A new witness has come forward with information about the Walter Scott shooting. According to WCBD-TV, a woman named Gwen Nichols has also revealed that she witnessed the series of events that took place between Scott, 50, and North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager.
As a matter of fact, she’s also shared details about the encounter that took place prior to what most have seen in the dash cam video and the cell phone video captured by the first witness. Nichols revealed that Scott and Slager “tussled” before the fatal shooting. She was reportedly standing at the corner near the Advance Auto Parts store that can be seen at the beginning of the dash cam video. However, she described the “tussle” as more of a verbal disagreement.
“Before what you saw on that video tape, there was like a little tussle over there at the end of that gate down there,” Nichols explained. “It wasn’t on the ground rolling. It was like a tussle like, ‘what do you want?’ or ‘what did I do?’ type of thing.”
Nichols recalled hearing sirens all around. Since she was more than certain the scene would soon be flooded with more officers, she decided to stay away from the scene. So, she kept walking. However, she abruptly stopped when she heard the gunshots. During the news interview, she shared her reaction to the shooting and how she felt in that moment.
“I started to cry,” she said. “It could have been my son. It could have been any of these young black men around here.”
Although Nichols’ account is relatively similar to that of the first witness Feidin Santana, there’s one distinct difference in their accounts. Santana specified that he saw a brawl between the two and that they were on the ground. This reportedly occurred before they made it to the vacant lot where Scott was shot. According to Fox 2 Now, the variation of the two stories may be a strong factor when it comes to sentencing. Although there’s footage of the incident, unfortunately, neither video captures the alleged brawl.
Criminal defense attorney Paul Callan thinks that this information may be vital to Slager’s case.
“Defense attorneys will say this was a heat of passion shooting — (that) this was something that he did suddenly after some kind of an altercation, a physical altercation with a suspect,” Callan said. “And that would constitute manslaughter under law, as opposed to murder, and it makes a huge difference in sentencing.”
If convicted of Scott’s murder, Slager faces the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty.
Do you think the tussle will make a difference in Slager’s conviction? Share your thoughts.
[Image via WCBD-TV]