A South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder after witness video showed the officer shooting an unarmed man in the back.
North Charleston officer Michael Slager will now be charged with murdering Walter “Lamar” Scott, 50, who died shortly after the Saturday morning incident. A murder conviction in the state could lead to the death penalty or up to 30 years to life in prison, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
The two videos that Scott family attorney Chris Stewart said were recorded by a bystander, whose name has not been released, appear to show the moments when Scott begins to run away from the officer. While the officer’s stun gun is not visible in the video, what appears to be a string is visible stretching from Scott to Officer Slager, where it was apparently attaching the stun gun to his clothing. Scott is seen running away from Slager as the officer proceeds to fire eight successive shots in Scott’s direction before Scott falls to the ground.
“I can tell you that as a result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer he will be charged with murder and that’s not something that we like to hear,” Mayor R. Keith Summey said at a news conference this evening.
The incident began with a traffic stop by Slager, who has been with the North Charleston police department since 2009.
Watch the video below and see if the police officer had reason to “fear for his life” as he fired the fatal shots.