During what should have been a routine traffic stop, horrifying video captured a police officer firing his gun 8 times at an unarmed man who can be seen running away from him. Now, that officer is facing murder charges.
Michael T. Slager, 33, claims he felt “threatened” by Walter Scott, 50, after he pulled him over and the man allegedly tried to take his stun gun. In a truly shocking video taken by an eyewitness, Walter turns and runs away from Michael — which is when the officer pulls out his handgun and fires a total of 8 shots at the unarmed man’s back. It is no surprise the video has sparked outrage among the North Charleston, South Carolina, and protests have already been planned.
Walter Scott Shooting: Officer Fires 8 Times In Shocking Video
WARNING: The video you are about to watch contains graphic images and language.
As you can clearly see, Walter, wearing a green shirt, begins running from the officer, Michael, at the :17 mark. You can see something hit the ground right as Walter turns his back and starts running, though it’s unclear what the item is — and whether or not it’s the stun gun Michael claims Walter tried to take from him.
However, one thing is indisputable: Michael shoots Walter in the back without hesitation, leaving the man to die in the grass. The video is incredibly unsettling, and when it surfaced two days after Walter was shot to death, Michael was charged with murder almost immediately.
The mayor of North Charleston where the fatal and highly unnecessary shooting took place on Saturday, April 4, was quick to release a statement condemning the officer for his actions.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said during a news conference, reports the NY Times. “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.”
This horrific video follows in the footsteps of a number of fatal police shootings across the United States, especially those involving a white officer and a black suspect.
Walter Feared He Was Being Arrested For Child Support
What makes this even worse is that Walter was only pulled over for something as simple and routine as a broken tail light that Saturday morning. It’s unclear why Walter was out of his vehicle during the stop, however, it has been reported that there was a warrant out for his arrest because of unpaid child support.
A lawyer for the family revealed in a statement that Walter was not only engaged, but also a father of four who did not want to go to jail.
“He has four children; he doesn’t have some type of big violent past or arrest record,” said attorney Chris Stewart in a statement. “He had a job; he was engaged. He had back child support and didn’t want to go to jail for back child support.”
Our thoughts go out to Walter’s family and friends during this very difficult time.
— Lauren Cox