[Pnews] Everything The Police Said About Walter Scott’s Death Before A Video Showed What Really Happened
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 8 15:57:57 EDT 2015
Everything The Police Said About Walter Scott’s Death Before A Video
Showed What Really Happened
by Judd Legum
Posted on April 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm Updated: April 8, 2015 at 1:57 pm
On Tuesday, South Carolina police officer Michael Thomas Slager was
charged with first-degree murder
for the shooting death of Walter Scott. Charges against South Carolina
police officers for shooting someone are extremely rare
what was particularly remarkable in this case was, for at least two
days, Slager was apparently unaware that video of the entire incident
This provides a unique opportunity to observe how one police officer
sought to avoid accountability for his actions.
Between the time when he shot and killed Scott early Saturday morning
and when charges were filed, Slager — using the both the police
department and his attorney — was able to provide his “version” of the
events. He appeared well on his way to avoiding charges and pinning the
blame on Scott.
Then a video, shot by an anonymous bystander, revealed exactly what
On Saturday the police released a statement alleging that Scott had
attempted to gain control of a Taser from Slager and that he was shot in
a struggle over the weapon. The Post And Courier reported the initial
Police in a matter of hours declared the occurrence at the corner of
Remount and Craig roads a traffic stop gone wrong, alleging *the
dead man fought with an officer over his Taser before deadly force
A statement released by North Charleston police spokesman Spencer
Pryor said a man ran on foot from the traffic stop and an officer
deployed his department-issued Taser in an attempt to stop him.
That did not work, police said, and an altercation ensued as the men
struggled over the device. Police allege that *during the struggle
the man gained control of the Taser and attempted to use it against
*The officer then resorted to his service weapon and shot him*,
The story clearly came from Slager but he was able to use the
authoritative voice of the police department to bolster his narrative.
Meanwhile, Scott could only be defended by friends who did not witness
the incident. “Walter was a nice, good, honest person
<http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20150404/PC16/150409635>… He was
a grown man working hard to take care of his family,” said Samuel Scott,
the victim’s cousin.
By Sunday, the police department had clammed up and refused to release
any additional information
the events. (It’s unclear when the department became aware of the
existence of the video.)
On Monday, Slager sought to reinforce his narrative, this time releasing
a statement through his attorney. From The Post And Courier
*Slager thinks he properly followed all procedures and policies
before resorting to deadly force*, lawyer David Aylor said in a
“When confronted, Officer Slager reached for his Taser — as trained
by the department — and then a struggle ensued,” Aylor said. “The
driver tried to overpower Officer Slager in an effort to take his
Seconds later, the report added, he radioed that the suspect wrested
control of the device. Even with the Taser’s prongs deployed, the
device can still be used as a stun gun to temporarily incapacitate
*Slager “felt threatened and reached for his department-issued
firearm and fired his weapon,” his attorney added.*
If the video had not surfaced, that’s where the story might have ended.
In nearly all cases where an officer fires a weapon, that is the end of
the story. A study by The State found “[p]olice in South Carolina have
fired their weapons at 209 suspects in the past five years” but none
“We ruled all the shootings were justified – and we looked at dozens and
dozens of them,” one former prosecutor told The State.
In this case, the video revealed
a very different scenario. Scott, who was unarmed and fleeing, was shot
in the back by Slager from a distance of at least 15 feet. After Scott
was fatally shot, the video appears to capture Slager planting an object
next to Scott.
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