On Saturday April 4, an unarmed Walter Lamer Scott, 50, was shot eight times in the back by Patrolman Michael Slager during a routine traffic stop in North Charleston, S.C. It has been reported by the Associated Press that Walter Scott owed at least $7,500 in child support, but there was no warrant for his arrest.
It was during this traffic stop that Scott decided to jump out of his car and flee. Not knowing that moments later he would be murdered. Officer Slager would argue that he feared for his life because Walter Scott had taken his taser and he shot Scott during the struggle over his weapon. The statement that the police released would also support Slager’s story.
In a video from Michael Slager’s dash cam he could be heard asking a senior officer, “What happens next?”
The senior officer replies by saying, “Once they get here, it’ll be real quick. They’re gonna tell you, you’re gonna be off for a couple days and we’ll come back and interview you then. They’re not gonna ask you any type of questions right now. They’re gonna take your weapon,” the officer says. “It’d probably be a good idea to jot down your thoughts about whatever happened … once the adrenaline stops pumping.”
Slager responds, “It’s pumping,” and then laughs.
If it wasn’t for a video taken by a bystander, Feidin Santana, that caught the incident on his phone, Slager’s statement would have been the official story. The video starts in the middle of confrontation and Walter Scott is seeing running away from Michael Slager. It is during confrontation that an object, may be a taser but not certain, falls behind the two men, and Officer Slager takes out his gun and begins to fire eight rounds from his service revolver. Scott was hit four times in the back and once in the ear.
The officer then walks towards Scott and yells, “Put your hand behind your back.” He then begins to handcuff him. After he handcuffs Scott, Slager is seen walking back to where the object fell, he picks it up and walks back to where Scott is and drops it.
During the Tennessee V. Garner case, in 1985, the Supreme Court found that the “police can’t employ deadly force on a suspect who is running away.” The case involved a 15 year old Edward Garner, who broke into a house where he stole a purse with $10 in it. The police officer shot the child in the back of the head so he wouldn’t escape. It takes three days for Michael Slager to be fired and arrested for the murder of Walter Scott. If it wasn’t for the gruesome video that surfaced it may have taken longer, or may not have happened at all.