitter: Follow @AnonymousNewsHQ
Bauerlein, Valerie. The Wall Street Journal. Apr 7, 2015. (http://www.wsj.com/articles/south-carolina-police-officer-charged-with-murder-in-shooting-of-motorist-1428448041?mod=rss_US_News)
- RT. Apr 8, 2015. (http://rt.com/usa/247697-south-carolina-cop-murder/)