Walter Scott Murder In South Carolina Mourned By Celebrities On Twitter, Officer Slager Fired From Job

The charging of a white South Carolina police officer with murder in the death of a fleeing, unarmed black man in North Charleston prompted celebrities including Avengers director Joss Whedon and singer Janelle Monae to mourn or protest the killing on Twitter.

Joining the online reaction were rapper Big Boi, Destiny’s Child alum Michelle Williams, actor and writer Andy Richter, Questlove, and more.

The outpouring comes after the charging of police officer Michael T. Slager with murder on Tuesday, after a video surfaced — which was filmed by a bystander — and which showed Slager shooting the unarmed Walter Scott eight times in the back as he ran away before placing a taser by the dead man’s body, The Post Courier reports.

Slager, 31, claims he feared for his life during the Saturday traffic stop in a statement that he released earlier this week via his attorney (who has now dropped the case). Slager said he stopped Walter Scott’s Mercedes-Benz sedan after noticing the 50-year-old man had a broken brake light.

During their encounter, Slager said Scott took his taser and ran away from him. That is the point at which Slager claims he fired his gun eight times. Scott was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Slager used the taser before he shot Scott and the two men wrestled, but that did not stop Scott. Slager can be heard on the police radio reporting the shooting.

“Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” Slager said, according to police reports. However, the video of the incident reveals a drastically different version of events.

The New York Times reported the following.

“The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.”

“Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.”

During a packed news conference on Tuesday, Mayor Keith Summey said that Slager’s “bad decision” led to his arrest. “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong.”

He continued, “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.”

Meanwhile, Slager’s former attorney, David Aylor, announced Tuesday that he would no longer be representing the officer. His ex-client — who had two complaints made against him during his five-year service history, including one from a man who claimed Slager shot him with a Taser for no reason in 2013 — is under investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The Daily Beast reports Aylor dumped Slager as soon as he watched the video. The outlet added Slager has now been fired by the North Charleston police department.

Sumney, the New York Times reports, issued an executive order on Wednesday stating that all officers will now be issued with body cameras. The police department reportedly also told reporters that Slager’s eight-months-pregnant wife will continue to receive health insurance.

Most of the celebrities tweets which follow below, allude to the previous killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York, amid allegations of police brutality which continues to concern citizens across creeds and colors.

At this point, the Slager murder seems like a message, a mafia thing, like it’s meant to shut people down or set them off. It HAS TO END

— Joss Whedon (@josswhedon) April 8, 2015

[Images TMZ]