Sunday, April 12, 2015

South Carolina shooting


Walter L. Scott (February 9, 1965 – April 9, 2015),[3] a 50-year-old black man, served two years in the U.S. Coast Guard before being given a general discharge for a drug-related incident.[4] He was a forklift operator, studying massage therapy, and the father of four children.[5][4][6] Weeks before the shooting, he became engaged to marry his long-time girlfriend.[7]
After the shooting, examination of Scott's police record indicated ten arrests, mostly for contempt of court regarding failure to pay child support or to appear for court hearings. He was also arrested in 1987 on an assault and battery charge, and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon.[1]


Michael Thomas Slager, a 33-year-old white police officer, and native of New Jersey, served in the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) for five years and five months prior to the shooting. Prior to becoming a police officer he too served in the U.S. Coast Guard.[8] At the time of the shooting, Slager's wife was eight months' pregnant with their first child.[8]
Slager was named in a police complaint in 2013 after he allegedly "tased a man for no reason". Slager was cleared in that incident, although the victim and several witnesses said they were never interviewed. North Charleston police said they would now review that case.[9] In another complaint in January, he was cited for failing to file a report after an African-American woman called police because her children were being harassed. Personnel documents describe Slager as having demonstrated "great officer safety tactics" in dealing with suspects, and noted his proficiency with a Taser.[8]


Walter Scott owed more than $18,000 in child-support payments and had a bench warrant for his arrest when he was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.
Scott's parents have suggested they believe their son fled from the officer, Michael Slager, because he owed back child-support payments and did not want to be arrested again. 

Scott owed a total of $18,104 in back child-support, the documents obtained by NBC News show. His last payment was on July 20, 2012, according to the paperwork. The bench warrant for his arrest had been active since a January 16, 2013, court hearing. At that time, Scott had owed $7,836 — but the amount had increased to more than $18,000 at the time of his death. 

The information in the documents appeared to contradict an Associated Press report early Friday. Citing court records, the AP had reported that no bench warrant had been issued for Scott. It also reported that he owed nearly $7,500 in child-support payments.
In an interview with TODAY, Scott's parents explained why they believe their son bolted from Slager before the deadly shooting. 

"I believe he didn't want to go to jail again," Walter Scott Sr. told TODAY. "He just ran away." 


The incident begins in the audio at about the 7:30 mark of the 30-minute recording as Slager calls in a traffic stop. He was pulling over Scott’s Mercedes-Benz for a broken light, police said.

Slager can be heard at about the 10:35 mark of the recording calling dispatch to announce he’s in a foot chase, describing the suspect as black in a green shirt and blue pants. The dispatcher then repeats his description and calls for radio silence other than transmissions related to the chase.

At about 11:05 of the recording, another officer says he’s in route to join the chase. Slager then tells the other officers of his new location and can be overheard telling someone to “get down on the ground.”

At 12:27 (9:38 a.m.), as the other officers try to find Slager, he says, “shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.”

Slager then says a minute later that he needs his vehicle secured. He says the suspect has gun shot wounds to the chest, thigh and buttocks and is unresponsive. He tells the dispatcher the scene, behind a pawn shop in a field, is secure.

Another officer, Clarence Habersham, then arrives and confirms the injuries to the victim. He says over the radio that they’ve started to provide first aid, including chest compressions. An EMS unit arrives at the scene at about the 19:43 mark of the tape, about six minutes after Slager called in the shooting.

In statements made before the video was released, Slager claimed he feared for his life after Scott took his Taser from him.

Police said Scott’s Mercedes-Benz sedan was stopped because it had a broken brake light, according to the newspaper. Scott ran away from Slager, who chased him. During the chase, Scott confronted Slager, his attorney said in a statement. Slager took out his Taser, but he said Scott took the device during the struggle, overpowering the officer and making him fear for his life.

Slager said he then fired at Scott because he “felt threatened,” Slager’s attorney said Monday in a statement.