South Carolina Cop Charged With Murder For Shooting Unarmed Black Man
On Tuesday, a white police officer was charged with murder for shooting and killing an unarmed African American man in North Charleston, SC, The New York Times reports.
The man's name was Walter Scott, and he is survived by four children.
The officer in question, 33-year-old Michael T. Slager, initially tried to claim he shot the man out of fear for his life. But the incident, which occurred on Saturday, was captured by an onlooker in a graphic video that paints a different picture.
The footage begins with very brief confrontation, which police say happened after Slager pulled Scott over for a broken taillight.
The officer allegedly shot Scott with his Taser and claims the man then took the stun gun from him.
This assertion is quite dubious, however, particularly given what can be seen in the video.
After the very brief struggle, Scott runs away, prompting Slager to pull out his gun and fire eight shots at the man. It's a shocking and disturbing moment that concludes with Scott's motionless body on the ground.
And it all began with a routine traffic stop.
Nothing in the video suggests shooting Scott eight times was necessary, nor does it seem Slager was in any real danger. What's more, some reports claim Slager can be seen planting a weapon, perhaps the stun gun, on Scott after he was shot.
Here is the shocking and unsettling footage, but we must warn that it's very graphic:
The incident and video come in the midst of a nationwide debate surrounding police brutality and racism. This ongoing discussion was largely inspired by the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.
The primary difference in this case is the officer involved was arrested and charged with murder almost immediately after it occurred.
Unfortunately, this still feels all too familiar.
It's a narrative that seems to continuously play out on the streets of America: White cop shoots unarmed black male.
This is a complicated and painful issue that obviously merits further attention.
Citations: South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder in Black Manu2019s Death (New York Times), Officer Will Be Charged With Murder After Video Shows Him Killing Black Man Who Was Fleeing (Think Progress)