You’ve probably already seen this—it has already had a couple days to go viral—but it is proof of what happens all the time.
Police officers rarely face criminal charges after shooting people, a fact that has played into nationwide protests over the past year over how the police use deadly force. “It wasn’t just based on the officers’ word anymore,” said Chris Stewart, an attorney for Scott’s family. “People were believing this story.”
Walter Scott’s father, on seeing the video, said it looks like the officer was shooting a deer in the woods. My reaction was that Slager was using the opportunity do do a little target practice. From the way that Slager strutted across the scene, he didn’t appear to be experiencing any remorse or shock at having just murdered someone in cold blood.
On Tuesday authorities pointed to the video as a turning point in this case and apologized to the family for the shooting. “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey said at a news conference. “If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield…you have to live with that decision.”
Summey and Eddie Driggers, the city’s chief of police, said at the press conference that Slager, 33, would be charged and arrested. Slager had already been fired. He was subsequently arrested by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the agency investigating the shooting, and booked into the Charleston County jail shortly before 6 pm on Tuesday. He faces a possible death sentence or life in prison.
The way this incident played out has forced the authorities to do the right thing. It is interesting to note the way that Slager brazenly initiated his cover-up attempt by dropping the Tazer after his colleague had arrived on the scene. It has not yet been revealed whether his fellow police officer backed up Slager’s claim that Scott had stolen the Tazer. The answer to that question will be an indication of how widespread the corruption is in the North Charleston Police Department.
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