Officer Charged With Murder Of Unarmed Black Man Out On Bail

Michael Slager. Photo: Courtesy of North Charleston Police.
Update: Michael Slager, the police officer charged with murder in the 2015 death of Walter Scott, has been released from jail after posting bail, CNN reports.

Slager has been held in custody since April. In September of last year, he was denied bail after prosecutors argued he may be a flight risk. On Monday, Slager was granted a $500,000 bail, with the conditions that he not leave South Carolina, and must remain under house arrest and not contact the Scott family.

Slager was arrested after a video of Scott’s death went viral. In the video, Scott, a Black man, is shown running away from Slager at a slow pace, before Slager opens fire. Scott was shot in the back and killed. The killing was one of many deaths of Black men in 2015 that helped focus public attention on racial injustice in policing, and contributed to fueling the Black Lives Matter movement

A court date for Slager has been set for October 31.

Originally published on April 8, 2015.

A police officer in South Carolina was charged with murder on Tuesday for killing an unarmed black man. The officer, who is white, was charged after video surfaced showing him shooting the fleeing man in the back eight times.

Protests have been planned for Wednesday in North Charleston, a city of about 100,000 in South Carolina where the shooting took place. CNN reports Wednesday morning that people have already begun to gather,

At a press conference in North Charleston on Tuesday evening, the killed man's brother, Anthony Scott spoke. "I ask that everyone continue to pray for my family," he said, standing with other members of his family. "We can't get my brother back and my family is in deep mourning for that, but through the process justice has been served."

Both Scott's family and his attorneys also expressed gratitude that the event had been filmed, suggesting that without the tape as evidence, there'd be no way of refuting the officer's version of events — and justice would not have been served.

On Saturday morning, officer Michael Slager, 33, pulled over Walter Scott, 50, because of a broken tail light. Scott ran out of the car and Slager chased him. The video, taken by a passerby, begins with the two men scuffling in a nearby lot. Scott begins to run, and the officer shoots him multiple times in the back — before running over to Scott and leaving an object by his body, presumed to be his taser.

In the police report, Slager said he felt threatened, and claimed in a police report that Scott took his taser — which is presumably why the officer "planted" the taser on the fallen man, though that's not confirmed.

The video was sent to the victim's family, before it was published by The New York Times on Tuesday — the same day Slager was charged.

In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Keith Summey said, “As a result of that video and bad decisions made by our officer, he will be charged with murder." Police Chief Eddie Driggers called it "a tragic day."

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong," Mayor Summey continued. “And, if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street — you have to live by that decision.”

Walter Scott was a Coast Guard veteran and father of four.

Correction: an earlier version of this story said the video showed the officer leaving his gun by Scott's body. It's not yet confirmed what object the officer dropped, but it's believed to be the officer's taser.

This is a developing story. We'll continue to update.


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