North Charleston, SC police officer Michael Slager was recently charged with murder after bystander video emerged showing Slager shooting unarmed suspect Walter Scott in the back eight times as he attempted to flee on foot in an effort to avoid being jailed for failure to pay child support. Shortly after Officer Slager was arrested for the shooting, 33-year-old Mario Givens came forward and pointed out the fact that he had filed an excessive force complaint against Slager in 2013 when the officer deployed a Taser on him after mistaking him for his brother, who was wanted by police. Slager shocked Givens with his stun gun despite the fact that the alleged victim who raised allegations against Givens’ brother was on the scene and told Slager that he had the wrong man.
Meanwhile, The Post and Courier is reporting that another man has come forward with a complaint alleging that Officer Slager used excessive force on him during a routine traffic stop over a broken taillight. The August 25, 2014 incident, seen in the above-embedded raw dashcam video provided by WSCS-TV, started when 35-year-old Julius Garnett Wilson was asked to step out of the car as officers on the scene claimed that his South Carolina driver’s license was suspended. Wilson argued that he had obtained a valid Georgia driver’s license and initially struggled with police as they pulled him from his car.
An officer on the scene pulled a gun on Wilson, and he surrendered to police with two officers restraining him. At that point, around 20 seconds into the above video, Officer Slager deployed his Taser on the apparently pinned suspect, forcing his fellow officers to relinquish their grip and step back. Slager reported that he used the Taser on Wilson because the suspect would not place his hands behind his back.
The Post and Courier notes that the policeman that pulled his gun on Wilson, Officer Woods, said, “He almost got shot; I’m not lying, but he advised I was being recorded. I said, ‘Cool; you are, too.’”
Wilson, a felon, said he initially opted against filing a complaint but changed his mind after seeing Officer Slager gun down Walter Scott on video. “In my lifetime, I have witnessed violent acts by police officers… Without proof of such acts, the word of police officers is always taken over the word of the victims forced to endure their violent acts,” said Wilson.
Wilson’s attorneys John Gentry III and Nicholas Clekis have filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas against the North Charleston Police Department, Officer Michael Slager, Officer Brad Woods, Officer Jerome Clemens, and North Charleston Chief of Police Eddie Driggers, alleging police brutality. John Gentry III told The Post and Courier, “With all the media coverage in Mr. Scott’s shooting, the practices and procedures of use of force by police across the country is being brought into question.”
Nicholas Clekis told The Guardian, “We now have the fact that there’s a pattern of abuse of this officer; it gives more credence to the lawsuit.”