White SC officer charged with murder for shooting black man in back
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a black motorist after a traffic stop.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told a hastily called news conference that city Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager was arrested and charged Tuesday after law enforcement officials saw a video of the shooting following a Saturday traffic stop.
Authorities say the victim, 50-year-old Walter Lamer Scott of Charleston, was shot after the officer already hit him with a stun gun.
Slager’s attorney had released a statement Monday saying the officer felt threatened and that the motorist was trying to grab the officer’s stun gun.
North Charleston Police said Slager was arrested by officers of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
“I can tell you that as the result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer, he will be charged with murder,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told reporters Tuesday. “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. 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.”
The Justice Department also released a statement Tuesday saying it would “take appropriate action in light of the evidence and developments in the state case.”
“The South Carolina Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation concurrent with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and are providing aid as necessary to the state investigation. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with the FBI in the investigation,” it read.
WARNING: The below video of the incident, which was provided to The New York Times by the victim’s lawyer, is graphic and has inappropriate language that is not suitable for all viewers. Watch with discretion.
Both CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.