By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~
A South Carolina police officer is being held in a North Charleston jail without bond and is being charged with the murder of Walter Scott. Michael Slager, a 33-year-old white police officer, was arrested on April 7 after investigators from the state of South Carolina said that Slager’s accounts of the shooting were inconsistent.
He is accused of firing eight shots into the back of 50-year-old Scott, an unarmed black man who was allegedly fleeing from Slager. Slager then arrested Scott as he lay dying on the ground. Slager originally said that he had shot Scott because scott had stolen the officer’s taser. This was found to be false when video captured on a cell phone by a barber, who was on his way to work, shows Slager planting his taser next to the wounded Scott.
Slager stopped Scott for a broken taillight when Scott told the officer that he was in the process of buying the car that he was driving, a 1990 Mercedes Benz, but it was not registered. An arrest warrant had been out for Scott since 2013 because of more than $18,000 owed in child support.
Slager told Scott to step out of the car, and a brief scuffle began between the two men. When Scott broke free, he began to run, but Slager shot him instead of chasing after him. The shooting comes in the midst of many instances of brutality by white police officers against black men and has sparked national attention. The White House has released a statement on the case pushing for all police officers to be required to wear body cameras while on duty.
“I think even the investigators themselves have acknowledged that when this video evidence was presented, it changed the way that they were looking at this case,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “I do think that is an example of how body cameras worn by police officers could have a positive impact, in terms of building trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”