Video taken by a bystander appears to show a South Carolina police officer shooting eight times at a black man as he was running away. Before the footage surfaced, however, the officer gave a seemingly contradictory account of the shooting.
The officer, Michael Slager, 33, said through his former attorney that he first pulled over a Mercedes-Benz with a broken brake light Saturday morning around 9:30 a.m. in North Charleston, The Post and Courier reported. The driver, Walter Scott, 50, then fled on foot, according to Slager’s account.
After reaching the Mega Pawn shop at 5654 Rivers Ave., Slager announced on the police radio that he “deployed” his Taser, but it didn’t work, according to a police report cited by the Courier. Slager’s former lawyer, David Aylor, didn’t say in a statement whether his client had fired the Taser.
A struggle ensued, according Slager’s account, and Scott tried to grab the Taser. Slager radioed the department to say that Scott had gotten ahold of the device, according to the police report cited by the Courier. Slager then “felt threatened” and fired his gun, according to the police officer’s account.
The video, however, shows that Scott had turned and ran from Slager before the officer fired his weapon eight times. It’s also not clear from the video whether Scott ever had control of the Taser.
Watch the full video below:
As Scott turned to run from Slager, what appear to be wires, most likely to a Taser, extended from Scott’s body to the officer.
Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men, and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.
A lawyer for Scott’s family said the coroner told him that Scott was hit with five bullets — three in the back, one in the butt, and one in an ear, according to The New York Times. At least one bullet also reportedly entered his hear.
The video goes on for nearly three minutes after the shooting. Neither officer administers CPR in the frame, even though the Courier reported that police said they tried hard to save Scott’s life. The backup officer who arrives on the scene lifts Scott’s shirt, and the footage ends with Slager checking his pulse.
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