Hundreds of people marched the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, demanding justice for Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man shot and killed by a white #Police officer on Saturday. The case is reigniting racial tensions in the U.S. because the story told by the officer to justify the shooting has been contradicted by an amateur video that surfaced on Monday.
Michael Slager, a 33-year-old officer with the Charleston police, shot Walter Scott eight times after a routine traffic stop. He said the subject fought with him and took control of his stun gun, prompting him to reach for his firearm and shoot. The killing would've been justified if an anonymous passerby hadn't taken his phone out to record the whole thing.
What the video shows is indeed different: Walter Scott, in a green shirt, drops something at the officer's feet and then flees. The officer does not chase him, instead pulling his gun and shooting the unarmed man in the back eight times. Officer Michael Slager then walks to the subject and drops something - some media like CNN are asking if he tried to plant the stun gun as evidence. He calls for back up and says he shot the suspect after he grabbed his Taser.
No CPR was performed in the following minutes, contrary to what had been stated in the police report. As soon as the video was sent to the Charleston police, Michael Slager was fired, charged, and arrested. He's facing 30 years to life in prison only because the video surfaced, which angered Walter Scott's family and hundreds of people in Charleston. On Wednesday, protesters took it to the streets chanting "Black lives matter" and "We are one" as they demanded justice and called for a citizen review board with powers to intervene in these matters. They also requested body cameras for all police officers, which has already been confirmed by Charleston chief officer Eddie Driggers.
"There's so much harassment," said Muhiyidin D'Baha, 'Black Lives Matter' organiser. "The whole system is in question because we have no mean of accountability," he added, live on CNN from the center of the protests.
This is the latest in a series of highly problematic cases involving what's being called 'racial profiling' of the suspects. After Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NYC, the excessive use of violence by white officers towards black suspects has been a matter of constant friction. Last week, a video showing a NYPD officer exploding in racist slurs against an immigrant Uber driver went viral and caused him to be stripped off his badge. Now, Michael Slager is being charged with murder in a case that would otherwise be accepted as a casualty in the pursuing of a suspect, Walter Scott, wanted for a Family Court warrant.