Ex-North Charleston officer indicted on federal charges in Walter Scott shooting
A grand jury Wednesday indicted former North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael Slager on federal charges in last year’s shooting death of Walter Scott.
Slager was charged with deprivation of rights under the color of the law, use of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and obstruction of justice.
Slager, who is white, was charged locally with murder and fired from the force after being caught on video shooting the 50-year-old African-American father of four in the back following a traffic stop in April 2015. He fired eight times, hitting Scott five times.
It was a matter of days before his superiors in the North Charleston Police Department charged the 34-year-old officer with murder and a couple of days more before he was fired from the force.
Video showed the two men talking, their words inaudible, before Scott took off running. Slager assumed a shooting stance and opened fire.
“Shots fired and the subject is down,” Slager said, according to police reports. “He took my Taser.”
The officer has said through his attorney that he followed all protocols and procedures.
The video, first obtained by The New York Times, told North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey all he needed to know, he said.
“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,” Summey told reporters. “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.”
Police Chief Eddie Driggers told CNN that Slager pulled Scott over because the brake light on his car wasn’t functioning.
“I want to believe in my heart of hearts that it was a tragic set of events after a traffic stop,” Driggers said. “I always look for the good in folks, and so I would hope that nobody would ever do something like that.”
Later, Driggers would tell reporters, “I was sickened by what I saw.”