Last week, a shocking video depicting a white South Carolina police officer shooting down an unarmed black male quickly went viral, disturbing the nation. Amidst all of the turmoil, Al Sharpton praised a South Carolina mayor for charging the now-former police officer with murder.
The disturbing video shows a 50-year-old Walter Scott shot five times in the back while running down a North Charleston, South Carolina sidewalk. The police officer, identified as Officer Michael Slager, pulled Scott over for allegedly driving with a broken brake light.
A dash cam in Slager’s police cruiser show both men talking before Scott starts running away. Afterwards, an onlooker with a cellphone filmed Slager firing eight gunshots, five of which hit Scott as he attempted to get away. Scott fell to the ground almost immediately, and was pronounced dead shortly after.
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While Scott’s family respectfully asked that Al Sharpton not get involved in the case, it didn’t stop him from praising North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, who charged Slager in the fatal shooting of Scott.
“Rather than duck, the mayor stood up. Maybe now, between a Southern white mayor and a forgiving black mother, maybe this nation will deal with this.”
Sharpton also touched on the incident happening in the Deep South, and stated Southern states are being more proactive and taking actions that the North and Midwest are failing to do.
However, Sharpton was also quick to say that this isn’t a black or white issue, and he feels that black police officer Clarence Habersham, who was dispatched for backup, should also be charged since he took too long to get to the scene of the crime.
“If you lie, you go where liars go. It’s not about white cop, black cop. It’s not about black and white. It’s about right and wrong.”
While friends and family mourn the tragedy, the victim’s brother, Anthony Scott, told CNN about Walter Scott’s personality and past, which included a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard.
“He was outgoing — loved everybody, (was) very known in the community and got along with everybody. All the family loves him, and his kids loved him.”
Meanwhile, Slager, a five-year veteran of the North Charleston police force, claims that Scott attempted to grab a stun gun during the chase. Slager’s dash cam confirms that Scott did indeed run from the police officer, but it did not depict the victim reaching for Slager’s stun gun.
After the FBI, the Justice Department, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division reviewed the evidence, Slager was arrested and charged with murder. He remains in the Charleston County Detention Center with no bail.
According to the Supreme Court, a police officer in the U.S. may only use deadly force against a suspect if there is probable cause that the suspect directly poses a significant physical or deadly risk to the officer or others. So far, there is no indication that Slager was in risk of death or serious physical injury.
[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Burton/Getty Images]