Citizen’s video prevented police cover-up of Walter Scott murder
By now you have probably seen the citizen video showing South Carolina police officer Michael T. Slager firing eight shots at the back of an unarmed man running from him. The victim, Walter Scott, age 50, died after being hit five times including once through his heart. Officer Slager is charged with his murder. (New York Times article with slow motion video)
According to the initial news accounts Walter Scott had been stopped for a burned out taillight but faced arrest for contempt of court for failing to pay child support. Whatever confrontation happened prior to the video is unclear, and at the immediate beginning of the video it looks like Scott or the officer could have dropped an object on the ground in front of the officer (said by some to be the officer’s Taser). There is also a second object that bounces on the ground behind the officer at about the time he is drawing his pistol.
What is clear from the video though is that Scott was running away from the officer, and was about 25 feet / 7 meters away when the police officer fired the first shot into his back. Scott kept running and the distance increased as Officer Slager fired off another quick six shots at Scott’s back. Then as Scott staggered, Officer Slager paused, took careful aim and fired a final controlled shot into Scott’s back. I wonder if that was the shot that pierced Scott’s heart because he went down immediately.
Police Officer does not behave as if he is fearful of Scott
Scott goes down grabbing his mid left side and only then does Officer Slager walk over and handcuff him. As he walks, the officer is not pointing his weapon at Scott and thus is not in fear of his life at that point. That is not the normal action of a police officer who believes a person might be armed. Even if an armed suspect has been shot eight times, any police officer would keep aiming at the suspect until the weapon had been retrieved and the suspect secured. That seems to indicate that Slager did not believe Scott had a weapon when he shot him. Read more