A police officer in South Carolina has been charged with murder, after video emerged of him shooting an unarmed suspect in the back as the man ran away from him.
The shooting took place on Sunday, according to ABC News, when officer Michael Slager pulled over 50-year-old Walter “Lamar” Scott. Video filmed by an anonymous witness at the scene captured the fatal incident, depicting Scott as he runs away from Slager. The officer discharged his weapon eight times in Scott’s direction, hitting him four times in the back and once in the ear. Two of those shots proved to be fatal, according to Scott family attorney Chris Stewart.
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) April 7, 2015
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey cited the video of the shooting as the rationale behind the officer’s arrest and the decision to charge him with murder.
“I can tell you that as a result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer he will be charged with murder and that’s not something that we like to hear,” Summey said.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) April 7, 2015
Slager was taken into custody by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, according to Yahoo! News. The officer has been placed on indefinite administrative leave, a decision that was not mandated by law, but rather made by his department.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Summey added. “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.”
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 7, 2015
On Monday, Slager’s attorney had released a statement in which the officer alleged that he felt threatened, claiming that Scott had attempted to grab his stun gun. As of Tuesday, attorney David Aylor said that he no longer represents Slager.
Walter Scott’s death comes amid increased scrutiny of officer involved shootings across America. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, nationwide protests were sparked after a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
Summey thanked the unnamed bystander for coming forward with video of the shooting, pointing out that it would be difficult to ascertain the truth of events without the recording. Of the decision to charge the officer with murder, Summey said that “It goes to say how we work as a community.”
[Image via Twitter]