A South Carolina cop was arrested on murder charges today after a video emerged showing him shooting a man in the back as he was chasing him.
Prior to the video materializing, North Charleston police officer Michael Slager claimed he had chased Walter Scott on foot Saturday after trying to pull him over for a broken tail light.
Slager claimed he tried to subdue Scott with a taser, only for Scott to take the taser from him before trying to overpower him, making the cop fear for his life, leaving him no choice but to open fire and kill the 50-year-old man.
And he would likely have gotten away with it had it not been for a pesky bystander with a video camera.
The video, posted below, shows Slager firing eight times from at least 20 feet away as Scott runs away, who ends up falling on the grass.
Slager then calmly walks up to him as he speaks into his radio, informing dispatchers of “shots fired.”
He then orders Scott to “put your hands behind your back” as he appears to drop his taser next to his body, most likely an attempt to plant evidence against him.
The video, recorded by an anonymous witness, lasted for more than three minutes, showing another cop arriving on the scene after Scott was already handcuffed. At no point in the video did the cops notice they were being recorded.
The witness did a good job of keep the camera trained on them without voicing any displeasure as we’ve seen so many people do in the past.
The video was so flagrant that Slager’s lawyer immediately dropped him as a client.
North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers also wasted no time in arresting him, calling a press conference today to make the announcement.
According to the Post and Courier:
The footage, filmed by an anonymous bystander, shows the end of the confrontation between the two on Saturday after Scott, who had a warrant out for his arrest, ran from a traffic stop. It was the first piece of evidence that could contradict a statement that Slager released to the public through his attorney.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry said Tuesday that he could not confirm whether the agency has the video.
“All I can say is that our investigation is continuing,” Berry said, “and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss any specifics at this time.”
Attorney David Aylor, who released a statement on Slager’s behalf earlier this week, said Tuesday that he wasn’t representing the officer anymore.
“I’m no longer involved in form or fashion,” Aylor said.
Slager has said through Aylor that Scott had wrested his Taser from him during a struggle. The officer felt threatened when he fired, his attorney said.
At the time of the shooting, Scott, 50, had a warrant out for his arrest related to family court, most likely over missed child support payments. He had a long history of arrests, mostly related to child support payments and contempt of court charges, but the only accusation of violence against him stems from a 1987 arrest of assault and battery, in which the disposition is unknown at this time.