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Sat, 04.04.2015

A White Policeman Shoots an Unarmed Black Man in the Back

*On this date in 2015, a white-American police officer killed another unarmed Black man.

Walter Scott, a Black forklift operator, was shot six times in the back in North Charleston, South Carolina, by police officer Michael Thomas Slager. Scott was driving his car to an auto parts store that morning; his brothers said when a North Charleston policeman pulled him over for what the officer told him was a bad taillight. With flashing lights in his rearview mirror, Scott called his mother to say he might be headed back to jail. "He wanted to let her know he was getting pulled over and the way this was going, he'd probably be getting arrested," said Anthony Scott, his older brother. "In other words: 'Get ready to come and get me.'"

Video recorded by a bystander captures the officer firing eight shots at the fleeing man. Slager had initially said Scott was shot in a scuffle over the officer's stun gun. Scott grew up in the Charleston area, where his parents still live in the house they bought in 1969; he spent two years in the coast guard. Charleston police records show Scott was arrested in September 1987 on a charge of assault and battery. Slager said Scott shoved him after he tried to break up a fight between Scott and another man.

It wasn't known how that case was resolved. Other Charleston County court records show Scott had several traffic tickets and three trips to jail in 2008, 2011, and 2012 for owing between $3,500 and $7,500 in child support. Despite his struggles to keep up with child support payments, Scott stayed close to his four children, a 24-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 22, 20, and 16.

The video of the fatal incident also shows office Officer Slager approaching the dying Scott and planting the stun gun next to his body; he then bent over to handcuff Scott; no one knows if she were still alive, but the video shows not attempt to call for medical help.

In December 2017, Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with the judge determining the underlying offense was second-degree murder.




Image: ABC News

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