South Carolina police officer will be charged with murder after shooting man during traffic stop
A police officer in North Charleston, S.C., will be charged with murder after shooting a man during a traffic stop over the weekend, authorities said.
The decision, which follows a year of protests and demonstrations over excessive police violence, was announced by the city’s mayor and chief of police at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Authorities said the officer would be charged with murder after they viewed video footage of the incident that showed the officer shooting the man in the back as he was fleeing the scene.
This officer, identified by local media outlets as Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager, has been taken into custody, Police Chief Eddie Driggers said at the news conference.
“It’s been a tragic day for many,” Driggers said. “A tragic day for many.”
The shooting followed a traffic stop made shortly after 9:30 a.m. Saturday, according to a police report. After Slager stopped a vehicle, he began chasing the driver, described in the report as a black man and identified by local reports as Walter Scott.
At this point, Slager told the dispatcher, “Shots fired and the subject is down, he took my Taser,” according to the portion of the report filled out by another officer who relayed what he heard.
However, at least a portion of the confrontation was videotaped by another person in the area, authorities said Tuesday afternoon. The man who filed this footage took it to Scott’s family and it was given to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the agency investigating the shooting.
“I can tell you that as a result of that video and the bad decision made our officer, he will be charged with murder,” North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey said at the news conference.
The image is a screenshot from the video taken of the incident.