A South Carolina grand jury indicted former police officer Michael Slager on Monday for the murder of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Slager fired eight shots at Scott’s back as Scott ran away from him following a traffic stop in North Charleston on April 4.
As Truth In Media previously reported, Slager was fired and charged with murder by state law enforcement almost immediately after a video of the shooting surfaced.
The video, which was captured on a bystander’s cellphone, showed a different narrative of the shooting than what Slager originally reported.
An initial statement from Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor claimed that during a routine traffic stop, in which Slager pulled Scott over for a broken taillight, Scott fled the scene, and Slager “deployed his department-issued Taser in an attempt to stop him.” When that did not work, the statement claimed that “an altercation ensued as the men struggled over the device,” and that Slager “resorted to his service weapon” and shot Scott, only after Scott “gained control of the Taser” and attempted to use it against Slager.
In contrast, the video of the shooting, filmed by 23-year-old barber Feidin Santana, shows a different scene.
Warning: The following video contains graphic content.
The video of the shooting that was taken by Santana appears to show Slager running back to the initial scene of the altercation, picking up his Taser, and then running back to Scott, dropping the Taser next to Scott’s body.
Following the release of the video from the shooting, the State Law Enforcement Division of South Carolina released a video from the dash-cam in Slager’s car. The video shows Slager approaching Scott’s car, and notifying him that he is being stopped for a broken taillight. After speaking with Scott, Slager returns to his car, and moments later, Scott jumps out of his car and started running away.
While the dash-cam video does include the audio of the moments when Slager attempted to stop Scott with a Taser, it does not show video footage of the two, and it does not include the moments when Slager pulls out his gun and begins to shoot at Scott.
The Associated Press reported that Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson said that although Slager has been jailed without bond since his arrest, and faces 30 years to life in prison, if convicted, the death penalty does not seem to apply in this case because there were “no aggravating circumstances such as robbery or kidnapping as required under South Carolina law.”