A white South Carolina police officer is charged with murder for shooting an apparently defenseless black man eight times while running away; hitting the victim five times in the back then handcuffing him while slumped face-down to the ground.
The officer, 33-year-old Michael Thomas Slager from North Charleston, initially claimed that the victim, Walter Scott, 50, tried to grab his stun gun before running away; prompting the cop to shoot him.
Slager flagged Scotts’ Mercedes Benz over a broken taillight on Saturday, according to police reports. A brief scuffle between the two supposedly broke out after Scott attempted to snatch the cop’s Taser. The victim escaped to a grassy lot nearby where the shooting took place.
Slager then reported on radio after the shooting: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser.”
However, accounts of the event suddenly took a different twist when a video of the actual shooting emerged, captured by an anonymous witness. A copy of which has been provided to the victim’s family.
In the raw video, which begins from the vacant lot, there was brief confrontation between the two before Scott started running away. Wires, presumably from the Taser, were seen dangling from Scott’s shirt.
The clip also showed something dropped to the ground, what some suggested as the stun gun, as Scott, in green shirt, started to run. The police officer then pulled his gun and fired seven successive shots at the running victim, before shooting for one last time.
Scott dropped to the ground after the last shot and Stager approached and handcuffed the man. He can be seen returning to the place where he stood previously and picked an object from the ground. He then returned to Scott and dropped it beside him.
The clip also showed the victim as he remains handcuffed face down to the ground while Stager looks over before a second officer arrives and attends to Scott. While the police report mentioned about performing a CPR on Scott, it was not shown in the video.
Scott sustained five gunshot wounds – three in the back, one in the upper buttocks and one near the ear. One of the bullets entered his heart which may have caused his death, but it was not clear whether the victim died immediately as the coroner declined to release a report.
Scott was a father of four and he used to work in the Coast Guard. He had his own share of skirmishes with the law, having been arrested 10 times before. But records show they are mostly regarding child support row and failure to appear in court. (Click here to read more and watch the video)