South Carolina officer Michael Slager has been charged with murder after he shot an unarmed Walter Scott in the back five times. However, it appears that this wasn’t the first case of “excessive force” filed against Slager.
The Daily Mail reports that officer Michael Slager recently made headlines after a video surfaced showing the cop shooting an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in the back as he tried to flee. The officer claimed at the time of the shooting that the man had struggled with him over his taser and he shot him because he “feared for his life.”
However, the video footage obtained by a witness shows a different story. In the video, the officer can be seen opening fire on the man as he is running away from the officer, not towards him. He has no weapon and is about 20 feet from the officer before the first shot is fired. To make matters worse, the video also appears to show the officer planting the taser on the deceased man’s body.
In the account provided by officer Slager, he notes that Scott fought with him over the taser, which resulted in the shooting. However, witnesses say Scott was simply trying to flee the area after Slager tried to taser him for no apparent reason. In addition to being caught in a lie over exactly how the shooting took place, Slager also lied about providing medical assistance to Scott at the scene. Slager claims CPR was administered, but at no point in the three-and-a-half-minute video does Slager or any of his colleagues administer any form of medical assistance to Scott.
According to the Huffington Post, this isn’t the first time that Slager has been accused of using excessive force. In 2013, Officer Slager allegedly used excessive force against a different unarmed black man. The complaint detailed how Slager burst into the home of Mario Givens and proceeded to taser him in the stomach even though Givens was not resisting arrest.
Givens recounts how one morning he was in his North Charleston home when he heard a loud banging on his door. He says he cracked the door slightly to see officer Michael Slager on his porch. He asked the officer what he wanted, and he simply said he wanted to come in. Givens said he never provided a reason but proceeded to push in the door and enter Given’s home.
At this point, Givens says Slager told him to come outside or he would taser him. Givens said he didn’t want to be tasered so he put his hands over his head and began to exit the home. However, Slager, for an unknown reason, tasered the man in the stomach anyway.
“Come outside or I’ll tase you. I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I raised my arms over my head, and when I did, he tased me in my stomach anyway.”
After tasering Givens, Slager arrested him for resisting arrest. Givens says that later he was released and all charges were dropped as the arrest was a case of “mistaken identity,” according to police records. Therefore, it appears that an innocent man with no criminal charges against him was tasered in the stomach by Slager as he attempted to comply with the officers demands. Givens filed a complaint with the North Charleston police department following the incident and was told that officer Slager would be reviewed.
However, despite the mistaken identity and taser to the stomach, the police department closed the excessive force case after an “internal investigation.” Givens says at no point during their “internal investigation” did they contact him or anyone who was present in the home who had witnessed the officer’s actions for additional information.
Givens says Walter Scott’s death was entirely preventable if the North Charleston police department simply would have taken his excessive force complaint against Slager seriously.
“It could have been prevented. If they had just listened to me and investigated what happened that night, this man might be alive today.”
[Image Credit: Michael Slager Mugshot]