A white North Charleston, S.C., police officer was charged with shooting and killing an apparently unarmed black man during a traffic stop after a video of the confrontation surfaced, authorities said Tuesday.
Officer Michael Slager, 33, is facing a murder charge in connection with the shooting death of Walter Scott, 50, said Mayor Keith Summey.
A video that shows a North Charleston police officer shooting at Scott's back at least eight times as he ran away led to the arrest Tuesday, Police Chief Eddie Driggers said.The officer then runs back toward where the the two initially scuffled and picks something up off the ground. He returns and drops an object near Scott's body.
"Where would we be without that video?'' said Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott's family, expressing relief that charges were filed four days after Scott was shot to death Saturday morning.
The mayor said during a news conference that as a result of the video and Slager's "bad decision," the officer would be charged with murder. Slager was booked into the county's detention center and was being held without bail.
"When you're wrong, you're wrong," Summey said. "When you make a bad decision, don't care if you're behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision."
DOES THE FAMILY OF THE DECEASED HAVE A CLAIM AGAINST THE POLICE?
I cannot answer in terms of South Carolina law, but under Arizona law, the answer is simple: Yes.
Earlier in the 20th century, governments and governmental entities were shielded from liability for wrongdoing. Similar to old England where"the king can do no wrong", governmental entities were immune from civil liability.
This is no longer the case in Arizona (save for a few exceptions).
For an egregious action like this by a police officer, liability is the rule. Ultimately, the amount of damages to be awarded the victim's family would be divided by a judge or jury.
A horrendous error, a life lost, and many lives harmed. Senseless and sad.
Our hearts go out to all affected by this tragedy.