A police officer in South Carolina received a murder charge on Tuesday in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.
50-year-old Walter L. Scott was pulled over for a traffic stop when things went awry. According to the New York Times, Officer Michael T. Slager stopped Scott, who was driving a Mercedes Benz, after discovering that his tail light was out. Mr. Scott proceeded to run away and Officer Slager chased him, firing a Taser in the process. According to police reports, when the electronic stun gun doesn’t stop the man, Slager reported ““Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser.”
However, a video taken by a bystander has surfaced that shows the officer shooting an unarmed Mr. Scott in the back eight times. The clip, provided to the news outlet by the Scott family lawyer, begins just after Slager fires the Taser and it looks like wires are extended from Mr. Scott’s body. The two men scuffle for a moment and Mr. Scott begins to run away.
During the fight, an object was dropped or tossed behind them on the ground. Officer Slager drew his gun at Mr. Scott –who was about 20 feet away– fired, and after Mr. Scott’s body was on the ground, went back to retrieve the object and drop it next to Mr. Scott.
North Chaleston mayor, Keith Summey announced the charges through a news conference on Tuesday saying, “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”
Prayers go out to the Scott family