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South Carolina Cop Charged With Murder After Video Shows Him Shooting Unarmed Black Man in the Back

Video surfaced Tuesday showing a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, firing eight times at an unarmed black suspect while the man fled with his back turned.
Image via New York Times

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A white South Carolina police officer faces murder charges in the shooting death of an unarmed black man who fled during a traffic stop, according to local authorities.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced Tuesday that city police officer Michael Slager has been charged with murder over the incident, which occurred Saturday, April 4.


Slager initially pulled 50-year-old Walter Scott over for a broken taillight. According to the New York Times, Scott attempted to flee and Slager followed him to a nearby lot. The officer reportedly fired his Taser but it had no effect on Scott.

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Footage obtained by the Times and Charleston's Post and Courier shows Scott running away from Slager and collapsing after the officer fires eight shots. Slager said he feared for his life after Scott took his stun gun, the Times reported, but the video appears to show Slager dropping an item — possibly the Taser — near Scott's body after the shooting.

"Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser," Slager reported on his radio, according to police reports cited by the Times.

The video footage was apparently recorded by a bystander on the opposite side of a fence from where the shooting occurred.

The FBI and Department of Justice are reportedly investigating the shooting, in addition to a separate inquiry being conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

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