Walter L. Scott (February 9, 1965 – April 9, 2015) a 50-year-old black man, served two years in the U.S. Coast Guard before being given a general discharge. He was a forklift operator, studying massage therapy, and the father of four children. Weeks before the shooting, he became engaged to marry his long-time girlfriend.
The shooting of Walter Scott occurred on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, following a daytime traffic stop for a nonfunctioning brake light. Scott, a black man, was fatally shot by Michael Slager, a white North Charleston police officer. Slager was charged with murder after a video surfaced contradicting his earlier police report. The video showed him shooting Scott from behind while Scott was fleeing.
At 9:30 a.m., April 4, 2015, in the parking lot of an auto parts store at 1945 Remount Road, Officer Michael Slager stopped Scott for a nonfunctioning third brake light. Scott was driving a 1991 Mercedes that he had just bought from a neighbor and was headed to the auto parts store when he was stopped. The video from Slager’s dashcam shows him approaching Scott’s car, speaking to Scott, and then returning to his patrol car. Scott exited his car and fled, and Slager gave chase.
Slager fired his Taser at Scott, according to the incident report and city officials, and police said Scott was hit at least once. Scott then fled again, and Slager drew his handgun and fired eight rounds at Scott from behind. A lawyer for Scott’s family said the coroner had told him that Scott was struck five times—three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks, and once in the ear, with at least one bullet entering his heart. Immediately after the shooting, Slager told the dispatcher, “Shots fired and the subject is down.
When Slager fires, Scott was at least to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. In the report of the shooting, filed before the video surfaced, Slager said he had feared for his life because Scott had taken his Taser, and that he had shot Scott several times because he “felt threatened”.
An unidentified passenger in the car when Scott was pulled over was later detained and placed in the back of a police vehicle.
An eyewitness to the shooting, Feidin Santana, recorded video of the incident on his phone. The video was subsequently shared with Scott’s family through an activist of Black Lives Matter, and later with the news media. Santana said after a struggle, in which Slager deployed his Taser, Scott was “just trying to get away” from the Taser, and before he started recording he observed Slager “had control of the situation”. In an interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show, Santana said Scott “never grabbed the Taser of the police. He never got the Taser.”
According to the video, after Scott dropped to the ground, Slager approached him, repeatedly instructed him to place his hands behind his back, and handcuffed him, leaving him face down on the ground. Police reports said that officers performed CPR on Scott, although no such action is visible on the video. The video shows that Slager ran back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picked something up off the ground, believed to be the taser gun. Moments later, he dropped the same object near Scott’s body. Another officer is seen in the video at that time; he puts on latex gloves and appears to examine Scott. This 2nd Officer does not perform CPR aither.
After police reviewed the video, Slager was arrested on April 7 and charged with first degree murder. He is being held without bail. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 30 years to life in prison or the death penalty.
On April 8, the North Charleston city manager announced that the NCPD had fired Slager but would continue to pay for his health insurance because his wife was pregnant. The town’s mayor, Keith Summey, said they had ordered an additional 150 body cameras, enough that one can be worn by every police officer.
A GoFundMe campaign was started to raise money for Slager’s defense, but it was quickly shut down by the site. Citing privacy concerns, they declined to go into detail about why the campaign was cancelled, saying only that it was “due to a violation of our terms and conditions”.Indiegogo Also was forced to shutdown their donation page for Slagers defense.
Scott’s funeral took place on April 11, 2015 at the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, about 20 miles from North Charleston.
The FBI, the U.S. Attorney in South Carolina and the Justice Department’s civil rights division are investigating Scott’s killing. The case will be independently investigated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the U.S. Attorney in South Carolina, and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will conduct their own investigations.
A dashcam video released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency on Thursday shows the moments before 50-year-old Walter Scott was fatally shot by Officer Michael Slager.
The video shows Slager pulling over Scott’s car and asking a series of questions before Scott opens his car door and runs away.
Slager initially pulled Scott over for a broken taillight on his Mercedes sedan. In the footage, Slager approaches the driver-side window and asks Scott to provide his license and additional paperwork. Scott complies and hands over his license, but he then says that he does not have registration or insurance information for the vehicle because he is in the process of buying the car.
After a brief exchange, Slager is seen walking back to his car with Scott’s license while Scott and a passenger wait. When Slager returns to the police car, Scott attempts to exit the vehicle before he is ordered back inside.
Moments later, Scott opens the door again, this time running off into the distance.
The dash cam footage does not capture where he goes, but it includes audio of Slager yelling after him.
The passenger remains in the vehicle as Slager alerts the dispatcher and calls for backup.
Thom Berry, a spokesman for the State Law Enforcement Division, told USA Today that there are several dashcam videos from the cars of officers who responded to the scene, but that none of them captured the shooting.
“I have been told that none of the (dashboard) cameras have the incident itself,” Berry said. “Most of it will be driving to the scene, parking the vehicles.”
SLED is currently conducting an investigation into the case and is reviewing “potentially hours of video,” Berry said.
The bystander who recorded a South Carolina officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man eight times said the cop had control of the situation before he pulled out his gun, and that he had not heard the officer give a warning before he fired.
In an interview with NBC News, the witness, Feidin Santana, said he could hear North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager deploying his Taser on Walter Scott when he pulled out his camera phone. He said the two were on the ground before he started filming.
“I remember the police had control of the situation,” Santana said during the interview. “You can hear the sound of a Taser… I believe [Scott] was just trying to get away from the Taser.”
n a separate interview with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin, Santana said he did not hear the officer say anything before he fired his gun. Santana said he did not hear Scott say anything during the incident.
Slager was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder after the shooting, which occurred during a traffic stop on Saturday. Slager was charged only after the video was released, and the footage pulled the officer’s own account of the incident into question.
Audio of Slager’s call to dispatch was released today, and there are clear discrepancies between that audio and Santana’s footage. Slager said he felt threatened because Scott allegedly reached for his Taser. Video evidence shows Slager dropping an object near Scott’s body after the shooting.
Santana has reportedly said he waited to release the footage to see how Slager would report his actions.
“He wanted to see what reports were coming from the North Charleston Police Department because of the fact that they may have told the truth,” Walter Scott’s brother told TIME on Wednesday. “And when they continued with the lies, he said, ‘I have to come forward.’”
Santana told MSNBC’s Melvin that he read the police report and took issue with its account of what happened. Santana said that he went to the police station following the shooting to inform them that he had witnessed and recorded it. After being told to wait, Santana left without handing any information to the police after reconsidering the situation. Santana told Melvin that he didn’t believe police would properly handle the video which prompted him to give it to Scott’s family.
Santana also said he almost erased the footage, fearing that he’d be “in the same danger” for even possessing it. He told NBC News that he’s emotional for everyone involved.
“It’s not something that anyone can feel good about,” he said. “[Slager] has his family… but he made a bad decision and you pay for your decisions in this life. There are other ways he could have used to get [Scott] arrested.”
North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager was charged Tuesday with murder after video emerged that shows the officer shooting at Scott as he flees following a traffic stop. Scott falls after the eighth shot. Slager has said he fired in self-defense.
Officer Michael Slager Mother Speaks Out
It’s important to understand; to everyone else Michael Slager is “somebody else’s kid” but I’m having a hard time believing she’s doing anything more than attempting to sway the public with her “what is portrayed of him” statement. Her extremely melodramatic style, wiping away non-existent tears, tilting her head up slightly and speaking directly to the camera gives me the impression of “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
Dissecting the Walter Scott Shooting
UPDATE April 13, 2015 Officer Michael Slager Heard Laughing After Shooting Walter Scott
Michael Slager, the South Carolina police officer caught on video shooting an unarmed black man who was running away after a traffic stop, is reportedly heard in new audio laughing about his “pumping” adrenaline immediately after the incident.
The audio was obtained by The Guardian newspaper, which said it came from the dashcam of Slager’s police cruiser and was recorded in the hour after he shot and killed 50-year-old Walter Scott on April 4.
In the recording, a man the paper identified as Slager can be heard asking an unnamed senior officer what would happen next.
“They’re gonna tell you you’re gonna be out for a couple of days and we’ll come back and interview you then,” the senior officer is heard saying in the clip. “They’re not going to ask you any kind of questions right now. They’ll take your weapon and we’ll go from there. That’s pretty much it.”
The senior officer also urged Slager to write down his recollections of the incident.
“The last one we had, they waited a couple of days to interview officially, like, sit down and tell what happened. By the time you get home, it would probably be a good idea to kind of jot down your thoughts on what happened,” he advised. “You know, once the adrenaline quits pumping.”
“It’s pumping,” Slager said, laughing as he spoke.
The dashcam caught the early moments of the incident, in which Slager pulled Walter Scott over for a broken taillight. It did not capture the shooting, which happened outside the view of the dashcam but was recorded by an eyewitness.
A spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating the shooting, told the Guardian that they have not been able to independently confirm the audio but said that “it appears” to be Slager.
Slager was fired and has been charged with murder.
AUDIO: Suspect Is Down’ Recording As Policeman Chases Walter Lamer Scott
Proir to the video being released: according to Officer Slager’s attorney David Aylor: Scott ran away from Slager, who chased him. During the chase, Scott confronted Slager. Slager took out his Taser, but he said Scott took the device during the struggle, overpowering the officer and making him fear for his life. Slager said he then fired at Scott because he “felt threatened,” Slager’s attorney said Monday in a statement.
Attorney David Aylor “This is a very tragic event for all of the families”. “I believe once the community hears all the facts of this shooting, they’ll have a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding this investigation.”
2 days later Attorney David Aylor released a statement: “I am no longer Slager’s attorney. Today, I withdrew my representation of Michael Slager.